Whether you are a freshman or a senior, college is going to present a lot of challenges. Of these many challenges, one of them will be eating healthy when you are on a budget and crunched for time. While it is not uncommon for students to find it difficult to eat healthy when they are limited with cash and time, it is something that is possible. In fact, when people put forth the effort to make certain changes, they will that is easy and fun to do. Here are 6 tips on how to eat healthy in college while on a budget and time crunch.
Part of the reason people tend to eat unhealthy food is because they don't really know what they want,so they pick up what is easy. Oftentimes, what is quick and easy is fast food. Planning out your meals will cut down on the number of unhealthy meals you have and keep you better prepared when it comes time to eat. If you know what you are having for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then you won't eat garbage.
Pack snacks to eat throughout the day.
Whether you are busy with classes, studying or work, you are going to need to eat at some point. You may not always have time to pick something up or cook a meal, so your next best option is to pack food for you to eat throughout the day. Before you leave your dorm, throw a few granola bars or make a small salad to-go, so you have something to healthy to tide you over until you can sit down and enjoy an actual meal.
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Prepare your meals ahead of time.
If there is one day a week that you have some down time, you may find yourself wanting to rest. This is acceptable, but you could also use this time to prepare your meals for the week. Check out our round-up of freezer meals that you can whip up and toss into the freezer until you are ready to eat them. They're perfect for people on a budget with limited time to dedicate to preparing meals.
Keep your dorm stocked with the healthy food staples.
The average college student will keep unhealthy snacks in their room. From chips to snack cakes, there are a lot of delicious, unhealthy foods that people keep stored in their room for quick access. When trying to eat healthy, you want your snacks to benefit your body not harm it. The next time you head to the grocery store, you should pick up the healthy food staples, like fruits and veggies. Replacing your daily bag of chips with a few carrots can do a lot for your health.
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Be selective about where you dine out and what you order.
There are so many different types of fast food joints that people have access to. Some of them have a menu that is packed full of unhealthy items, while others have a few items that aren't so bad for you. These are the restaurants you want to go to when you absolutely have to eat out.
Take advantage of what is offered at the dining hall.
If you aren't snacking at your dorm or picking food up from a local restaurant, you will probably be enjoying a meal at the dining hall on your campus. Most campuses offer students a lot of different food options, including several that are healthy. It may be tempting to grab a slice of pizza or some fries, but steer clear of these foods and head for the healthy stuff.
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Allow yourself to have cheat meals.
Having a cheat day isn't eating healthy, but depending on your schedule, you may not have time to eat something healthy or you might even forget to pack something. This is common during exam time or other periods where school and work can be taking up a lot of your time. There's no need to panic, if this does happen because it won't completely throw you off track to enjoy one meal that isn't unhealthy. However, you do want to get back to eating healthy for your next meal.