Finally, you are off to college! You are now officially an adult and are going to live on your own. While living amongst a group of like-minded, same-aged people undeniably has its perks, finding the college diet can prove difficult. When you’re short of money and time, eating healthy takes a backseat.
You then end up eating junk because it’s the most easily available food to you. Ever find yourself in a similar situation? Then read on, because we are going to help you with a nutritional plan which will help substitute for your favorite go-to meal, instant noodles!
Tips to Eat Healthy at College
When you are at college, the thought of consuming healthy food resides in the furthest corner of your mind. It’s only when you pile on the extra kilos that you realize that you have to do something about your diet. Before you try to take stock of things and make some major changes in your diet, check out these following tips; the trick to forming the best diet for college students is setting up some realistic diet goals.
- Incorporate nutritious food- The very thought of dieting can be really stressful for college going students, because they think that they don’t get to access inexpensive healthy food. So every time they eat something which they think is unhealthy, they are guilt-ridden. But what all students have to do, is change their way of thinking, include good foods to their diet; foods which are unprocessed, wholesome and nutritious.
- Stock on healthy foods which you really like- Putting healthy and tasty in the same bracket is not very difficult. Snacking on healthy foods like apple and peanut butter or a banana with nuts is not very difficult. All you have to do is, make healthy foods accessible and throw the junk food out.
- Always try to sneak in protein– When you consume empty carbs, there are chances that you might feel hunger pangs gnawing at your stomach sooner than later. So snack on something which has high protein content. Eggs do just fine, they are inexpensive and help you stay full for a longer duration.
- Don’t drink your calories– We know that sugary drinks are super tempting, but then again, you will only chug along a whopping amount of calories and yet still feel ravenously hungry a few minutes afterwards. So cutting out soda from your diet is a wise choice to make.
- Pick the healthier options at the supermarket– If you are going cereal hunting at the supermarket; find one which has more whole grains and less than 10 Gms of sugar. There, does it sound difficult? Picking the right cereal is super easy if you pick the habit of reading labels.
- Eat a good breakfast– It works big time when you have the right fuel right in the morning, you work better and don’t overindulge in unhealthy foods. Eat a good breakfast like a whole wheat sandwich, a whole egg and a fruit like an apple and a banana. Eat mindfully and you will feel fuller and a lot more energetic throughout the day.
- Eat foods rich in calcium – People who are in their early twenties need to be building up their health with the right minerals and vitamins, they need to build up stores of calcium in their bodies so that they don’t suffer from osteoporosis later in life. For that, you need to include milk and milk products like low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and also green leafy vegetables in your diet.
- Drink more water– You need to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water every day. Since you are a lot more active throughout the day, drink more water. It will help flush away the toxins and make you feel fresh and energetic.
- Food is not the enemy- When you are trying to lose the extra pounds, sometimes you start fearing foods; but besides everything else, food is nourishment to your body, so when you are eating, enjoy each morsel, and eat mindfully. So, savor your food and you will build a healthier relationship with food.
- Exercise- Yes, the key to a healthy and happy life is exercise. If you can’t put in the mandatory thirty to forty minutes at the gym, find other ways of staying active like taking the stairs, walking to nearby areas, and try body-weight exercises like planks, squats, push ups and so on. Even try aerobics or good old dancing; put on some music and just let down your hair, those happy hormones will take care of the rest.
Diet Plan for College Students
If you are a college student and planning a diet, you must not obsess over calorie counts of food. Just focus on food that is nutritious, and not overly processed. Plenty of options have been given to choose from. If you are allowed to cook in your hostel, it will be easier for you to plan a diet; if not, then you must let your choices known to the canteen. If even that is not possible, choose the healthier ones among the not so healthy options.
