It can be easy to place healthy eating low on your list of priorities as a college student. Between late night studying, rushing to class during meal times and of course, not having unlimited funds for groceries, preparing healthy meals for yourself may not seem so important. However, I have found that although the convenience of snacking to get myself through busy days is a time-saver, those days are the ones where I feel the least productive. Here are some easy meals and snacks that are sure to set you up for a day filled with energy:
Fruit or Veggie Smoothies
You hear this everywhere: fruit smoothies are filled with tons of vitamins and antioxidants that boost your immune system, but it really is true. Green colored smoothies often seem daunting and unappetizing, so I am including one of my go-to recipes for a green smoothie that reminds me of something you would drink on vacation:
- 1 cup spinach or kale
- 1 cup water or milk of choice (I use almond milk)
- ½ cup frozen mango
- ½ cup frozen pineapple
- 1 frozen banana
Sipping on this smoothie in the morning before you start a day of classes will boost your endorphins and result in a deeper focus during your classes, at work and while you are studying.
This popular snack has exploded over social media and has popped up on many restaurant menus in the last year, creating several different ways to prepare this dish. Avocados contain high levels of healthy fats and provide a great source of protein to feel strong throughout a long day. If you want to add an extra source of protein, add a fried egg on top of your toast for an easy healthy breakfast or lunch.
This dish is arguably the best for a college student to save time on cooking, spend minimal money on food and get tons of nutrients, all while having plenty of leftovers. A Buddha bowl is usually a vegetarian meal that contains a base, a protein and lots of veggies. The bowl can be arranged however you prefer, however most people strive to create an aesthetic approach for their social media feed. Being a vegetarian is not necessary for productive success, but having a plant-based meal from time to time can help improve sleep and work ethic, which are two things that college students certainly need help with. My favorite Buddha bowl ingredients right now are:
- Base: rice or quinoa and spinach
- Proteins: chickpeas, black beans and avocado
- Veggies: sweet potato, edamame, corn and cauliflower
- Toppings: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and avocado ranch dressing
Another way to do breakfast as a busy college student or even a delicious dessert is a homemade yogurt parfait. Yogurt is loaded with probiotics, which are linked to improving gut health, and berries are a brain food that promote long-term focus and thought. If you are looking for extra sweetness, drizzle some maple syrup or agave over your bowl for a low-sugar option, and you can also add some fresh granola for an extra crunch. Getting creative with your meals is important for the flow of productivity!
After adjusting to cooking healthy meals for yourself in college, you should feel a level of excitement in the fact that you are focusing on your wellness while also focusing on academics. Your productivity outside of cooking and preparing meals for yourself will flourish even more now because you are entering a certain mindset that does not involve laziness, and rather one that promotes passion.