Healthy Eating in a College Dorm

The dreaded Freshman 15. If it’s not a concern, it’s definitely in the back of your mind. Moving to a new place is stressful, and college is no exception. New people, new classes, new social and emotional needs… soon healthy food and fitness seem like an impossible task. I’m lucky to attend a school where yummy and healthy options are available at the dining hall, but the unlimited meal swipes and buffet style definitely make it easier to overeat.

I’ll be honest, even as a vegan varsity athlete, I gained weight at college too! (Hoping it was muscle mass, but what ya gonna do). Whether or not weight gain is a concern of yours, healthy eating should be. Health is not measured in terms of how skinny you are, but rather in how the food and activities of your day make you feel. Hint: you should feel good! So how do you go about doing that when life gets stressful and fitness moves to the back burner? I’ve got a few tips to help you stock your dorm room with healthy snacks, and a few other tricks to keep you feeling your best.

Mini Fridge:

  • Fruit (berries, grapes, apples)
  • Veggie Sticks (baby carrots, celery, cucumber… whatever you like!)
  • Hummus
  • Soy, Almond, or skim milk
  • Yogurt (non-dairy or greek)
  • Pasta sauce
  • Kombucha (helps with digestion and tastes better than soda!)

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Food Bin:

  • Rice cakes
  • Low fat/air popped popcorn
  • Reduced sugar instant oatmeal (maple brown sugar is my fave!)
  • Kale chips (because if you’re like me, you will miss these)
  • Dark chocolate (a must)
  • Unsalted, dry roasted nuts
  • Bananas (steal from dining hall frequently to prevent spoilage)
  • Whole grain bread
  • Peanut butter! (natural is best)
  • Clif bars, Luna Bars, Kind Bars (your choice, quick for breakfast or afternoon snack)
  • Tea bags (include decaf!)
  • Stevia
  • Cocoa powder, vanilla extract (or other baking/flavoring supplies)
  • Vegan protein powder! (useful in smoothies, oats, or post-workout)
  • Edamame, black bean, or whole grain pasta (great for dinner when you don’t feel like dining hall)
  • Sweet potatoes (you can cook them in the microwave, and believe me, you will miss these!)
  • Ground coffee

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So what do you do with all this food? It may seem like a lot, but I find I run low on snacks every month or two. I have an electric kettle and a latte maker in my dorm, so I make lattes with the soy/almond milk, coffee, cocoa, vanilla and stevia every morning, which saves me a lot of money! The tea is great before bed, especially the decaf peppermint.

It’s crucial to have fruit, veggies and whole grains at easy access to ensure you choose feel-good foods over sugary vending machine options. Healthy fats and protein, such as nuts, hummus, and granola bars make healthy eating stress free and keep you satisfied on the go.

What are my go-to study snacks I make from these foods? Here’s a list!

  • rice cakes with nut butter or non-dairy yogurt
  • fruit salad and dark chocolate
  • oatmeal
  • banana or apple slices with peanut butter
  • nut, berries and chocolate
  • hummus and veggie sticks
  • popcorn

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Do you have a go-to study snack or shopping list for a college dorm? Let me know in the comments!

Healthy food isn’t the only factor when it comes to feeling good. Don’t forget the following tips!

  • Please please please get 8+ hours of sleep! And try to be consistent. Consistency is key, so even if you only get 6 hours of sleep but go to bed the same time every night, you’ll be less tired than someone who jumps around.
  • Move! You don’t have to be on a sports team to be physically active. Go for a walk in the morning, ask your fit friend to be your personal trainer at the gym, or check out local yoga classes with a student discount. I promise it’ll make a huge difference!
  • Find balance. You don’t have to have a perfect diet and fitness routine to be healthy – in fact, stressing out about it may actually be worse for your health! Go ahead and party on a Friday night. Indulge in calzones at 2am with friends. But try to limit it to a few times a month, rather than every Thursday and Friday and Saturday…

That’s about it! I can’t believe Freshman year is almost over. It seemed to fly by! In the past 8 months I’ve grown as a person, learned a lot both in and outside of the classroom, and met some incredible people. It’s been great, but I’m also looking forward to a relaxing summer! I hope my tips have been helpful, and if you have any more please leave a comment below!

 

 

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