Healthy Eating is Essential to Mental Health

College kids love to talk about how expensive healthy food is, that’s always the excuse when talking about healthy eating.


But it’s not.


Eating out or constantly eating convenience store food adds up to way more than the grocery bill for one person. Break out those coupons and reusable bags and feed yourself for a week on $30.


Healthy eating in the dorms can be hard because the only options are the ones in front of you and if you don’t like what is being served, then enjoy your cold salad.


Lots of college kids though, choose to live in apartments after their freshman year and have full access to a kitchen and full control over what they eat. So why are so many people making stops at McDonald’s and Taco Bell? Why does anyone subsist off mac and cheese cups and buttered noodles?


Healthy eating is such an important part of mental health. Our brains can’t produce the chemicals they need to keep us healthy when all we’re giving it is carbs, cheese and fast food “meat”.


If we’re going to have conversations about mental health then we have to talk about food. It is what our brains run on and sodium soaked ramen can’t keep us running. 


Unfortunately, lots of college kids don’t know how to cook and that’s not entirely our fault. There was less emphasis placed on home-cooked meals when we were kids and more emphasis on Lunchables and chicken nuggets. (I was lucky enough to have two parents who cooked and teach me how. Thank you Mom and Dad.)


However, with our endless access to online recipes, cooking shows and youtube tutorials, we don’t have much of an excuse. 


Hop on google, search “easy recipes for beginners” and watch the options unfold. Make a trip to Aldi, pick up your ingredients and Bam you have a meal.


Mistakes are inevitable, but feeding yourself is a basic human need and it’s time we all learned how. No one needs to be a chef, but your meals need to at least resemble the food pyramid we all learned in school.


It’s easy to say “I don’t know how to cook” and plow on with our PB&J, but how can we expect universities to make changes that prioritize student’s mental health when we are refusing to make changes ourselves?


Self-care is more than just mental health days. It’s more than face masks and ice cream. Self-care is health and we’re ignoring ours.