Healthy eating for the busy college student

Utilize your local grocery store to stick with a healthy diet.One of the problems many college students run into is that between class, work, an active social life and, possibly, taking care of a family, they don’t have the time or energy to stick with a healthy diet.

College students are notorious for eating pizza and fast food and drinking sugary sodas. But if you can learn to develop healthy habits as a student, it will be much easier for you to continue them as you get older. After all, if you’re going to become a certified medical assistant or a pharmacy technician, or pursue any other career in medicine, you’ll probably want to set a good example for your patients.

Healthy eating against the clock

A college student’s day is often an extremely hectic one. Fitting in time to prepare a healthy meal is rarely at the top of the priority list. Luckily, though, you can start to change that without dedicating a huge chunk of time to preparing and cooking a meal that could otherwise be spent studying.

Visit the grocery store

One of the best ways to save time is to go grocery shopping. It might seem counterintuitive in a way, but that hour or two you spend at the supermarket will save you a ton of time – and, not to mention, a good amount of money – down the road.

Find snacks that are healthy and easy to make, like fruit, nuts, olives and some of the freshly prepared snacks and meals offered in many stores.1 These are the kinds of items where you can just reach into a bag, grab a handful and fill yourself up quickly, without any preparation time.

You can also end up saving time even when you cook full meals at home that take 30 minutes or more. If you make enough food, you can have leftovers for the next day’s lunch or a snack, which means that’s another meal you won’t have to worry about.

Fast, healthy meal suggestions

If you want to make it even easier on yourself, set up a roster of cheap, healthy, easy meals that you can go back to on a regular basis. Here are some ideas to get you started:2

  • Tacos. Grab some corn tortillas, add your choice of fillings, then wrap them up and warm them in the oven or the microwave.
  • Stir-fry. Cut up some meat or tofu, add a few handfuls of chopped vegetable and pour a little sauce over the combination.
  • Spaghetti. A package of pasta, a can of tomato sauce and some ground beef browned on your stove top are all you need to make this classic meal.

1 Willyard, Valerie, “Healthy Eating for College Students on a Budget,” University of Michigan Health System. http://www.med.umich.edu/pfans/docs/tip-2012/budget-0812.pdf
2 “Quick and Healthy Recipes,” Cookinglight.com. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy-recipes-00412000077176/