Nutrition For Dorm Life
Oh college - Some of our best years and also some of the most tumultuous. While we learned a whole lot, we wouldn’t wish to repeat them. Knowing what we know now about body image and food, here are some nutrition tips we’d tell our younger, less evolved selves in order to stay on top of our A game and not stress so much about food.
Eat Breakfast Like A King
It’s no secret that college kids eat at all hours of the night and often skip meals due to crazy schedules. Eating a big breakfast is a great way to combat drops in sugar and keep your focus. It’ll also help with late night snacks and cravings. Since we know breakfast can be hard for late rising students (aka all of you), we recommend keeping easy, healthy breakfast options in your dorm that will keep you on your thinking cap sharp. Instant Oatmeal made with water or milk + banana + PB (look for the kind with just peanuts in it) is a great option and takes like 2 mins max to make. If you’re on the go, snag a piece of fruit and a string cheese or you could even make microwave scrambled eggs with steamed spinach from a bag. Try this no-cook Overnight Oats idea.
Confidently Navigate the Cafe
Your meal plan and what you’ll eat will largely depend on what your cafe offers. Make the healthy choice by putting balanced meals together. Make sure half your plate consists of veggies of the non fried variety. Include lean protein (again, of the non fried variety) and a complex carb like brown rice, whole grain pasta, or a sweet potato if they have it.
Combine food groups when you snack between meals. Opt for a carb like fruit + a bit of peanut butter or nuts or a grab and go hummus packet with veggies. Try keep your dorm fridge stocked with cut veggies like baby carrots and fruit options. Popcorn is great for dorm snacking too.
“Nutrify” Your Dorm Meals
Frozen meals can be helpful in a pinch but also high in sodium and often don’t provide a lot of energy. It’s all “gucci”, but we recommend adding nutrition to these by supplementing with extra veggies. Steam bags are great to quickly steam your veggies in your microwave. Adding extra veggies and/or beans to your frozen meals adds fiber, and provides vitamins and nutrients that might be missing in such small meals. Make sure your frozen options are lower in sodium (less than 20% your daily needs).
Another way to get creative and add extra nutrition is to keep low sodium beans in your dorm. Add these to your quick microwave meals such as quesadilla, microwave eggs, and even nachos. Adding beans provides a good source of fiber and protein.
Try Something New
There’s no time like college to reinvent yourself and try out new things, including food. While you may leave home a notoriously picky eater, you could be back at Christmas as an adventurous connoisseur of flavors. That’s what college is all about! Learn more about new friends by sharing their culture’s food. Take a class in cooking or nutrition. Maybe you could even study abroad - I highly recommend Italy and not just for it’s pizza.
Here are some healthy options we recommend you keep on hand in your dorm or apartment…
Steamable veggies using the ziploc steamer bags - Think spinach, broccoli, baby carrots, cauliflower
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Low Sodium Black Beans
Quick Cooking Whole Grains
Lastly, knowing how to feed yourself is part of becoming a grown ass person. Life is crazy right now and college is a weird in-between state in life where you have tons of freedom but not a lot of knowledge on how to be independent. Enjoy it. Be open to making mistakes and not being perfect and not have everything go your way and not having it all figured out. Choose to love your body and nourish it with real food. Diets don’t work but learning how food plays a role in overall health and well being will. Listen to your body, feed it with the right fuel, and be kind to yourself.