Tips For Eating Healthy While Living in a Dorm

Lauren King

| 3 min read

Moving into a dorm is an exciting time for college students. For many, it’s the first time being away from home, living among others with whom you have many things in common. The social atmosphere is invigorating and leads to many new friendships. Life seems to be just about perfect — you even have access to cafeterias so you don’t have to make your own food.
However, this luxury comes at a price: While the convenience is great, the food is usually unhealthy. And students tend to keep snacks like chips and microwavable Betty Crocker desserts in the rooms instead of foods that are high in essential nutrients.

Recreating Healthy Eating Habits

With obesity rates and related health problems on the rise, it is essential that young students take care of themselves and develop healthy habits. Some easy behaviors that college students can practice to improve health include:
  • Eating breakfast each morning. This gives your body the energy it needs to focus and improve academic performance. If you have a fridge in your room, be sure to keep fresh fruit, multigrain cereal and fat-free milk stocked.
  • Learn some microwave recipes. Keep microwavable food on hand that you can mix together to create a delicious meal. Also, toppings like low-fat cheese and lettuce are great things to have in the fridge to top off any meal.
  • Keeping your room salad-friendly. Having salad ingredients — or pre-made salads — available in the fridge along with low-fat dressing is a great alternative to relying on the vending machine for a snack.
  • Be wary of nutrient content. Many “college-friendly” foods, like microwavable pizzas and burritos, are very high in sodium and calories. Try to pay close attention to labels and stay away from foods that contain lots of salt and fat; instead, choose foods that are high in protein and fiber.
  • Make healthier choices at dining facilities. This may be the toughest behavior for college students to change. Many dining facilities on campus are comparable to fast food, and even the ones that aren’t don’t provide very many healthy options. Instead of going with pizza or a burger and fries, try choose options that contain the most nutrients. Small steps such as this can really make a difference.
Other options that may be available to some college students, but not all, are healthy food delivery services. The FruitGuys is one example: this company’s aim is to deliver fruits and vegetables to both the workplace and college campuses as a way to promote healthy living.
Living on a college campus definitely makes it more difficult to choose healthy eating habits. Everything you need to follow an unbalanced diet is usually right in front of you, inviting you to immerse yourself in its unhealthiness. However, the healthy options are there, too, and it is imperative that young people make use of these options to maintain good health.
Photo credit: thomaslu

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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