I’ve had a few girls ask me for some tips and advice on eating healthy at college. It is a little bit more challenging to eat healthy when you’re not in control of your food. I guess the same rules can apply when you’re eating out or travelling, etc.
I lived at college for a few years myself. While I wasn’t as healthy then as I am now (but I thought I was!), I still managed to eat a relatively healthy diet (minus all the alcohol).
Here are some tips that I learned along the way:
1. Always eat breakfast!
I know it is so easy to sleep in, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. And if you’re college is anything like mine was, if you miss breakfast, there’s no food available until lunch time.
Healthy breakfast options
One of the best options for breakfast is eggs or an omelette, plus some extras like roast tomato and bacon. My college ALWAYS had these available. If your college is top notch and allows you to make your own smoothies, then this is awesome! Fruit is also a great option and you can take an extra piece to have as a snack later in the day.
Avoid things such as pancakes, hash browns, sausages, white bread, processed cereals and juices. I often used to eat toasted muesli and yoghurt thinking I was being all healthy. Both of these things usually have a lot of added sugar and are high in carbohydrates so actually aren’t the best choice. There’s no need to give these things up completely, but maybe just limit to once or twice per week.
2. Seek out the healthy lunch and dinner options
The lunch time salad bar is seriously the best! I wish I still had one :) Grab a plate, by-pass all the hot food (which is usually things like hot chips, wedges, pies, nachos, and deep fried food) and fill your plate with as much salad as you can. The salad bar usually has cold meats such as shaved turkey or chicken (or you could see if the hot food has any roast chicken) which are great to add to your salad. And don’t be afraid to add healthy fats such as avocado, boiled eggs and balsamic / olive oil based dressings.
I know dinner can get pretty boring and bland at college, but your best options here really are meat and veg. Choose roast meat over anything that has been crumbed or battered, and fill up on as many vegetables as you can. Avoid things like rice, pasta, bread and potato (which are all usually white). If it has no flavour, then a bit of sauce won’t hurt.
3. Skip the junk food
Dessert for me was such a weakness at college. There was ALWAYS dessert available and often treats such as muffins at breakfast and lunch. Best thing to do here: don’t eat it!!! It’s as simple as that really. Or limit yourself to once or twice per week. If you need something after dinner, try having a tea.
4. Be prepared with snacks
As I mentioned earlier, if there’s any fruit available, take it to have as a snack later in the day. But skip the muesli bars and muffins. It may also be worthwhile heading to the grocery store once per week to stock up on a few healthy snacks just in case you’re ever caught out. Check out my previous article on my top 5 healthy snacks.
I know alcohol pretty much goes without saying at college. I know what it’s like, college parties every weekend, all your friends going out on every day of the week and skipping class, alcohol on endless supply… I’m not saying not to drink at all because I know that is impossible for most of you. But be smart about it.
Don’t skull down your drinks as quick as you can, don’t have 10 drinks in one night and don’t drink the sugary soft drink, juice mixers or energy drinks. Try having just a few drinks and having a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. And choose healthier drink options such as vodka lime and soda, or organic wines.
I know sometimes it can be hard being healthy at college and trust me, there were times when I definitely WASN’T healthy. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect 100% of the time, because nobody is! Just do your best and enjoy yourself :) xx