Nutrition can be overwhelming and difficult to balance with a busy schedule and a small budget during college. However, nourishing your body promotes concentration, keeps you alert, and energized throughout the day. Use these tips below to improve your eating habits.
- Nutrition is holistic. Often students think improving nutrition includes eliminating “unhealthy” foods and only eating “healthy” foods. However, all foods are good foods. We want to make we have a good balance of foods that nourish our body and foods that we enjoy! Having variety in your diet allows you to get an array of vitamins and minerals important for overall well-being.
- Nourish your body with fruits and vegetables. Just adding nutritional foods to your current meals can help you have a more holistic diet. Expand the food groups you are eating by adding vegetables, nuts, or seeds to these meals.
- Be prepared before going to the grocery store. If you are on a budget or get overwhelmed when grocery shopping create a plan of action to make sure you aren’t overspending and get the ingredients you need. Use coupons (cut them out of your local newspaper or find them on your grocery store app) to help cut costs, make a grocery list that has your weekly meals planned, and gradually purchase ingredients that are more expensive such as seasonings, nuts, or seeds each time you go to the store.
- Pack lunches and snacks for campus. When you are on campus, pack lunches, dinners, and snacks to help you stay full and focused throughout your day. Pack foods with protein and grains to help stay full longer, especially if you have a long day.
- Hydrate with water. With caffeine culture, students may forget to drink enough water each day. Drinking enough water each day can help you from overeating, avoid dehydration headaches, and keep you focused.
- Budget tips for every food group. If you are struggling to understand how to buy foods of a certain food group (protein, fruits, vegetables, or grains) on a budget. Check out this helpful page.
- Expand the type of meals you make. Eating the same meals every week? Check out these simple ingredient recipes to give you variety without hurting your budget.
Budget-Friendly Fruits and Vegetables
One of the main reasons students find it difficult to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their meals is because of the high costs. Sometimes fruits and vegetables will be on sale, depending on the season and demand. Another way to get cheaper fruits and vegetables is to go to farmers’ markets. When both of those choices aren’t available, head to the frozen food aisle to stock up on your favorites. Below are some tips and information on frozen fruits and vegetables.
Frozen fruits and vegetables
- High nutritional value. Frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after harvest, usually at their peak ripeness. As a result, these frozen fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Whereas, fruits and vegetables that are bought fresh, may not always be at their peak ripeness since they traveled thousands of miles. Fruits and vegetables that are overripe or not fully ripe do not have the same nutritional value as those at peak ripeness.
- Lasts longer after purchasing. Fresh fruits and vegetables usually go bad after a week in a fridge. As a college student, you may not always have time to make a meal with the broccoli you bought fresh. Whereas, frozen fruits and vegetables can last months in the freezer.
Tips for eating frozen fruits and vegetables
- Buy single ingredient fruits and vegetables. Make sure to check the ingredients list to see if the frozen fruit or vegetable you are buying is solely the item and no additives such as sugar or sodium.
- Use frozen fruits in smoothies, yogurt mixes, or oatmeal. Frozen fruits are great in mixtures! Try adding them to your favorite breakfast or explore new recipes.
- Use frozen vegetables in stir fry dishes, rice, or saute them with olive oil. Don’t forget to season your vegetables!
- Frozen fruits and vegetables don’t need to be thawed to cook! If you are planning to cook your frozen item, no need to unthaw them in advance. Cooking frozen vegetables will help them hold their shape and taste.
From nutrition tips to recipes to make on a college budget. Check out the JHU Campus Well content on food and nutrition to learn more.
- PDF Document: Eat Healthy on a Budget
- PDF Document: Vary Your Veggies
- PDF Document: Grocery Shopping Tips
- PDF Document: Healthy Snacking Tips
- Healthy Recipes from Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Meatless Monday: Vegetarian recipes
- Cook Smarts contains information on meal planning, guides, infographics, and cooking lessons. Designed to educate, inspire, and nourish.
- Nutrition Source aims to provide timely, evidence-based information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public.
- The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on vegetarianism and the interrelated issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics, and world hunger. Registered dietitians and physicians aid in the development of nutrition-related publications and answer member or media questions about the vegetarian diet.