Healthy Eating in College

I’d like to start this post with a shout out to my cousin Andrew’s friends at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

I received this hysterical text from Andrew last night:

Say Whaaaaat!?

For anyone to say that my blog even comes close to Facebook in the minds of college students is one heck of a compliment. ย As a former college student and previous Facebook addict, I felt very humbled and had to give these girls a shout out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Andrew also told me that one of his friends had topic request that they would like to see covered on the blog: How to eat healthy in college.

Consider it done!

Healthy Eating in College

My interest in health and fitness began in college. I ate foods that I thought were healthy during my time at the University of Central Florida. My freshman year I had a meal plan, but after that my meals consisted of frozen entrees like Lean Cuisines and Lean Pockets.

These small meals wouldn’t fill me up and within a couple of hours I’d find myself snacking away on honey roasted peanuts, cereal or popcorn.

I once ate an entire box of Froot Loops in one day. (You should know that copious amounts of Froot Loops affect the colors of your bowels. My mom may or may not have received a panicked call from me due to this little discovery. Sorry for the grossness. Welcome to Peanut Butter Fingers! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I now realize that if I had fueled my body with voluminous and nutritious foods like fruits and veggies and whole grains, I would have felt a lot more satisfied and not felt the need to snack my way through studying.

Of course I am by no means an expert, but knowing what I know now, here are my tips for healthy eating in college:

  • Invest in a mini fridge. Keep it stocked with healthy snacks you can reach for when hunger strikes. Apples, oranges, peanut butter, lean deli meats and string cheese are all wonderful options.
  • Take a lap around the dining hall before filling your plate. If you have a meal plan, make sure to take a lap around the dining hall to assess your options before piling a bunch of food on your plate. This way you’ll fill up your plate with the nutritious foods you want the most and not that hard roll or dry slab of meat that looked only somewhat appealing.
  • Make fruits and veggies 50 percent. When plating your lunch or dinner at a dining hall, allow fruits and vegetables to take up 50 percent of the space on your plate. Fill the other 50 percent evenly between whole grains and lean protein.

Healthy Plate

  • Beware of the salad bar. Salad bars are wonderful for those hoping to take in a nutritious meal… That is until you pile on gobs of dressing. Enjoy the salad bar but select lighter dressing like olive oil and vinegar or a balsamic vinaigrette rather than dressings full of saturated fat.
  • Drinks add up. Shots. Lemon drops. Margaritas. They add up. Of course alcohol enjoyed in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but many college students hit the bars night in and night out, downing drink after drink and then wonder why the pounds start to pack on when they eat healthy otherwise. Hmmm…
  • Make like-minded friends. Working out and eating healthy is much more fun when your friends are on board as well. Suggest trying out a new local healthy restaurant with your friends and share your latest healthy snack discoveries with each other.

I also want to add that to me, having a good time and livin’ it up with friends is a huge part of living a balanced and healthy life during college.

Though I’ve always had an interest in healthy living, that didn’t stop me from making a couple of 2 a.m. trips to Taco Bell with friends at the end of a long night.

I had one heck of a good time downing my fair share of adult beverages… Once I turned 21, of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eat healthy and get movin’… but take time to have fun, too!

Sip, Sip

BEEEEER

Yeehaw!

Hi Ryan!

What's In That Big Gulp?

If you are in college:

  • What is your biggest challenge with living a healthy lifestyle?

If your college years are behind you:

  • Were you healthy in college?
  • What are your healthy living tips for college students?

Comments

  1. says

    in college, i lived in the dorms for 2 yrs & in my sorority house for 2 yrs (yeah KD!). i was pretty healthy in college- i ran CC & track- but eating healthy was difficult in the cafeteria (mandatory meal plan if you’re in the dorms) and in my house with our cook. so when i wasn’t satisfied with my options i would grocery shop to make up the difference (fruits, yogurt, skim milk, cheese & crackers, oatmeal, etc) and i did request healthy additions to the menu at our sorority house. don’t be afraid to use comment cards or just talk to someone… you never know what change you can make!

