Your Complete Guide to Healthy College Eating

College students tend to fall into the same pattern of spending more money than they should on foods that aren't necessarily the best for their nutrition. Fast food establishments have made eating convenient and time efficient, however most of what is being consumed has very little to no nutritional value. With so many hours being put into studies, work, or other activities, making healthy lunches tend to creep down to the bottom of the to-do list. Although this requires discipline, there's no secret in incorporating a healthy diet into your daily routine!

 

1. PLAN + BUDGET

 

Organization is KEY. Figure out how much money you can spend on groceries and make a budget for yourself. I always buy ingredients I can use for multiple recipes so I don't waste money or food! Ideally $40-50 will allow you to meal prep for the whole week. Setting your own meal plan for school will not only save you time and money (trust me, it adds up), but it will also allow you to enjoy real meals while still being able to stay on school grounds!

 

2. KNOW YOUR BUDS

 

You can't create a meal plan without knowing your taste buds. Make a list of ingredients you'd like to be having and then brainstorm what would pair nicely. Quinoa is a great example of a food that can be used for more than just one dish. Avocado is also a popular superfood full of healthy fats that can be added to anything. The rest is your choice! You have the luxury of creating your own weekly meal plans by just focusing on finding fresh foods at a low cost that you can store and save for later. 

 

3. FOOD PREP

 

Food prepping might be a little scary for some but I promise the more you practice, the easier it is! The biggest thing is to have balance in your meals. How can you create a balanced meal? Well, that's when you include one food from each food group such as dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein. For those on a dairy-free diet, don't worry, there are plenty of options to replace those nutrients! 

 

First week of school menu: 

-Breakfast Toasts 

-Fruits

-Mixed Nuts

-Grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats)

-Protein (salmon, chicken, turkey)

-Veggies (butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach)

 

Here's a breakfast and lunch idea - 

 

1. Gluten-Free Avocado Breakfast Toast

  • half of an avocado  
  • lime 
  • salt 
  • hard-boiled egg 
  • gluten-free toast 
  • pepper to taste

Toast your bread, mash the avocado (in a separate bowl) and mix with lime and salt. After boiling your eggs, slice them and serve! 

 

 

2. Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs

 

  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided use 
  • 1 tsp. olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 4 tsp. dried oregano leaves 
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey 
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  •  ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F. 
  2. Remove seeds and membrane from squash; place squash, cut side up, on baking sheet. 
  3. Season with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. 
  4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Separate strands with a fork; place in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  5. While squash is baking, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  6.  Add onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. 
  7.  Add garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper (if desired); cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until fragrant. 
  8. Add turkey; cook, stirring frequently for 4 to 6 minutes, or until turkey is no longer pink.
  9.  Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and remaining ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; gently boil for 20 minutes. 
  10. Evenly divide squash between five plates. Top evenly with sauce, cheese, and basil; serve immediately. 

 

And, if you're just looking for a quick snack on the go this is a great alternative to a childhood favorite, Lunchables!

*you can find these at your local Target.

 

Meal prepping and planning takes a little to get used to, but your body deserves to be given the right foods to remain feeling energized and ready for a great semester! 

 

Until next time,

N