Healthy eating tips for busy college students on a budget


Eating healthy and gaining proper nutrition in college can be daunting but small lifestyle changes can help you be a healthier version of yourself. 

Eleanor Chalstrom

The excitement of no parents, endless pizza and the convenience of a simple card swipe can lure students into eating habits that may not be healthiest in the long run. Wholesome habits that fuel your body are attainable as a college student.

Get your fruits and vegetables

Fresh produce is expensive and tricky to maintain. Getting the essential vitamins and minerals contained in produce is critical for a healthy lifestyle. Pre-frozen vegetables and fruits are the busy college student’s best friends. It’s cheaper and lasts much longer than fresh produce.

Blending frozen berries and melon into a smoothie is a small action that leads to major health boosts. Adding peanut butter or protein powder is a good add-in for those needing long-lasting energy.

Vegetables are trickier to prepare in meals but simple recipes can incorporate them regularly into students’ diets. Simple veggie stir fry with rice, a salad with quinoa or canned beans and flatbread pizzas with toppings are fast, simple recipes for college students needing a vegetable serving.

Know the risk of fast food

Drive-thru fast food is one of the most convenient ways for students to get a quick and cheap meal. The temptation for a quick meal may not be worth the nutritional loss in the long run.

Cheap meals that fill you up without the unnecessary saturated fats and ingredients are not as difficult to obtain as one may think. Oatmeal with dried fruit, pasta with canned marinara sauce and slow-cooker soups are simple starter meals that can fuel your body and protect your wallet.

Consider meal prepping

Trendy meal prep isn’t just for busy families or gym enthusiasts, it can be for anyone looking for a quick way to stay healthy. With a little bit of research and careful planning, prepared meals can eliminate everyday cooking hassles while promoting clean eating rituals.

Before meal prepping, it is beneficial to stock up supplies like plastic or glass serving containers and a meal prep cookbook. While these are additional costs to groceries, they could instill a healthful lifelong practice.

The health benefits alone are reason enough to start meal prepping but the readiness of meals fits seamlessly into busy students’ schedules.

Up your hydration game

Drinking enough water is difficult for many people, not just students. Dehydration can lead to health complications that could seriously impact the ability to navigate a healthy daily life.

Ways to increase water intake could be splurging on a high-quality water bottle or setting a goal. To incentivize water intake, set a standard that allows one non-water beverage for every liter of water, for example.

Water balances our diets, energy levels and reduces major health complications. It is a fairly simple change that leads to great outcomes.