Eating healthy at college


The “Freshman 15” is real. Luckily, you can keep off extra weight if you follow these 10 easy steps.


1. It’s about being healthy, not perfect

Try to create a sense of being healthy and taking care of yourself. That said, you shouldn’t feel as if you have to always eat healthy. Pizza and ice cream once in a while? Definitely. Stick to these tips most of the time, and you’ll do great.


2. Follow the basics

  • Fruits and veggies are key. Try to have every meal include at least one fruit or vegetable.
  • Cut down on sugar. Our bodies weren’t meant to handle sugar in the amounts we tend to these days. Try not to eat too much sugar. That goes for other “quick carbs” like chips.
  • Whole grains. If you’re going to have carbs, focus on multigrain. That means wheat bread, brown rice, wheat pasta and wheat pizza. If your only choice is the white stuff, try to limit it the best you can.
  • Lean meats: We all need protein. Choose chicken (grilled or baked, not fried), turkey or fish. Beef and pork work too, but are on the fatty side. Try to eat less beef and pork. Remember other protein sources: nuts, tofu, beans and eggs.

3. Don’t drink your calories

  • Stay away from energy drinks. They’re filled with sugar and other stuff that isn’t healthy. 
  • Don’t drink too much soda and juice. Stick with water, unsweetened tea and other low- or no-calorie options.
  • For those of age, don’t forget that alcohol is high in calories. It’s always important to remember that if you’re going to drink alcohol, don’t drink too much.

4. Smart snacking

We understand you’re busy and stressed. Try not to ruin your healthy eating plan by giving in to quick snacks like candy bars, chips and other junk foods.

If you’re hungry in between meals, grab fresh fruits, veggies or nuts. Can’t find fresh ones? Get a bunch of dried, unsweetened fruit (make sure it says that on the bag). Also, 100-calorie snack packs work well for portion control (the amount you eat).

Even though junk food may give you a quick jolt, refined carbs and sugar tend to leave you feeling sluggish and tired. You need energy to get through exams. If your parents are stocking you up with snacks, ask for healthy foods, like your favorite fruits or nuts.

5. Don’t eat late at night

OK, you will be up late (it’s college), but try not to eat late. It’s much harder to burn off those late-night calories. Most people use 7 p.m. as a cut-off. Do your best to keep this one in mind.

6. Get into a routine

Parents, teachers and coaches have been responsible for your routine, but now it’s up to you. Routines are important to staying healthy. Regular meals, time for exercise and a good night’s sleep go a long way toward staying healthy.

7. Exercise

Join a club, go to the gym and use the campus to help yourself. Most college campuses are huge, so walk, jog or bike to class. Even if you weren’t into sports in high school, movement is good for your overall health and should be a part of your day.

8. Be creative

Use that microwave. All sorts of healthy food can be cooked in there: chicken, eggs (don’t believe us, give it a try), frozen fruits and veggies. Power up that ramen by replacing some of the noodles with veggies, chicken, beans or tofu.

9. Breakfast is the most important meal

You need fuel to get through your busy day. Also, loading up on good, healthy foods in the morning cuts down on food binges when you’re starving later in the day. Starting off with a healthy breakfast may help you to be healthy all day.

10. Become a meal plan mastermind

Colleges are known for not having the best food choices. Learn to work around the pizza and burger options. Stick to the basics above. Don’t be afraid to ask the cafeteria employees for help:

  • If today’s lunch is a chicken sandwich on a white bun, just ask for the grilled chicken and a side of veggies.
  • Also, make use of that salad bar. Just watch for the unhealthy options like salad dressing and bacon. 
  • Finally, beware the temptation of the dessert station at the end of a meal.

Remember, gaining the weight is easy. Losing it is the hard part. Make some of these healthier choices to save yourself a struggle later on.