how to eat in college.

if you suffered not only from food babies but from food quintuplets this weekend, this is the post for you :)

these are some things i've learned about proper eating (especially in college) that i thought i’d share:

·      listen to your body. if i have a major craving for a burger and fries, i’ll eat a burger and fries. but more and more i find myself a little grossed out by greasy junk foods. it’s important to pay attention to what your body wants, and you’ll be surprised at how often you crave healthy foods! i’ve come across some stuff online about “intuitive eating,” and i think it is awesome. don’t eat if you’re mega-stuffed. eat what you want. respect your health. be in tune with your body’s needs.

·      snack on fruits and veggies. i know how easy it is to just sit at your desk and absent-mindedly eat an entire box of pizza while writing a paper. but if you replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones you will be way better off, and the substitution is really simple! some of my favorite things to much on:
o   GRAPES. oh my god i love grapes so much. the green ones. my mom tells me that one day i’m going to turn into a grape and i wouldn’t really be surprised.
o   bananas (with peanut butter if you wish. so so so yummy. and bananas are super cheap!)
o   apples with cheese
o   red peppers with hummus (or carrots, or anything with hummus honestly. hummus is awesome. if you can make it from scratch that’s always the best!)
o   celery with peanut butter
o   avocado (a little pricey but SO good. sprinkle on some salt and olive oil and you can literally just eat it with a spoon.)
o   carrots
o   cucumbers

·      don’t buy food that you know you shouldn’t eat. in college, you probably have a lot more flexibility with your groceries than you did before – i have a brother who loves oreos and a dad who loves doritos, so i could always count on those things being in the pantry at home. but at school, i’m able to make decisions for myself based on what i want to (and should) eat. my biggest weakness in terms of junk food is cheez-its. it is no problem at all for me to eat an entire box of cheez-its in a day, which is super gross, so i try to just not buy them. it’s that simple – if there are no cheez-its (or cookies, or fries) for me to eat, i won’t eat them.

·      be careful with drinks. my dining hall (and most dining halls, i think) has one of those fountain drink dispenser things with coke and pink lemonade and all that sugary stuff. don’t do it! fountain drinks have SO MUCH SUGAR it is nasty, and tons of empty calories that you don’t really think about since it takes like no effort to consume them. when in doubt, go with water. your body loves water. if you find the flavorlessness boring, there are lots of drink mixes you can add without having the same crazy sugar content as normal drinks, or you can have some unsweeted iced tea.

·      dessert every day = probably not a good idea. again, with the temptations of the dining hall. mine has this oreo cake that is literally heaven on earth. last week they had oreo cake every single night. did i want to eat it every night? of course. but i did not! for me, the best tactic is to decide whether i want to have dessert or not before i even get to dinner. and i make myself stick to this decision. (unless there is coffee ice cream. nothing can keep me away from a scoop of coffee ice cream. sorry not sorry?)

·      make as much food yourself as possible. i know this varies a ton by school and dorm, but luckily i have a full kitchen at my disposal where i can cook whatever i want. my dining plan includes 12 breakfasts/dinners a week, which means i’m still responsible for obtaining some meals on my own. while it’s really easy to rush to class and grab a thing of sushi or pretzels with hummus during my lunch break from the cafĂ© at school, this gets really expensive. taking the extra 2 minutes in the morning to pack a lunch can save me a ton of money and it usually tastes better too! which brings me to my next point…

·      bulk cooking & leftovers are your best friends. my favorite way to do lunches is to prepare a ton of some sort of salad on sunday, put it all in little tupperware containers, and then i have lunch for a week. if i get bored of the same thing every day i can always freeze it, but honestly i’ve never had to do this because i’ve been really lucky with the recipes i’ve tried and they’ve all been so delicious i could eat them forever :) preparing a lot of food usually takes up a pretty decent chunk of time on my sunday nights but it is definitely worth it to have a homemade lunch i can grab in two seconds in the morning. also, when you go out to eat, don’t stuff yourself, and you’ll find that most restaurant portions are so huge that the leftovers will feed you for like three more meals!

