I’m the health coach who doesn’t eat salad! Why? Because when I was in college, that was basically my only option. It was either salad or grilled cheese for this vegetarian girl. Sometimes, I put my salad in my grilled cheese sandwich. Those were the special days.
By the time I graduated, I was seeing green, and not in a good way!
I’ve always been a big eater, so I definitely had the full meal plan, but I wish I had known some more ways to make healthy food in my dorm room. These tips will help you avoid the Freshman 15 (which, let’s be honest, has turned into the Freshman 50) and stay full without breaking your budget. And for those readers who aren’t in college, these low-cost, healthy recipes will benefit you as well.
With a little creativity, you can make tasty food.
Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast is my favorite! And it doesn’t have to be a big production. You can easily make your own chia pod or overnight oats in your room so you never go hungry. They also make good mid- afternoon snacks.
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
½ tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning… chia pod!
The classic popcorn made healthy
My favorite homework snack is popcorn. Of course. A little goes a long way, and it’s such a simple whole food that it’s hard to say no. What I do avoid is the pre-bagged microwave popcorn. That’s basically cancer in a bag. Fear not! You can easily make it in the microwave for pennies.
¼ cup popcorn kernels
1 paper bag
Pour the popcorn kernels into a bag, fold over the top to seal it shut, and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Add your favorite flavors, including butter, salt, cinnamon, nutritional yeast (for cheesy popcorn); the list goes on…
Don’t forget the snacks
Good old PB&J also is a good investment. If you don’t have a snack, you’ll end up paying for it in your wallet and your waistline. Always bring a sandwich or a snack when you have a full day of classes so you don’t end up desperately starving and willing to eat anything.
Almonds and cashews
Pre-sliced apples or peeled orange
Dark chocolate squares (2-3 squares will sustain a craving)
Make your own protein packs! Protein is all the rage. It’s the one nutrient we all focus on when talking about health, even though it’s in everything and no one who eats a Standard American Diet is suffering a lack of protein.
It’s easy to make your own protein pack. Keep it in a plastic container and you’ll always have a little shot of energy to get you through class. (psst… you actually need leafy greens in order to digest and absorb all that protein, so don’t pass up the salad bar so quickly!)
chocolate chips, optional
crumbled kale chips
Microwave kale chips (yes!)
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Wash the kale and tear into 2-inch pieces. Blot dry with a paper towel. Toss kale in a bowl with olive oil. Spread on a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Microwave 3 minutes. Check to be sure it’s crispy. If not, cook it in 30-second increments until it’s crunchy.
It stores in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Enjoy as-is, or sprinkle it on all your food for some added salty goodness.
(Editor’s note: For more info about healthy living — like e-newsletters, webinars and ebooks — visit Milo’s website.)