Most people start living on their own for the very first time when they enter college. With that comes many responsibilities that many of us are often not fully prepared for, like grocery shopping and cooking.
However, it’s not just the lack of experience in the kitchen that prevents many students from following a nourishing diet. The State Press notes that time constraints are another factor, as well as inadequate or no access to a kitchen, or even a car to transport groceries. These reasons coupled with a limited budget often cause many students to resort to eating mostly fast food.
How to Eat Healthier
Healthy eating should be accessible to all. This is especially critical for young adults who often manage busy schedules between schoolwork, part-time jobs, and their social lives.
Luckily, the guidelines for eating healthier are not that complicated. You can start by cutting out processed food and eating more whole food ingredients. But don’t be mistaken. You can still eat some canned or prepackaged foods. You can always add nutritional value to those meals yourself! Self Magazine has useful hacks to make canned food tasty, such as adding rich spices and fresh vegetables to canned soup. When choosing packaged food, check its nutrition facts. Opt for products that don’t contain too many preservatives and chemicals, and keep an eye out for those with low sugar and sodium.
Another healthy eating trick is to swap out snacks with healthier alternatives. Instead of eating greasy chips, for example, pick up a piece of fruit, boil an egg, or have a handful of nuts and seeds.
It’s also important to think about macronutrients, specifically carbohydrates, protein, and fat. There is no need to obsessively log your macros in every meal, but it is good to have an idea of how much you’re actually consuming. Each big meal should be composed of the three macros. You should also fill up your plate with vegetables, and our 10 Cheapest Vegetables to Buy Year-Round’ can give ideas on what to buy.
A sample meal should look like this: brown rice (carbohydrates), fatty fish (protein and fat), and vegetables (essential vitamins and minerals).
Below we have compiled a comprehensive grocery list for students. Use this the next time you go shopping for groceries.
Things to Buy: Grocery List for Students
☐ Whole grains (rice, quinoa, etc.)
☐ Soy (for plant-based alternatives; ex. tofu, tempeh)
☐ Milk / Nut Milk
☐ Olive oil/butter
☐ Nuts and seeds
☐ Nut butter
Canned / Frozen / Dried (can also be purchased fresh)
☐ Beans (ex. chickpeas, lentils)
☐ Meat (ex. tuna)
☐ Vegetables (ex. spinach, broccoli, peas)
☐ Soup Mixes
☐ Sandwich spread (ex. Low-fat mayonnaise, mustard)
☐ Herbs and spices (ex. salt, pepper, chili, basil)
Tools to Invest In
There are so many kitchen tools that can help you get started with a healthier lifestyle. Below, we have listed three tools you might want to invest in. They are affordable, space-saving, and functional.
• Bullet blender: A bullet blender can be a life-saver for busy students. You can whip up a quick smoothie with some frozen fruit, greens, and a splash of milk. A green smoothie can help you reach the recommended amount of macronutrients in a day.
• Mini rice cooker: Rice cookers do much more than steam rice — they can cook other grains that can lay the foundation for a filling meal. Fortunately, the We Know Rice Twitter feed features mini rice cookers that can fit in smaller spaces, like dorms. They are compact yet highly functional and have added features too, like steaming vegetables. Overall, rice cookers are a staple gadget that can save you from eating instant ramen everyday.
• Microwave: If your dorm doesn’t have one, a microwave is truly a worthwhile investment. Not only will it heat up your food and leftovers, but you can also use it to cook basic dishes, like oatmeal, eggs, and mac and cheese!
The healthy meal options are endless when you have these pantry staples and small kitchen appliances on hand. For example, a can of beans can be turned into a vegetarian burger or a hearty soup. The internet is filled with recipe ideas, like Tasty’s Instagram feed that showcases many pantry-friendly recipes. Just remember that health is wealth, it’s never too late to start making real investments in yours!
Article contributed by Alessandra Marks. For the exclusive use of reebee.com