Everyone knows that we’re supposed to eat our fruits and vegetables. What no one can figure out is how to eat them on a college student’s budget. Whether you are on a meal plan or on your own, eating healthy can be a challenge. We have a few strategies for you to consider. (Remember, if you go in with a plan, it’s more likely that you will make good choices rather than impulsive ones.)
In general, the closer a food is to its natural state, the better. The fewer ingredients listed on the packaging, the better. The further in the aisles of the grocery store go, the more processed the food tends to become. This means more sugar and salt and empty calories for you. (Things you can’t pronounce or identify shouldn’t go in the body.)Find natural sweeteners you like instead of refined ones or artificial ones. (Honey, agave nectar, etc.)
For BREAKFAST, try to have protein. (You will be so thankful you did by the time you’re on the 3rd hour of lectures.) Try to have eggs, peanut butter, smoothies, nuts, or high protein granola cereal. Avoid the things you actually tend to gravitate towards. (Sugary cereals, heavy carbs, soda, etc.)
For LUNCH, you may enjoy some good carbs here if you’d like. If they’re offering whole grains (unlikely) definitely choose those. If not, do red sauce over whites and opt for poultry over red meat. This is a good time hit your re-boot button by going for protein, good carbs, and natural sugars.
For DINNER, in the dining hall, you probably already know what to do. Fruits and veggies! You just have to decide that you will do that most of the time and only occasionally eat a fried item or heavy carbs. At dinner time, in general, stay clear of the heavy pasta and rolls. (You’ll sleep better for it.)
For SNACKS, go for popcorn, nuts, whole grain crackers and hummus, edamame (really! Seasoned any way you like), and OF COURSE fruits or veggies.
For FAST FOOD, you have so many more options now than ever before. Almost all restaurants offer grilled options, great salads and side alternatives to fries. If you must do pizza, pick the thin crust and red sauce over white. Again, limit your red meat. Opt for poultry or fish instead. You can also choose water or tea over soda. The following is a printable wallet sized guide for healthier fast food eating. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/food/pdf-fast-food-picks
And, as you’ve been hearing all of your life, water, water, water. If not for your health, then choose it because it’s cheaper!
It IS possible to make better choices and develop better habits that will not only be kind to your wallet but also your heart. Send us pics of your healthy, budget friendly choices. We’d love to feature you on our site!