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  2. says

    i was actually really healthy in college…but i’d say that was the first time i adopted the healthy living lifestyle, so i definitely struggled with being creative with it. i wouldn’t trade those learning years for the world though!

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  3. says

    Drinking is definitely the biggest challenge to a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to make the right choices food-wise and get to the gym, but it’s REALLY hard to turn down a drink when it’s such a huge part of the college experience. I’ve found that sticking to light beer really helps- it takes longer to drink than a super-sweet mixed drink, doesn’t get you as horribly drunk, and has way fewer calories than a long island iced tea or rum and coke!

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  4. says

    I was not a healthy eater in college. That is when I first started picking up cleaner eating habits, but I also binged because I had such an all or nothing mentality.

    I wish I had examples on balanced living and truly healthy eating before then!

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  5. Anonymous says

    I lived in the dorms with a meal plan my first year, so between that and Papa Johns across the street I packed quite a few lbs on!

    Sophomore year I lived in the KD house, but it was comprised of apartments, so we all had kitchens. That could have made eating healthy easy, but I was brain washed by atkins and snacked on pork rinds (EW!)

    Let’s just sum it up by saying I got healthy AFTER college ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. says

    I lived in the dorms with a meal plan my first year, so between that and Papa Johns across the street I packed quite a few lbs on!

    Sophomore year I lived in the KD house, but it was comprised of apartments, so we all had kitchens. That could have made eating healthy easy, but I was brain washed by atkins and snacked on pork rinds (EW!)

    Let’s just sum it up by saying I got healthy AFTER college ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Jordan says

    I have to admit, it was great to see some pictures of you and time machine back to baby pbfingers!! college was definitely a low in terms of my eating, but the wakeup call I got afterwards was important to changing my life!

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  8. says

    I actually ate the same in college as I do now. I weighed less, too. Hours of swimming everyday will do that! My tip is to not replace good calories with empty ones (like alcohol). I know a lot of girls tend to eat nothing so they can drink a ton. It’s important to still consume quality foods!

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  9. says

    I spent a lot of time in the gym, taking fun classes. A few of my friends also got together on a weekly basis to play some type of outdoor sport. It was a lot of fun and a good bonding experience for our group. Oh how I miss college. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. says

    I tried to be healthy in college, but I didn’t know nearly as much about it as I do now. It was definitely a lot of lean cuisines and processed food and junior hamburgers from fast food places. I see young bloggers that are in college and I’m in awe of them. They prove that it’s possible to have fun AND eat real, nutritious food.

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  11. says

    I’m really proud of my “legacy” to my college (aside from my boring senior thesis). I got the ball rolling and was the first member of the newly created Dining Services Committee. We helped to completely overhaul our dining options – veggies not in oil, more salad dressing options, turkey burgers, grilled chicken, omelet station, whole grains. When I started as a freshman it was nothing but pizza, bacon cheeseburgers and pre-made eggs. If there is something your school isn’t offering, ask for it and keep trying. Your money funds dining services!

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      that is awesome! do you mind sharing where you went to school so others may look into it as an example if they’re interested?

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      • says

        I went to Brandeis outside of Boston. This is what the school writes:

        The Dining Services Committee challenges our committee members to recommend viable changes and help support and communicate our efforts at implementing new programs. This will hopefully be an interactive and dynamic system-one that encourages collaboration and demonstrates change to meet the diverse demands of the community

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  12. Avery says

    As a college student, I’d say lack of TIME is my biggest struggle! Between working and a full load of classes, it’s often hard to squeeze in good workouts AND eat healthy when I get back late from a whole day of class, work, errands and other shenanigans.

    It’s hard but SLEEP is a huge help and I try to squeeze in my workouts in between classes or whenever I have a chance! Is it bad that I consider my health a much bigger priority than my education?? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. Leah says

    I like to personally blame my college weight gain on Devaney’s… And the Taco Bell in their parking lot…. annnnd the Push Back Room… ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      oh lord. remember when pi kapp had those GIANT pizzas waiting for us in the PBR after devaney’s??? it was like heaven.

