I myself have been a college student. Heck, even after graduation I lived practically in a dorm – or at least renting a flat with three other people. Only until recently when I finally rent an entire flat on my own, I can afford a healthy diet. Before, I lived mostly on ramen noodles… and frozen pre-made meals are still a major component of my diet. But hey, I’m getting better and so can you.

My first semi-steady job was a freelance photographer. I had to move all and about across the town, whether by bike, by bus until I was able to afford to my own car. And with my band practices, kids care, I had to eat lunches out. And well, pizza, fast foods, hamburgers are affordable – but not very good for me. The food is loaded with calories, trans fat, sugar, and salt! While it’s nice to eat out once in a while, don’t overdo it. Now I cook fresh food at least every other day and use pre-made ingredients at all the other times. I prepare most of my food at home, and order takeout at best once or twice per month, even when I’m entertaining guests. That’s certainly doable if you’re struggling student. Of course, many schools offer some kind of bar or cafeteria on the grounds. Consider your cafeteria, since they often offer hearty, home meals.

fitness-826940_1280.jpgHowever, a lot of people associate these homecooked meals with carbs and sugar. You need some energy, so consider the composition of your dishes. Many women remember the calorie-counting craze of the late 90s – but calories aren’t everything. You need fat to live, you know. However, you should control your intake. Remember to focus on fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and beans and legumes, whether dining in the cafeteria or preparing your own dishes. I’m not a vegan, I could never swear off eggs or cocoa, for example, because they’re full of goodness.

Remember the Sesame Street? They used to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that’s true. My mom hated cereal, saying that’s just cardboard, sugar and milk, so I used to grab an apple or a sandwich for my breakfast. It wasn’t enough. Now I eat more solid, palpable breakfast – a small chicken salad, potato salad, beans and sausage… As a result, I eat my lunch after 2 PM, which is now lighter, and have a larger dinner. And I do snack between meals, mostly fruit… though sometimes I do like a chocolate bar. If I can, I pick muesli one, though.