After a long day of classes, studying and stress you’ve finally made it back to your dorm room. In a joint venture with your roommate, you’ve succeeded in developing this compact living area into your new (or at least temporary) home. Posters and cork boards decorate the walls. Beds are raised to accommodate storage bins, shoes and extra school supplies (which no doubt will be forgotten as they are stuffed between various toiletries). Somewhere in this small all inclusive room are a refrigerator, microwave and limited shelf space for various food items.
If you want to succeed in school and maintain balance between your studies and “extracurricular” activities, you must eat well. Gaining or losing too much weight, becoming dehydrated, inactivity and sleep deprivation will prevent you from getting great grades. No matter how much you study and attempt to prepare your research papers and projects, poor health habits will stand in the way of making the Dean’s List.
Here are few healthy food ideas for your dorm room:
1. Keep some cut up fresh vegetables in the fridge. Baby carrots, sliced peppers, cucumbers and celery are high in fiber and low in calories. They provide much needed vitamins/minerals and fiber. Veggies are great for munching instead of bags of chips or cookies.
2. Hummus, salsa or Greek yogurt are tasty “dips” for your sliced vegetables. Simple yet delicious. Try Greek yogurt with some sliced almonds or walnuts as a snack.
3. Individually wrapped string cheese is a high protein, calcium rich snack choice. Include a few whole grain crackers for a tasty afternoon snack.
4. Protein bars can be a great between meal snack choice! If you are taking several classes in a row, keep a protein bar with you. If you don’t eat, you won’t be able to “pay attention” and take notes.
5. Unsalted nuts (such as almonds and walnuts) are a perfect, non-perishable snack to keep in your dorm room. Just remember to eat “one portion” at a time. It’s easy to eat an entire bag of nuts when you’re studying! Have your nuts with a few veggies.
6. Single serving bags of popcorn are an awesome choice. Popcorn is satisfying and crunchy. The individual serving bags will do the portioning for you! Soy crisps or rice cakes are another healthy choice. Please just remember to monitor your portions.
7. Keep a few pieces of fruit at a time in your room. If you buy too much fruit at once, it might go bad before you are able to eat it. Cut up seasonal fruit is sweet and yummy. Apples and peanut butter are a perfect combination.
8. High fiber cereals with low fat milk is a must for any dorm room. There is no excuse to skip breakfast! If you have an early class and can’t get to the dining hall, have a bowl of high fiber cereal with some milk. Add fruit and nuts for a nutritious and delicious breakfast.
9. Individual oatmeal packets are another great choice for breakfast. Oatmeal can be made with water or milk. Just add some fruit and nuts!
10. Keep a water filter/pitcher in your dorm room. It is cost effective and will promote a “greener” campus. Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day.
11. Natural peanut butter or almond butter on whole wheat crackers or on celery is very satisfying. Try dipping a few pretzels in the nut butter. So tasty!
Eating well while your away in college can be daunting. Keeping healthy foods and filtered water in your dorm room will help keep you on track. Imagine how much money you can save by eating some popcorn at night or peanut butter on an apple or hummus on whole grain crackers rather than ordering in a hero or pizza! Any food is okay to have occasionally, but if you want to stay within your financial and calorie budgets, please consider keeping nutritious foods in your dorm room. Stay well and enjoy every moment of your college experience!