How to Eat Healthy as a Broke College Student

One of the biggest lifestyle  challenges when you’re living on a college campus is maintaining healthy eating habits. Who feels like cooking when you are constantly swamped with schoolwork? And after you’ve spent hours studying, wouldn’t you rather just stuff you face with candy than eat some vegetables?

Well, if I’m being honest, yes. But after months of eating processed crap 24/7, I start to feel pretty gross.

Here are some basic tips to easily maintain some healthier food choices without breaking the bank or taking too much time.


1. Snacks

If you are on campus all day, most likely you are grabbing meals in between classes at your campus dining locations, and you don’t have time to make a healthy meal. An easy way to replace some of the calories you are taking in each day with healthier options is by focusing on the snacks you are eating. Most of the junk food I’m consuming comes from snacks throughout the day, but it’s easy to find or make healthy alternatives to your favorite snacks.

First and foremost, when you are purchasing ANY food at the store, check the nutrition label. There is almost always a ridiculous amount of added sugars or too much sodium in processed foods, so before you pick something out, look and see what you are really putting in your body. Avoiding processed foods altogether is unrealistic, especially for a college student, but if you are going that route, try to opt for premade snacks with some nutritional value, like trail mixes or granola bars that don’t have crazy amounts of added sugar.

If you have a little extra time on your hands, you can choose fresher snacks with little to no prep time, such as nuts and fruit or carrots and hummus.

One of my favorite snacks are coconut chips. While they can be pricey at the store, I like to make them myself and they require hardly any time or effort. Here is a recipe.


2. Cravings

Another place where my bad eating habits can really kick in is when I get cravings, which I very often do. The best thing you can do to prevent yourself from uncontrollably devouring an entire bag of gummy worms when that craving strikes is to anticipate it.

Do you typically crave sweet things or salty things?

Personally, I have a huge sweet tooth, and without fail, I will always crave sugar after dinner. When you know it’s coming you can prepare healthier alternatives that you have pre-portioned for your favorite guilty pleasures. If you have a sweet tooth like me, I always crave ice cream, so I like to prepare some homemade frozen yogurt in a blender by adding a cup of Greek yogurt with tons of frozen fruit (usually mangos). I’ll spoon out a few scoops and top it with some honey and coconut shreds and put away the rest in the freezer for later. There are also healthy(-ish) recipes for ice cream too here.

If you crave something salty, instead of that can of Pringles, try some popcorn with a little sea salt and olive oil. You can pop it yourself or buy it in big bags from brands like Skinny Pop.


3. Campus resources

If you are really serious about getting healthier, see your campus nutritionist to figure how you can specifically improve your eating habits. Really take advantage of the free resources your campus provides you with because they won’t be available to you forever. If you see a nutritionist now, you could get tips that are specifically catered to you and your medical history, and these tips could help you for the rest if your life!


Eating healthy may seem overwhelming and expensive for college students, but everybody has to start somewhere. Swapping out a few of your daily snacks and craving is a simple, but effective approach to improve your diet without dealing with crazy meal plans that take hours to cook. It might not be apparent yet, but what you eat now on a daily basis will really help your long-term health.