College students who move from home can attest to how home-cooked meals get replaced with a cup of ramen noodles or microwave mac and cheese. Learning how to balance a busy schedule along with eating right and sticking to a budget on your own can be a long-learned journey.
Bryn Carden, a Neeley School of Business student at Texas Christian University and Miss Kemah Teen USA winner, promotes practicing health and wellness with all lifestyles. Being a current TCU student, Carden understands how a busy college lifestyle can make being healthy and even cooking seem impossible. Good thing she has the first-hand experience on how to stay healthy in college!
Seven Healthy Cooking Tips by Bryn Carden:
Tip #1. Start Simple
When adapting to a healthy lifestyle in college, it is best to start off simple. The more accessible and more convenient healthy meals are, the better. Try starting with a healthy loaf of bread (100% whole grain, the fiber in the bread, and low in fat) with peanut butter or almond butter, and you can replace peanut butter toast for breakfast or a snack. You can also grab avocado and eggs from the store to make avocado toast or put eggs on toast! There are three awesome meal ideas to start with that are both budget-friendly and quick to make! And for those living in the dorms, you can cook eggs in the microwave!
Tip #2. Pair Budget with Meal Plans
If your budget runs very tight for food and groceries, it is critical to meal prep to stay under budget and have healthy food options ready for the week to grab on the go.
Tip #3. Shop Where the Price is Right
Some grocery stores are pricier than others, so it is vital to find the best-priced grocery story to choose for your eating needs and get the most out of your budget.
Tip #4. Try New Fruits and Vegetables to Find New Favs!
Healthy snacks are always great to keep with you while going from class to class all day. Nuts are an easy healthy snack to carry around in your backpack that you don't have to remember to take out of your bag. And if you get hungry while hanging at home, try to find fruits and vegetables you enjoy and keep those options stocked in the fridge and easy to reach for a snack.
Tip #5. Overlap Recipes to Save Time
Save time at the grocery store and in the kitchen? Yes, please! When you overlap recipes that call for similar ingredients, you do not have to spend so much time in the store looking for multiple ingredients. You can save money too by buying in bulk and spend less time going back and forth to the grocery store when your pantry is stocked for a while with healthy ingredients like oatmeal, quinoa, olive oil, whole-wheat pasta, frozen chicken, frozen fish, honey, and more.
Tip #6. Start Practicing Small Changes
Instead of always reaching for ramen noodles for a quick meal, try grabbing healthier replacements that are just as convenient, such as a bowl of low sodium soup. Craving chocolate or ice cream? Try dark chocolate and vanilla Greek yogurt. If your friends want fast food, try and go for chicken over beef or order fruit instead of fries. Making minor healthy adjustments to your day-to-day diet will make healthy choices more doable.
Tip #7. Try a New Simple Recipe Once a Month
In college, a month can feel like a week with how quickly time can pass. Attempting to find a new, inexpensive, simple, and quick healthy recipe to cook once a month will help keep the spice you need during your healthy cooking journey and keep the options for easy healthy eating fresh.