Transitioning to college comes with so many changes that there’s barely any time to worry about eating well. We have compiled a list of quick tips that can help you adapt to college life, whether you have access to a kitchen or not.
Not sure if you’re eating a balanced diet? A simple first step is this: does almost every meal contain one protein source, one carbs source, and one portion of fruit or veg?
Especially for international students, it might come as a surprise that food in the US has a great amount of added sugar (particularly bread, milk, and ready-meals). This often leads to a big weight gain in college (sometimes known as “The Freshman 15”, as students reportedly gain 15 pounds on average in the first year). Try finding brands with low sugar content.
If you don’t have access to a kitchen, but would like to cook for yourself sometimes, consider getting a kettle (if your dorm allows it). It can be used to prepare couscous, rice noodles, ramen noodles or fresh pasta--all great sources of carbs you can add to a salad!
If you don’t have a fridge, stock up on longlife milk. It makes for an easy breakfast when combined with low-sugar cereal (and perhaps some fruit or dried seeds on top). You can also use canned or jarred food for a hefty salad or a quick snack. Think canned fish, beans, corn, chickpeas, as well as jars of artichokes, olives, or dry mushrooms.
Many of us know that eating something sweet can be helpful when studying. However, it can also make our energy level crash one hour later. For a guaranteed lasting boost, try slow-burning foods, such as a wholemeal bagel, a yoghurt or some peanut butter.
Butter or vegetable spread can be quite bad if eaten daily. It’s definitely worth investing in some quality olive oil. You can use it for cooking, in salads, on savoury bread snacks, and even to bake cakes. Not to mention, it doesn’t need a fridge.
Whether you get them from your food or as a supplement, you do need vitamins in your diet. If you think your eating habits are a bit chaotic, definitely invest in a multivitamin. You might genuinely find that essay easier to write!
Salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic make a great starter kit of spices. You can literally use them for most dishes (maybe not all at once…)
It can be really hard to decide what to eat at the end of a long, tiring day. If you spend 5 minutes every Saturday planning for the coming week, you have a better chance to reach out for something delicious and good for you than for emergency-pizza :).