- Breakfast- 1 tbsp. of peanut butter 3 boiled eggs (300 calories)
- Morning Snack- sprouts salad (30 calories)
- Lunch- 100g chicken, cheese and vegetable sandwich (600 calories)
- Evening Snack– 1 bowl yogurt with fruits (350 calories)
- Dinner- 200g fish, brown rice, and vegetable salad (300 calories)
- Breakfast- 1 tbsp. of peanut butter, an omelet made with three eggs (350 calories)
- Morning Snack– Whole wheat sandwich (300 calories)
- Lunch- 1 Chicken and vegetable salad and brown/white rice (400 calories)
- Evening Snack- Handful of almonds and walnuts (100 calories)
- Dinner- 100g fish with mixed vegetable curry, whole wheat chappatis/ bajra rotis/ragi roti smeared with ghee. (400 calories)
- Breakfast– 1 bowl of overnight oats, 3 boiled eggs (272 calories)
- Morning Snack- 1 bowl of mung bean sprouts (60 calories)
- Lunch- 300g fish, vegetable salad, dal and rice (400 calories)
- Evening Snack- 1 bowl yogurt with fruits (350 calories)
- Dinner– Whole wheat bread, cheese, eggs. (300 calories)
- Breakfast- A cup of overnight oats, 3 boiled eggs (approx. 300 calories)
- Morning Snack- Peanut salad (160 calories)
- Lunch– 100g lightly cooked chicken, 2 Roti, 1 cup rice with dal (400 calories)
- Evening Snack– 1 glass of milk and banana (180 calories)
- Dinner- Brown rice and black bean curry, or rajma (282 calorie)
- Breakfast- An omelet made with three eggs (265 calories)
- Morning Snack– Two idli with sambhar dal (312 calories)
- Lunch- Black eyed peas curry with chappatis (300 calories)
- Evening Snack- Handful of almonds and walnuts (200 calories)
- Dinner- A bowl of daliya with veggies (300 calories)
- Breakfast– Dosa with coconut chutney (498 calories)
- Morning Snack– A bowl of sprouts spiced up with tomato, cucumber and onion. (30 calories)
- Lunch- Dal, vegetable curry and brown/white rice. (300 calories)
- Evening Snack- Peanut salad (160 calories)
- Dinner- Whole wheat bread cheese and vegetable sandwich (400 calories)
- Breakfast- stuffed veggie or paneer paranthas with less oil (445 calories) whole wheat sandwich (400 calories)
- Morning Snack- Lassi with a fruit (158 calories)
- Lunch- Chicken and rice with a salad (220 calories)
- Evening Snack- Peanut salad (160 calories)
- Dinner- Brown rice, kidney beans curry and vegetable salad (160 calories)
Recipes which can be Cooked Easily
If you are concerned about your expanding waistline, you must arm yourselves with tips and tricks which can make healthy eating seem like a breeze. Find out more about these recipes, which can be made easily. All they need is readily available ingredients and your desire to lose weight and eat healthy.
1. Overnight Oats
Oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth. They’re gluten-free, whole-grain and rich in important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Oats help in weight loss efforts, lower blood sugar levels and also ensure a reduced risk of heart disease. The beauty of this recipe is that it is super easy to make. The extra flax meal adds the extra fiber to your diet.
- ⅓ Cup of plain yogurt
- ½ cup (heaped) rolled oats
- ⅔ cup unsweetened milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon ground flax meal (you can skip it if you want)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 0-2 tablespoons honey
- Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Put it into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Close and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before eating.
2. Brown bread Sandwich
Brown bread contains most B vitamins, like riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin, which help the body get more energy from food. Whole grain bread also contains folate, vitamins E and K and pantothenic acid. The fiber contained in brown bread helps regularize bowel movements. Fiber also helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight and control blood sugar levels.
- 1 big bowl boiled peas
- 3 boiled potatoes grated
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Madras curry powder
- 1/4 tsp. coriander powder
- 4 kaffir lime leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. red chili powder
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 bread slices
- Salt to taste
- Heat the pan and drizzle it with olive oil and fry the green chilies. Add the potatoes and sauté.
- Add the kaffir lime leaves, curry powder, boiled peas, red chili powder, coriander powder, and also salt.
- Mash the boiled potatoes and peas and keep cooking away for 2-3 minutes.
- Once it is cooked, let the filling cool down.
- Use slices of brown bread and butter one side of them evenly.
- Spread the filling evenly on 3 bread slices and now cover them each with slices of bread.
3. Sprouts Salad
Sprouts contain a good amount of protein and dietary fiber, along with vitamin K, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and riboflavin. As far as minerals are concerned, sprouts also contain manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is a rich source of protein, antioxidants, and other vitamins; and if you are trying to lose weight, you must include sprouts in your diet.
- 2 cups of sprouted moong beans
- 1 small or medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped
- 1 green chili (optional), finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. chaat masala (optional)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice or as required
- 1 boiled potato or sweet potato (optional)
- A few coriander leaves and lemon slices for garnishing
- Rock salt or black salt as required
- Wash the sprouted moong beans in water.
- You can have them steamed or boiled.
- Strain the cooked sprouts.
- Combine all the ingredients except the salt and lemon juice in a bowl.
- Season with salt and also add a few drops of lemon juice. Garnish the dish with lemon slices and coriander leaves.
- Serve immediately.
4. Sprouts Chaat
When you are staying in a hostel, you crave for junk foods like chaat, bhelpuri and so on. What if we give you a healthier version of irresistible chaat? We already know about the amazing benefits of sprouts, so just by adding a few spices, you will get a snack which will curb your hunger pangs and give your taste buds a welcome change.
- 15g of mixed sprouts, boiled
- 15g corn, boiled
- 1 tomato, chopped finely
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp. of coriander chutney
- 1/2 tsp. of cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. of red chili powder or paprika
- Salt to taste
- A handful of pomegranate seeds, to garnish
- A handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
- Soak the sprouts overnight and steam them in a pressure cooker for around 10-15 minutes.
- Strain well.
- Now in as bowl, add all the ingredients together and serve. Simple to prepare, easy to consume.
These recipes are easy to prepare and do not need overly complicated ingredients. So when you are really hungry, stock on these simple ingredients and you will be able to start a healthy diet. Just be more aware of the nutritional values of food. To elaborate further, when you are given a choice between rajma and rice and noodles, you will know exactly which one to choose!
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.