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  14. says

    the best tip I can give college students is TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE GYM!!! It might be the only time you’re able to have access to a gym and workout classes absolutely free, I definitely started going to the gym and sampled all of the group classes while at college! Now I pay for my gym membership :/

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  15. silvershadow157 says

    My biggest challenge is having the time to cook. So to make it easier I cook one big healthy meal on the weekend and then eat it for dinner the rest of the week. I also always pack my lunch

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  16. says

    I’d say the biggest challenge is definitely the drinking aspect. Last year, I often opted out of going out with my friends because I didn’t want the drinking to ruin my “healthy habits”. But this year I’m trying to take a more relaxed view and going out 1-2 nights a week with my friends. But the drinks really DO add up.

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  17. Julie says

    I think it’s so important for college students to understand that eating healthy at school is possible. This understanding didn’t come easily for me though, and it took me 3 years of struggling to finally get a grip…

    Starting with freshman year: Going from a 3 sport Varsity athlete to a…5-night-a-week party animal and drunk eater…made that freshman 15 (+20) come FAST. I didn’t understand the need for a gym (I had never been to a gym before and didn’t associate sports with exercise), and didn’t understand why I couldn’t just keep piling on the french fries in the dining hall. Everyone else was doing it?

    The next two years were full of experimenting once I realized just how much weight I had gained. I tried various eating strategies and had a few bouts of intense exercise until I found the right path for me. Taking advantage of group fitness classes and a gym that is already part of my tuition was really important. Also, getting off a meal plan and learning how to shop and cook for myself was key.

    In my last year, I’m finding that I struggle most with prioritizing. Eating healthy and exercising is very important to me, but so is socializing with friends and enjoying my senior year. It’s hard to go out without drinking, and even harder to have just one drink when everyone around you is drinking 10! It’s also nearly impossible not to take part in the 3 AM drunk eating that goes on. Staying healthy in college is a pretty difficult task, but I think it is manageable once you figure out what works for you!

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      i completely agree. it isn’t easy. you want to have fun and enjoy drinks & 3 a.m. pizza, but it’s hard to make that something you only do every once in a while when it seems like it’s something that happens EVERY NIGHT in college.

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  18. Katie says

    I was so far beyond healthy in college, it disgusts me. If I knew then what I know now, getting through the day would have been a lot easier! I worked out daily, but only ran! And I ate well enough during the day, but at night the late night pizza runs and gallons of icecream called our names. Ugh. And the Friday AND Saturday night parties, every.single.weekend. really take a toll on your body! So gross.

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  19. says

    I totally agree with your tips! Thanks for the help. BALANCED is definately the key! There’s nothing wrong with having an unhealthy snck now and again, but eat only a small amount and don’t do it day after day.

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  20. MJ says

    My best tip do NOT replace skim milk with soda. If you are drinking regular soda, skim milk has fewer calories and much more vitamins and nutrition to it.

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  21. Anne @ a daily slice says

    I was definitely NOT healthy in college. I tried–I’d workout at the rec center, but never pushed myself and ate really unhealthy ๐Ÿ™

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  22. Jennifer says

    Thanks for this post!! I am in my last year of college right now and your blog has definitely helped me come up with so many great healthy recipes. I’m already a big runner, but this blog has for sure helped me strengthen further! That text is hilarious because I always hit up facebook after class, and then your blog!

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  23. Molly says

    The worst part is that eating becomes a social activity! Luckily this year I have a kitchen so its not as hard to eat healthy, but when eating becomes a fun activity to do with your friends its gets dangerous!

    Now I pack my own healthy food when my friends want to get junk food and just tell them I’m trying to save money, which is true but I also want to save myself from the junk they are all going to eat at Cici’s Pizza ๐Ÿ˜›

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  24. says

    My biggest challenge is all the sweets my school has. I have money loaded on my card so when I pick up my coffee before class it is just SO easy to get a muffin, too. I try to pace myself, though. If I really want the muffin I let myself get it but I try nto to do it every day.

    Btw, thanks for the fruit loops advice. lol

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  25. says

    Nope, I totally wasn’t healthy in college.

