General Question

sevenfourteen's avatar

How can I eat healthier while in college?

Asked by sevenfourteen (2422points) December 4th, 2009

So I’m a typical college kid and it’s getting towards finals which means 2 things:
1— all of my money for cafe food has run out (this could be a good thing as well as a bad thing)
2— the more I study for finals the more I want to reward myself with unhealthy things like snickers and pepsi

I am an active gym goer so for the most part it counteracts all the horrible things I eat, but I really would like to be leaner and loose a little of the pudge I have aquired. Also I know all of these unhealthy foods aren’t giving me any nutrients or energy which I desperately need now that finals are coming. Anddd if that’s not bad enough on top of not eating healthy my meals are veryyy irregular. Whenever there is an abundance of food (especially free food) I tend to over eat and then my next meal isn’t for hours or until the next day.. This makes me hungry basically all the time.

What simple things (and I say simple because I have NO willpower when it comes to food) can I do to eat healthier in this time of typical indulgence? Any tips or foods that will not break my bank are greatly appreciated.

oh and as a last side note I drink a lot of soda. I know it’s horrible and I’m trying to change that.. it’s a very slow process but I’ve been drinking a lot of water the past few weeks (unless someone knows of another low calorie beverage that is tastey with less sugar and calories)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

Response moderated
faye's avatar

Trail mix type things-keeps you regular, too.

buckyboy28's avatar

Stock up on fruit in the dorm, and use crystal light packs in water.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It’s a little more expensive, but buy the apples in bags that are cut up, and small size caramel dip. That will take care of sweet, crunch, and fast. Small bags of carrots and small things of ranch dip. Dried fruit. Peanut butter and bagels. Oatmeal—lots of oatmeal. If you order pizza, get veggie. Eating something as soon as you get up is better for your mental abilities.

jaytkay's avatar

#1 recommendation is, if you have a kitchen, don’t eat out.

Here are my favorite cheap and healthy foods:
3 to 5 lb bags of apples
3 to 5 lb bags of oranges
Cabbage salads instead of lettuce
Tap water (soda & bottle water are ridiculous wastes of $$)
Whole chickens @$0.99/lb (vs chicken breasts @$1.99 or more)
Dry beans

Also, shop around. Where I live, fruit/vegetable stores and Asian markets are about ½ the price (and a lot more interesting) compared to brand-name grocery stores.

Sonnerr's avatar

I would have to go with not eating out and making things that are vegetarian.

vanphan's avatar

I won’t lecture you on what is healthy or not: it’s not that hard to know.

But in terms of habitual recommendations:

1. Continue to drink lots of water like you said. You are often dehydrated RATHER than hungry.
2. Snack throughout the day. And I don’t necessarily mean sweet, unhealthy snack foods! I mean the actual practice of spreading out your eating from your big, heavily-separated meals into 6–7 small meals throughout the day. This will also help long study durations (your brain is just as much of a muscle as anything else, especially during these crucial finals weeks of ours!) This will no doubt take time to coordinate with yourself, but it’s well worth the effort.
3. Try sweet iced tea instead of soda. I don’t really have reasoning for this beyond that this is what I used to quit soda.
4. Cook. Stay away from processed foods. Nine times out of ten, if you cooked it using independent ingredients, it’ll be better than processed.

These days: healthy ≠ cheap. Sometimes, it is in face MORE expensive to eat carefully and healthily, and it can get rough for a student. But fight on man! Fight the good fight and find a balance between health and student-poverty!

Darwin's avatar

I, too, suggest keeping some fruit around. Also, sometimes soup is a much better choice if you do eat out at all. It gives you more water, and if done well, should give you vegetables, fiber (especially if it contains beans) and protein.

The big thing, and I know this is hard, is that you need to set an eating schedule and stick to it. Keep snacks around for when you feel peckish, and see what you can do about making food rather than buying it fully formed. If you come upon a grazing opportunity, maybe you should do what my brother used to do – he and his girlfriend would snag extra food and stow it in plastic bags in their backpacks. His girl even brought home milk that way. Then you can still consume the same amount of food but you can spread it out into a healthier time schedule. When I was in grad school we called it “facultative foraging .”

evegrimm's avatar

Find a store like Sunflower or Sprouts Farmers’ Markets to find good produce. Such places often have “Double Ad Wednesdays” which basically gives you double the amount of sale items on Wednesdays. They are also competitively priced, unless you eat lots of organic stuff.

Another option would be Trader Joe’s who also often have good prices on produce and healthier options, like dried fruit snacks (fruit, no added sugar).

An option I’m looking into is having a protein drink for a snack as needed. I’m planning on combining enough dry milk powder for 1 glass of milk and 1 scoop of protein powder (literally hundreds of flavors available), then add water when I want to drink it. Very portable and nutritious.

If you find yourself eating at home/in your dorm a lot, try getting foods that are difficult/time consuming to eat, like oranges, bananas, pistachios, peanuts-in-the-shell and similar. Because it takes time to peel and eat these healthier items, you will feel full faster than if you ate them already prepped. The Clementies (Cuties) that are available around this time of year are delicious and easy to eat, and also portable.

Yogurt is a great snack, too. I like plain whole-milk (cream line) yogurt with some jam (or frozen/fresh fruit) and granola for a filling mini-meal. Nonfat plain yogurt would work, too, it’s just tangier.

If you must have a treat, try making it dark(er) chocolate. Trader Joe’s carries their own brand of chocolate oranges, in dark and milk chocolate. They are not too dark and a slice or two is satisfying enough. Try putting the rest in your freezer for a yummy treat!

If you can justify spending the money, something like Emergen*C might be enough to satisfy your “bubbly” craving. If not, artificially sweetened seltzer water might be a good choice. There are many flavors, and they are quite inexpensive. Another idea is iced tea. An easy way to prepare it is to put 4 (green tea) to 6 (black tea) tea bags in a half-gallon pitcher, fill with water, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you have delicious tea. Good with lemon!

Wow, I do ramble, don’t I? Good luck with eating healthier and finals!

Medlang's avatar

amys frozen foods. theyre relatively cheap and they’re very healthy. not to mention they taste great and come in great variety.

sevenfourteen's avatar

Thanks everyone- I’m definately gonna add these things to my grocery list. Now I just have to make it through finals :)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther