Eating healthy can be a challenge while running around on a college campus all day. Going to classes, meeting with professors, and working on projects being can be exhausting and leave you with less time or access to healthy foods. Often college students resort to buying fast food and filling up on French fries or burgers.
But eating healthy doesn’t have to be impossible! Here are some tips, snacks, and meals you can have while on campus!
This may not seem all that creative and maybe even lackluster, but seriously, there’s a reason trail mix is a popular hiking food. Nuts are full of protein which help to keep you fuller longer, so you don’t have hunger gnawing away at you. They also contain iron which can help you feel more awake and motivated. Keeping a bag of almonds, pistachios, peanuts or cashews, or any of your favorite nuts, maybe a mix of those, in your backpack, is as easy as just eating a handful of them when you want a snack.
Nuts don’t require cooking or any prep time, and they can go without refrigeration. You’ll be relieved to find that bag of roasted pistachios at the bottom of your backpack on days when you’re feeling a bit famished.
Again, while fruit might not seem like the most in ingenious idea you’ve ever read on the internet, fruit provides a healthy way to snack, because it’s light, sweet taste won’t have you feeling overly full and bloated, and it’s full of vitamins. While fruit shouldn’t be kept in backpacks or purses for more than a few hours, having a banana, apple, or Glad-ware container full of mixed berries on hand serves as a refreshing side, and pairs nicely with the nuts mentioned above.
Many college campuses offer fruit for sale, if you find it cheaper to purchase your favorite options at the grocery store, and prepare them yourself, that will be your best bet. Having a few plastic containers with cut up pineapple, strawberries and watermelon make a great addition to breakfast when having to be on campus early in the morning. Note: eating the same fruits every day can get old, so mix it up with what’s in season. Also trying slicing an apple and sprinkling cinnamon over the slices, or bringing peanut butter for dipping.
Just snacking on veggies can be bland but remember when you were a kid and you ate celery with peanut butter or cream cheese? Yeah, make those again, and throw some carrot sticks in there too. Adding peanut butter will give the veggies more flavor, and curb your hunger. Mini bell peppers also make great, portable snacks for healthy eating, are less fuss.
Speaking of peanut butter, make a sandwich, if you don’t wear to mess with celery. A half sandwich is even better because its so easy to eat on the go. While you should feel free to make sandwiches that contain all the toppings you want: meats, cheeses and lettuce, tomato and pickle, a simple peanut butter sandwich is quicker, cheaper and requires one hand to eat. Opt for whole wheat bread instead of just choosing white bread, for a healthier sandwich.
If your campus has a microwave available to students, you should always take advantage of this when you can. The microwave may be in the student union building or student lounge. If you have the time and resources to prepare meals the night before to take with you, consider pasta paired with veggies and a meat/tofu of your choice. This will be a full meal, packed with all kinds of protein, vitamins, and nutrients and shouldn’t leave you wanting more.
This same concept could apply to rice or noodle stir fry dishes, but I’ve found pasta keeps and reheats the best and leaves me feeling fuller, longer.
Edamame, also known as soybeans, are a tasty snack for eating healthy, especially if you have that microwave handy. They heat up in a few minutes, are salty, full of protein, and honestly addicting. Keep in mind they’re messy though, so be prepared to use paper towels to wipe up the watery mess these may leave on the table. While these can be eaten at room temperature, avoid eating them…frozen. Edamame with sea salt can be found in the frozen food aisle.
Beanitos’ Black Bean chips are one of my all-time favorite healthy snacks, because they’re so good, and so much healthier than potato chips! Beanitos makes chips that are fortified with 5 grams of plant-based protein and 4 grams of fiber. They are certified gluten, dairy and GMO-free and vegetarian-friendly. Did I mention they taste really, really good?
Another healthy chip alternative is kale chips. The particular brand I’m familiar with is Rhythm Superfood, and they make damn good chips that shouldn’t taste that good considering they’re made of kale. They come in a variety of flavors like “kool” ranch, zesty nacho, honey mustard, garlic & onion, and more! Their zesty nacho flavor are legitimately vegan and really tasty!
The ingredients in these chips are minimal, and will be familiar too: kale, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, just name some few. Oh, and they aren’t fried. They are available at stores like Natural Grocers and Walmart, but be on the lookout for them at any grocery store you think may carry them!
Not every grocery store in your area is going to carry Amy’s brand foods, but if they do, consider their pocket sandwiches. They are an alternative to hot pockets, many of which contain veggies and tofu. (My personal favorite is the mock chicken pot pie, with tofu, carrots, and peas in a creamy vegan gravy sauce). This item also requires heating in the microwave but makes the perfect breakfast if you’re not a big breakfast person or if you’re pressed for time.
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