The College Student Guide to Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

It’s no secret that a college student doesn’t have loads of money, and because of the shortage of funds, students often resort to a poor lifestyle that is filled with ramen noodles and cheap pizzas.  However, this doesn’t have to be the case if you know how to eat right.

Regardless of how much money you have in the bank, eating healthy can be done.  To get you on the right track to eating healthy, here are some tips to consider:


When it comes to macronutrients, protein is king.  Sadly, too many college students don’t eat enough of it.  No matter what you eat, it’s essential that you include protein in your diet.  With every meal, try your hardest to include the following:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Ground Beef
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
  • Sea Bass
  • Halibut

A dozen eggs can cost less than $1, and most of the meat noted above will come packaged in your local grocery store for less than $3 per pound.  Try your hardest to find the leanest meat possible.  Also, the more meat you purchase ahead of time, the more you’re going to save.  Consider freezing excess meat for the future.

If you want something easier to cook, consider your hand at fish.  Fish is so easy to cook and can offer numerous health benefits.  Fish is also known to be very low in calories and taste ridiculously good.  Frozen fish is often going to be a lot cheaper than your fresh options.  If you’re really on a budget, consider canned tuna.

NOTE:  Don’t think protein shakes are equivalent to your protein intake.  These shakes are meant to be a supplement.


Don’t listen to the mainstream media when it comes to eating carbohydrates.  Yes, there are bad carbohydrates, but you need to know what options are best for you.   Generally, your fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed grains will offer you the most in terms of vitamins and other health benefits.

For students on a budget, consider these healthy carbs:

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice

You don’t need to shovel massive amounts of fruits or vegetables in your mouth, but try your best to incorporate a small serving with each meal.  When buying your fruits and vegetables, make it a habit to buy whatever is in season and on sale.

Eating Fat

No, eating fats will not make you fat.  Just like the carbohydrates, if you eat the right fats, you’re going to do your body good.  Remember that your body is based on a calorie system in a way:  the more calories you consume, the more you have to burn.  If you go over, you’re going to gain fat — this is where the weight gain comes into play.

Now again, while you don’t have to overeat the fatty foods, you just have to realize that foods with fat have numerous health benefits.  Most of the foods mentioned above under the “protein” category are high in fat.   You can also throw in bacon, cheese, greek yogurt, nuts, seeds and milk.

Generally, the higher fat intake, the tastier the meal will be.  College students are recommended to buy the cheaper cuts at the local grocery store and season it with their favorite spice.


Most supplements aren’t worth your time or money; however, there are some that you should include with your daily diet:

Fish Oil:  Great for weight loss, inflammation and lowering blood pressure.

Multi Vitamin:  Quick and easy way to get adequate amount of vitamins.

Vitamin D:  If you don’t get at least 30 minutes of sun exposure, vitamin D is necessary.

Calcium:  Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.  However, if you eat a lot of foods high in calcium, you can avoid this.


Lastly, one of the main reasons college students tend to be unhealthy is due to their beverage consumption.  Right now, it’s best to drop any drink that has any sort of sugar.  This includes energy drinks and soda.  Also, try your best to kick the alcohol habit.   Instead, focus on:

  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • If you must drink soda, make it diet and drink in moderation.

Staying healthy as a college student will take a lot of work.  You’re going to want to develop a meal plan, have your cabinets stocked and stick to a habit.  As long as you can motivate yourself and have those around you join in, there’s no reason you can’t be healthy!

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