College is sometimes the most wonderful, the most frustrating time in adult life. You are learning how to develop your own study habits, relationship habits, and yes, EATING habits. Though the freshman 15 is the norm, it doesn't have to be if you know how to trick yourself into eating healthy and conveniently.
So this is for if you are done with the dining hall or just living on your own and need to save $$$.
1. Frozen Fruits & Veggies
You may be a health nut like me, but that doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money on fresh veggies and fruit. Because let's face it, that yummy healthy stuff is expensive!
My hack: buy bags of frozen veggies, fruits and pull them out when you need them. It's super easy to sauté a bag of veggies and make stir-fry. It's also super easy to blend some frozen fruits with yogurt and make a smoothy. They'll last longer and you'll still get the healthy foods you like!
2. Optimize Meals Out
Yes, you are going to go out a few times in college, that's to be expected. But if you hit up Chipotle for burritos, who's to say that burrito can't last you three whole meals??
I became the master of over-ordering in college. At sandwich places I would ask for all the free toppings on my sandwhich, at pasta places I would order the larger sizes, etc. Then I would take home my leftovers and have dinner AND a late-night snack. Ordering the most out of your meal out can help you out later on.
3. Protein can be Added to Anything
Sometimes it's super easy to just eat carbs or veggies and fruit. But your body needs protein! So don't overlook it. In college it seemed like a lot to make chicken patties, or cook salmon. So I found tricky ways to add protein into every meal.
My favs: garbonzo (or any canned) beans, canned tuna/fish, quinoa, etc. All of these foods you can sneak into you daily meals. My favorite (though it sounds weird) is adding canned tuna into pasta. Even a simple bowl of Easy Mac is really good with canned tuna and a bit of hot sauce :)
4. The Microwave is your Best Friend
I think most lazy college kids know this, but microwaves are our best friends. And you should know the full capabilities of the microwave. You can cook noodles, meat, steamed veggies.
Other foods you probably didn't know you could cook in the microwave: potatoes, eggs, even cake!! Cooking those healthier foods can be easy if you just know how to use the microwave.
4. Snacks Forever and Ever Amen.
Sometimes I would be on campus for days, and be SO TEMPTED to just buy meals from places nearby. Someday I would cave, but those are only the days I didn't pack snacks!!
I would always start my week out by adding several snacks to my backpack and just have them in there. For the ones that needed to be cold, I would put in the fridge, and add them to my pack the day-of!
My favs: carrot sticks, pita chips, granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, GoGurts!, popcorn, etc.
*This hack is especially happy when you discover a leftover granola bar at 2 AM in the library*
I still use a lot of these tricks today to get the most out of eating! Even new (semi) adult life gets pretty hectic and sometimes it's still nice to get that granola bar at the bottom of your bag.