College is the first time we’re out on our own and that includes making our own meals. After years of having dinner made for us, it can be difficult to create meals that don’t become repetitive. Harder still, finding nutritious meals can be a struggle to come by when it’s so tempting to order takeout or go out to dinner.
I’d heard of the “freshman 15” coming into college like any other high school senior. As someone who’s had body insecurities, it wasn’t something I was wanting to gain. I knew I’d have to make healthy choices and I was determined to turn my life around, even though I wasn’t unhealthy to begin with.
With all the options in the dining center, I found myself heading to the sandwich bar and getting fruit with all my meals instead of constantly hitting up the grill to add fries with everything. When I started working at the Reporter, I found myself grabbing sandwiches and salads from the on-the-go cases in the MavAve. Not only was it cheaper than other dining options, it gave me the energy to get me through the day.
When I moved into my first off-campus apartment, I was so excited to have a full kitchen accessible to me and not just a small mini fridge that could barely hold a six pack of pop and not have to haul a bunch of cookware down to the kitchen. With the ability to have a pantry, fridge and freezer, I was convinced to keep myself on track.
As someone who constantly juggles classes, homework and a job, I need food that is convenient and still tasty to enjoy. I usually take a granola bar or anything by the Kodiak brand for breakfast as all the protein keeps me full throughout the day. I usually make an “adult Lunchable” for lunch which consists of meat sticks, cheese, crackers, some sort of fruit and a vegetable of some kind.
On nights I’m working, I take a bagged salad because it takes no time at all to assemble, it’s healthy and it keeps me full for the rest of the night. When I’m not working, I’ll make pasta, sandwiches, rollups or some other type of meal that I can take a little more time cooking.
Now, after living in an apartment for nearly two years, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink tons of water and do yoga and a meditation once a day. Of course, I still go out to eat with friends and some weekends, I lounge on the couch with junk food, but I know that I feel better, inside and out, when I take the time to eat foods that supply me with energy.
It’s never too late to make a change when it comes to your health and diet. No matter where you’re at in college, it’s worth it in the long run to eat well. Your body and mind will thank you years later.
Write to Emma Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Header Photo: While many students in college suffer from unhealthy habits, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while away from home with the help of quality foods. (Courtesy Flickr)