While school may the last thing I want to think about right now, I do always always always like thinking about food & how to pursue health when the options are slim. And you know where options are really freaking slim??! College campuses! Ah, college. Feeding the minds of the future with a whole buncha bologna. But not to fret, health-seekers! There are tons of ways to get your hands on some healthful foods to fuel your brain, body & spirit–which is exactly what we need to thrive (a.ka. survive) through the mental & emotional rollercoaster that is being a college student. Ahead I’ve got a few of my own personal tips for eating healthfully on campus, and I hope you’re able to use them to kick off this coming semester with a bang.
Go for whole foods.
When you’re positive what something is, chances are you’re on the right track. Try and choose foods that are in or as close to their whole, natural state as possible. Things like salads are easy to count on, buffets with cold cuts of meats and veggies, and filets of fish or chicken (though not always perfect) are generally a great place to start.
Ditch the sauces & dressings.
Unfortunately, there’s a ton of weird stuff in everything. Isn’t that a bummer? Pre-made salad dressings & sauces tend to have lots of broken oils (like canola, soybean, cottonseed, etc) along with high fructose corn syrup, additives & other added sugars. For salads, stick with olive oil & vinegar for dressings if you have the option–and if it’s not offered, hey, bring some from home!–and ditch sauces that come along with proteins & other dishes for the same reason.
Opt for cold vs. cooked food.
While this isn’t always the most desirable thing (especially in the freezing cold winter), if you’re looking for a clear-cut rule to keep your foods really clean, generally speaking foods that aren’t cooked (raw veggies for example) are going to be your absolute best bet; that’s because large institutions like universities are, for the most part, going to be cooking with the cheapest oils & ingredients they can. That means broken oils & additives in cooked foods, even the ones that seem innocent. Now, obviously we just can’t avoid all those things all the time, nor would anyone expect you to! That would mean pretty much eating only raw plants, and while that makes some people happy, it can be a huge setback for someone who chooses to use animal meat for fuel. But if you’re looking for a baseline, this is a good rule of thumb to base your majority of your food picks off of–veggies are number one, after all!
Bring snacks, don’t buy.
YES. One of the best things I ever did for myself was keeping healthy snacks packed in my bag at all times. I always underestimate how often I’ll be in need of food on crazy long school days, and rummaging through the university’s food shop not only takes up time & money, but usually ends up in me compromising on ingredients in some protein bar because as we all know, unsatisfied hunger is a cruel, cruel mistress. Once in awhile it’s no big deal, but now I keep my bag stashed & ready with snacks to tide me over between classes and rehearsals and I’m all the better prepared for it! Want some of my favorite backpack-friendly snack ideas? Check out my Fast Five: Favorite Packaged Snacks post for inspiration.
And there we have it! I hope these tips can get you pumped and ready for eating well in the new semester, but more importantly, do YOU have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them, cause we’ve alllll got room to grow.
Go out & eat pretty miraculous foods.