With classes throughout the day and week, late night studying, making time for exercise, clubs, recreation, eight hours of sleep, and for some, work, it can be difficult to pay careful attention to our eating habits. Speaking from experience, sometimes it is easy, due to a combination of exhaustion and laziness, to fall down to two quick meals per day when living off-campus. What’s worse, eating healthy can be pricey for broke college students, but it is key if we expect our bodies and minds to perform at their best, both on the field and in the classroom. Here are some tips for both quick and not so quick, healthy eating. Bear in mind that everyone has different needs when it comes to eating habits. The following recommendations are generalized, and may not be the right choice for everyone:

Granola Bars

Granola bars are small, portable, and make for a healthy snack when you are on-the-go. They often contain considerable amounts of Fiber, Protein, and Iron. I have bought Nature Valley bulk boxes containing 48 bars online and in places like Costco for fifteen bucks. A small investment considering it is a month-and-a-half worth of quick daily snacks.

Nuts

Nuts. There are all kinds of nuts, and they’re all smart choices. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews. They’re all a healthy source for protein, good for everyone, great for the body builder.

Yogurt

Yogurt provides Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin C and B12, and Protein. It is also often associated with having beneficial probiotic qualities due to the live, active cultures found in it, although there is not sufficient evidence to prove this. One can usually buy two or three servings of yogurt for a dollar at your local grocery store, and it goes good with your granola.

Apples

Apples, bananas, or any bag full of your favorite fruits. No need to explain here. They’re cheap, quick, and they grow out of the ground. Eat some every day. They’re great with the yogurt as well.

Beans

Beans. They may make you fart but they also contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and high amounts of Protein, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Copper and Manganese.

Toast

Toast with any combination of the following:

Egg-  cheap, healthy protein. Bad cholesterol levels though.

Vegtables

Tomato, avocado, spinach. As a general rule, if it grows out of the ground and does not come from something with a face, it is usually healthy to eat. These last three things meet that criteria.

If you have enough self-control to be conservative with the ranch, make your favorite vegetables a part of your daily routine. Celery and peanut butter. Butter and peas. Broccoli and cheese. Always good.

Fish

Fish is perhaps the most healthy meat available on the planet, and they’re not very intelligent so you don’t have to feel as bad for eating them. They are packed with all kinds of stuff – Niacin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B12 and Potassium, Protein, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium. I don’t know what all of that stuff is, but it’s good for you.

Grilled Chicken

If you don’t like fish, grilled chicken is perhaps your next best bet for meat. But beware of cholesterol and the source your chicken comes from. Chicken contains high amounts of Protein, Phosphorous and Selenium, and it is a healthier choice than many red meats. It is also said to be a comfort food due to an amino acid called tryptophan. That’s probably why everyone likes chicken soup.

With all of this said, I could go on to discuss the benefits cooking is supposed to have on one’s emotional and mental health, but I won’t. There are probably volumes on the subject. Just  consider trying to enjoy the process of cooking for yourself and friends, and appreciate the meal itself. Amazing, elaborate recipes can be found online. Follow instructions, and with practice you’ll be able to cook something real nice.

All of this stuff is good. It makes you feel better than microwavable and drive-thru food. Your mind performs better. Your body performs better. A healthy body makes for a healthy mind. Instead of focusing on what you should stop eating, focus on what you would like to start eating. In this way, you already cut unhealthy food by replacing it with something better.

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