Eat Brighter 101

Eat healthfully on any budget with these handy hints!

Her meals are prepped, her budget is kept, and her smoothie bowls are Instagram gold – College Foodie joins us to chat about how to stay healthy at college!

Each year right around now, my dad always begins singing the Christmas carol “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For a parent of three, I guess it’s a bit of a weight lifted off of his shoulders. However, if you’re a college student moving into your first off-campus apartment, some aspects about the back-to-school season can be a bit scary, almost daunting…like the fact that you suddenly have to make all of your own meals!

But don’t worry too much; you definitely don’t have to commit to eating ramen and PB&J all semester long. I’ve quite honestly avoided both almost entirely, and I’d love to share with you a few of the ways that I’ve been able to keep healthy!

  1. Meal Plan
    Before you head off to the grocery store, even a little bit of planning will save you time and money in the future. If you know what you’ll be making throughout the week, you’ll be able to prepare meals more efficiently, and you won’t be wasting the food that you forgot about deep in your corner of the refrigerator. And best of all, you can stick to making meals that are as simple as you need or as creative as you want! My favorite meal to plan is actually breakfast. I like to whip up a frittata (like this one!) loaded with veggies to help me through the morning rush before class. I just pop a piece in the toaster oven alongside a slice of bread as I pack my book bag or do some last minute studying.
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  2. Add Color
    A good way to think about food is that color = nutrients, generally speaking. Whenever I plan meals for myself, make a frittata, or even whip up a smoothie, I try to include as many colors as possible. If you try to “eat the rainbow” each day, you’ll be getting most, if not all, of the nutrients that your body needs to stay strong. (P.S. Have you noticed the BEAUTIFUL color that beets add to pretty much everything they touch?)
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  3. Time Management
    It is sooo easy to just eat out, pick something up from the Convenience Store, or order food for delivery, for sure. There was definitely a point in time when I got caught in the routine of picking up a hoagie before work a couple times a week. But, in trying to avoid habits like that (it gets unhealthy AND expensive), I began to discover companies like Love Beets. They take all the work out of the food prep portion of beets so that I am able to simply take them out of the package, cut them up, and add them to whatever I want! Companies like this are beginning to take all of the “hard” work out of including good, wholesome ingredients in meals. In addition to my love of ready-made convenient healthy foods, I am a big fan of packing my lunch or dinner along with a couple of snacks to avoid the otherwise inevitable hanger strike!
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  4. Stay Active
    I like to find FUN ways to stay active and keep healthy. For me personally, the gym doesn’t always cut it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sweat sesh with my roommate for sure, but I just can’t do it every day. Instead, I’ve gotten myself involved in intramural volleyball (there are so many different sports available for every season, interest, and skill level!), I joined the yoga club that meets weekly, and I signed up for a “Fitness Boot Camp” class (that even gives me a bonus credit towards my degree). Most colleges are very resourceful and helpful with providing opportunities for their students to stay active. And if they don’t have a club yet, chances are, they’ll let you start it! Just get yourself out there and show up to the meetings, and you’ll stay active without even needing to think about it.

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So don’t let this back to school season scare you too much! If keeping healthy is something that you aim for, it won’t be too hard of a task if you follow these guidelines. I’d say that the most important part of keeping healthy overall is to have a good time. Make some meals with roommates, laugh at your mistakes, and get outside and try something new to keep active!