When you think about back-to-school nutrition, the first thing that comes to mind is brown-bag lunches and cafeteria food. College students are hitting the books once again and eating nutritious meals on a college student’s budget can be challenging. But, maintaining a healthy diet will do more than just fuel your body, it will fuel your mind too. Having a balanced digestive system has been linked to mental performance and the gut is being referred to with increasing frequency as “the second brain.” Give yourself an edge on that next exam with 4 easy strategies to eat healthy as you head back to campus this fall:
Load up on Vegetables
With the abundance of fast food available on today’s college campuses, vegetables are don’t always make their way into every meal. But getting the daily recommended amount of 2-3 cups a day of vegetables can help alleviate GI issues, lower blood pressure, and protect against heart disease and certain kinds of cancer. With cooler weather setting in, we’re nearing the last few months to get your local, fresh veggies in the greater Boston area before winter. Get your hands on some delicious seasonal vegetables such as:
Meal Prep for a College Student
A great way to hold yourself accountable, and make sure you get the most out of your farmer’s market haul, is to prepare meals ahead of time. Saving money is paramount when you’re a college student on a budget. Many students think eating healthy food costs more than grabbing a fast-food cheeseburger. But, by taking the time to plan your meals, you can save money and make sure you’re getting the right kinds of food. An added benefit? You’ll be able to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15” weight gain if you’re leaving home for the first time. Have mom or dad teach you a few simple recipes and you’ll be able to spend those extra calories on fun nights out in the greater Boston area with friends rather than filling your plate with dining hall cookies in between classes. Your wallet and your stomach will thank you.
Stick to a Schedule
As a college student getting back into the swing of things, a routine meal schedule is probably the last thing on your mind. Meal planning will help with what you eat, but when you eat can also have health benefits. Eating meals around the same time each day can give your digestive system some predictability. This can result in more effective digestion resulting in less GI distress such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. Having a set meal schedule will also help you remember to eat when you’re running between class, up for a late-night study session, or sleeping in on the weekend.
Easy, GI-Friendly Recipes
Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas- packed with veggies, this dish is perfect for fall and it’s vegan!
Full-Of-Fruit Muffins- a batch of these delicious muffins will easily make a week’s worth of breakfast. They’re perfect for a snack too.
One Pan Chicken with Rice and Peas- This one-pan dish is super easy to throw together and as a bonus, cleanup will be a breeze because you’ll only dirty one pan. Tastes good hot or cold, so make a big batch to take for lunches on the go.
Lightly Toasted Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal- oats can do wonders for digestion and overnight oats are a staple in any good meal plan. Change up the toppings to keep it interesting.
Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl- quench your Chipotle craving for this healthier (and cheaper!) homemade burrito bowl.