Just because you’re always on the go doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy healthy food. As a college student, it’s important to fuel your body and brain with nutritious food to give you energy and stamina. A balanced diet doesn’t always have to mean just carrots and celery.
There are plenty of delicious and easy-to-make meals that travel well. You can even stay healthy when you eat fast food if you know what to order.
Good food choices
Despite all of my good intentions, I often find that I just eat the first greasy thing that comes my way when I’m hungry. Unfortunately, I tend to pay for it later when my energy slumps or my brain shuts down. Mid-afternoon is especially hard for me if I haven’t made good choices about breakfast and lunch.
Here’s a list of good, quick breakfast choices to keep you energized:
- Wheat toast with almond butter topped with chia seeds
- Yogurt mixed with fresh fruits or berries (Greek yogurt is the best)
- Quinoa topped with fruit (lots more protein than oatmeal and tastes just as good)
- Wheat toast topped with avocado and crowned with an egg (keep a supply of hard-boiled eggs on hand)
Lately I’ve gotten into eating high protein grains and seeds for breakfast. I cook up a batch every few days and keep it in the fridge. I dole out what I need for each meal so it saves time on cooking.
What’s nice is that all of these are gluten-free except for Kamut, which is a kind of wheat. They can all be eaten with fruit for a sweet meal or add salt, pepper and veggies for lunch or dinner.
Fast food healthy
Sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow for a trip home to eat a meal. That’s when the drive-thru beckons. Here are a few healthy fast food choices that may surprise you.
Quite a few fast food places are starting to list more nutritional information about their meals. Be sure to avoid those with high calories because they are also very high in fat and sugar. Keep in mind that just because a fast food meal is a salad doesn’t always make it the better choice. Some of these salads are loaded with fat from the dressing, cheese and processed meats that they may contain.
Quick tips for healthy eating
It’s easier to make good food choices when you’re hydrated and when you’re not starving to death. Eat something healthy on a regular schedule to help you keep your discipline about choices.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Shop right: have the healthy stuff in your kitchen
- Eat good fats: choose avocados, eggs, and nuts such as walnuts and almonds
- Prepare and package meals the night before: I usually put together several small salads in containers as soon as I bring the stuff home from the grocery store so I can grab one for a quick lunch or snack
- Keep a list of healthy meal ideas: use it when you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for
You can be healthy and save money by eating your own prepared meals. I also recommend using an insulated meal carrier to keep things at temperature. It’s an investment, but one that really pays off.
Develop healthy habits
When I have a day that I know will be jam-packed with activities I put together meal items the night before. In the morning I can enjoy my coffee and then toss my pre-prepared food items in my meal carrier and head out for the day.
Some of my favorites include:
- Sliced apple and cheese sticks
- Sliced veggies and hummus dip
- Yogurt with avocado
- Salad with grilled chicken
My carrier also has napkins and plastic utensils.
With a little planning and consistent follow-through, you can save money and eat healthy no matter where the day takes you.