Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute(please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

College life doesn’t always make healthy eating easy. Most colleges are surrounded by several food options, but that doesn’t mean these options are desirable. The following should help you build a diet plan that will work with your college lifestyle.

Limit yourself when out

You are living near friends, so the likelihood of going to a restaurant you normally wouldn’t go to is high. What you want to do in this situation is try to avoid the foods that may contain genetically engineered ingredients or food additives. Your choices are limited, but you should stick to the following when possible:

  • Chicken like grilled chicken
  • Large helpings of vegetables like stir-fry
  • Any kind of salad you can find, but hold the dressing
  • Egg foods

Remember, this is the last resort solution, but the most important thing to do is stay away from fast food or casual restaurants whenever you can.

Try to eat for your needs

A college student needs to consider a number of things when eating. The food you eat could help or hurt your college life. The reason you are staying away from GMOs, pesticides and antibiotics is not only for your health but also to keep your mind right.

It may seem far-fetched, but imbalances in the gut could lead to chronic fatigue, which could be detrimental to your college life. This is especially important for those who try to work and study at the same time. Bad foods can lead to imbalances in your gut, so make sure that you eat healthier foods with an emphasis on probiotic-rich foods.

Best of all, most of these foods do not have to be cooked but rather fermented and refrigerated. For example, yogurts contain a lot of probiotics though you can also just make a ginger bug to make probiotic-rich drinks. Adding these types of foods to your diet should help balance your gut bacteria.

Eating well without cooking

A college student is rarely afforded the luxury of a full kitchen. At best, you probably have a microwave and a small fridge. This makes it hard to cook some foods, which is the reason many students succumb to questionable foods from restaurants nearby.

You can learn to cook without baking or cooking over a stovetop flame. For example, you can actually make eggs in a microwave, and those who are a bit more adventurous can try pizza in a microwave-safe mug.

Perhaps the best thing you can do is adopt the raw meal diet when possible. The point is to cut veggies up and make them into something you can eat without cooking. The simplest option is a salad, but you can also create an endless amount of dips from avocado dips to onion dips as long as you make most things by hand.

Health condiments will assist

Raw meals will need a few condiments to make them taste good. For example, you are probably going to need whole egg mayonnaise to make your onion dip, garlic dip, artichoke dip, or any other dip that you can think of.

Of course, you can purchase some of these condiments in your local store, but they normally contain questionable ingredients when the point of a healthy diet is to stick to natural ingredients as much as possible. As a side note, you have to remember that eggs are actually a brain-boosting food that should help keep you sharp for the courses you are taking.

It may be a good idea to communicate with other health-conscious students to see if they have additional ideas for you. Try to form a community of health-conscious students, or join a group to see if you can share some of the foods you end up making. Hopefully, this guide does make it a little easier to eat and succeed.

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis


  • Andrej Kovacevic

    Editor @ Tech Loot, freelance copywriter, fintech blogger, content manager

    Andrej is also a dedicated writer and digital evangelist. He is pursuing an ongoing mission to share the benefits of his years of hard-won expertise with business leaders and marketing professionals everywhere. He is a contributor to a wide range of technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing everything from neural networks and natural language processing to the latest in smart home IoT devices. If there's a new and exciting technology, there's a good chance Andrej is writing about it somewhere out there.