Meal plan

It’s pretty easy being an underclassman–you probably live in the dorms, have a meal plan, are taking lower-level classes that don’t require too much of your time, and you’re enjoying college not thinking about graduation. Some fall into the trap of eating unhealthy food at this time, but so many articles have come out recently about how to eat well in the dining hall that it seems like fewer students have a problem making healthy choices. The real obstacle to healthy eating comes when you move out of the dorms and into your own apartment.
Off-campus students are concerned about saving money and so want to spend as little as possible on groceries. The problem is that the least healthy food items are often the cheapest. But this is not always the case. Check out the produce department–you can get a large bag of fruits and vegetables for under $10. I am surprised every time I get to the checkout line and see how cheap my bananas are–less than $2 for a bunch. A bag of lettuce will cost you about $4, but if you choose baby spinach it can be used in baked dishes, salads, and even smoothies. Eating healthy is not as expensive as you might think.
The next hurdle comes when you get home and have to make dinner. Making a healthy meal is not that time-consuming. Try a roll-up, with a whole-wheat wrap, some turkey, cheese, lettuce, and bell pepper. Or make some shredded chicken and stir-fry some vegetables, and put it all over some rice for an Asian-inspired dish. Better yet, make a big batch of the stir-fry and you can reheat it later in the week. Then you don’t even have to cook!
That is probably my number one piece of advice for eating well while living off-campus: take a little time on Sunday afternoon to make a big batch of something that you can reheat later. You and I both know you probably are not doing anything on Sunday afternoon, while later in the week you’re pressed for time and really do only have time to throw something in the microwave. Look up some recipes online for casseroles and crock-pot dishes–spend the time cooking on the weekend and then you won’t have to cook the rest of the week. And, you won’ t feel the need to run to the closest fast-food restaurant.

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