·      eat a lot of small meals throughout the day. this is something i learned in a nutrition class at ballet camp a few years ago, and i really like it as opposed to 3 big meals. i get full really easily, so i spread out my eating throughout the day. (i did this in high school too, actually – i’d bring my breakfast on the bus and pack my lunch so i’d eat all day – mini bagel on the bus, coffee in band, an apple in government, chocolate milk in calculus, grapes in lit, a sandwich during actual lunchtime, goldfish in physics…good thing i had super chill teachers.) now, a typical day of eating for me goes like this:
o   my favorite dining hall breakfast: whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices, at around 10am
o   salad around 1 from my handy dandy tupperware container
o   some sort of snack at like 4 – maybe yogurt or oatmeal or some soup. whatever i’m in the mood for after a long day of rough classes -_-
o   dinner at 7, just whatever they’re serving in the dining hall. despite the sugary drinks and desserts, the actual food in my dining hall is generally really healthy and they have the most AMAZING butternut squash. (is it weird that i am writing this on the plane to thanksgiving break which will undoubtedly have ridiculously delicious food and i am craving my dining hall’s butternut squash? probs.)
o   late-night snack so i don’t die while studying. grilled cheese is my fave because i mean it’s GRILLED CHEESE (and i throw random stuff in there too…eggs, basil, like five different types of cheeses…it’s all good) but the aforementioned fruit/veggie/peanut butter/hummus combos are all fair game too.
o   tea before i fall asleep. sleepytime normally pretty much knocks me out so i guess it does its job pretty well.

these are some things i've made for lunches so far and loved.

  • orzo salad. my mom made this for about 1023987 potluck events this past summer and i basically became addicted to it. it is delicious and i feel like it tastes even better after it’s been in the fridge for a couple of days. maybe so all the flavors can come together more? i don’t know, but this stuff is PERFECT.
  • asian salad. another salad that tastes even better after a couple days. i took a freshman seminar last year called “write your own cookbook” and this was one of the recipes we tried out, and it was such a hit. there are a lot of ingredients but you pretty much just throw them all together so it’s pretty simple to prepare. you could probably put some grilled chicken in it too and it would be really yummy.
  • wild rice salad. so this one took a long time to make because wild rice takes a million years to cook, buuuut it was really delicious and i ate it for lunch for like two weeks. the flavor combination of dried cranberries and green onions was SO good. and the ingredients were really convenient – i used the leftover nuts and dried cranberries to make trail mix afterwards (with granola and cheerios and chocolate chips), green onions for scallion pancakes, and celery for snacks with peanut butter. yay for killing like 5 birds with one stone!
  • cucumber slices + grape tomatoes + feta cheese + chickpeas + olive oil. that’s it. that’s the recipe. this takes about 0.02 seconds to make and it is so so so so delicious.

i have a bunch of recipes on my pinterest but i’m always looking for more, so leave a comment if you have any suggestions! :)

sorry this was crazy long but i hope you guys found it helpful! and as always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns or anything at all~

and of course, happy belated turkey day! (i hope you ate lots of turkey! it has tryptophan which is a precursor for serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that makes you HAPPY! (which is also a precursor for melatonin which makes you sleepy. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.) but you also need carbohydrates to block the other not-so-happy amino acids and actually get that tryptophan into your brain sooo it’s good if you had some rolls and stuffing too :) hehe ok </neuroscience rambling> be thankful for friends and family and sleep and delicious noms.)

<3 maria


  1. Another great salad (which I love!) is Caprese Salad:

    6-10 cherry sized fresh mozzarella balls (you could also get any type of fresh mozz and just cut it up into cute lil cubes)
    8-10 cherry tomatoes
    1/2 tbsp. olive oil
    1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (not necessary, but makes it super yummy)
    a handful of fresh basil leaves
    and a pinch of salt and pepper! voila

    this is best made each day you want to eat it, so make it fresh each morning c:


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