    I went from eating WAyyyy too much (a little too excited about the dining hall options and ice cream machine)

    to eating Wayyyyy too little. (getting sucked into the college/sorority dieting obsessed crowd)

    I felt like things got better when I got my own apt, but I really didn’t know how to cook, so that was hard. Too much packaged stuff.

    I would advise college students to buy some cookbooks or take down their family recipes for quick and easy meals. If I had been able to cook in college, or at least understood ingredients, I think I would have made better choices.

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  26. Amanda at Run4Ayden says

    Walk every where you can! I know a lot of people do, but my friends in my dorm would drive everywhere they could and then complained about gaining weight. Get a friend and a few of those reusable bags and walk to the grocery store if you can!

    Also, if the vinaigrette at the salad bar gets old, create your own! Mix your favorite regular dressing with balsamic or red wine vinegar! Red wine vinegar and honey mustard dressing tastes uh-mazing!

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  27. Angela says

    I too, graduated from UCF! Class of 2008, woohoo!
    I was a little TOO healthy in college, as in, I took it way too seriously. Now I realize that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of yummy things every so often. Happiness counts, too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  28. Rachel says

    I am a junior in college and would definitely say I don’t have any issues being healthy, except for the 1:00-3:00 slump. I have an eight a.m. followed by a break, so I use this time to run and lift weights, but once I’m through a shower and some fruit, grilled chicken, salad and veggies, I’m practically asleep in Astronomy. Maybe it’s the dark lights and monotone professor? I usually get my eight hours of sleep in (on weeknights, anyway). I avoid extra sugar, because any time I take in processed stuff or sugar treats, I pay for it in the form of exhaustion and/or a stomach ache.

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  29. says

    College years were definitely a struggle for me in terms of healthy eating. It was the time in my life where I learned both what all the wrong ways to eat were and where I began to learn the right ways to eat. It is difficult to eat healthy in college with the pressures of snacking and ordering out with friends, the endless amounts of unhealthy food in the cafe, and the stress of living in a busy routine. My biggest tips are:
    1) Educate yourself a bit on good nutrition, learn the terms the denote unhealthy food versus the ones that are more healthy ways of cooking (grilled, baked, etc)
    2) Balance out the veggies, fruits and whole grains (if possible) with protein, too!
    3) Learn that there are even healthy ways to order out! Veggie pizzas are much better for you than pepperoni. Chinese food isn’t all bad, go for dishes that have a meat and a vegetable component and skip the fried rice ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck!!!

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  30. says

    I definitely fell on the more unhealthy side when it came to college eating. I was also very undereducated about nutrition…. oops.

    If anything, if the healthy eats are hard to come by, at least make sure you’re getting enough “movement” in. I think having classes all across campus (as much of a pain as it was) saved me because I was constantly outside walking around.

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  31. says

    Walk everywhere and as much as possible! I went to NYU so I adjusted to the active city lifestyle…ever notice how no one in New York is overweight? It’s because people walk everywhere, all the time, from place to place, up subway stairs, etc. I was one of few who never gained my Freshman 15! Just this change makes such a huge difference!

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  32. says

    My best advice: buy a crock pot! It is so easy (and inexpensive) to pop in some meat and veggies in the morning, and you get to come home to the amazing smell of supper all cooked and waiting for you! I even used my crock pot in residence and I’m pretty sure you can make just about anything in a crock pot.

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  33. Katie says

    I’m in college right now and I am a really healthy eater. I love spoiling myself though on things like pizza or dessert or drinks. It’s college and it’s life so it’s important to take in those indulgences. The hardest challenge for me is working out. I probably go to the gym at least 3 times during the week. I wish I could go more but my schedule doesn’t allow it.

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  34. Tiffany S says

    One of the dining halls on my campus was strictly vegetarian, so I ate lunch there everyday. They usually had pretty decent options, and I always had fruit and veggies with my meal. I think it’s the dessert offerings that were the worst for my eating habits in college. I did, however, stay away from drinking in college, except when I was with my boyfriend (now husband). He lived a 1000 miles away though so that wasn’t very often!

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  35. Celina says

    I’m in college right now and I find it easier to eat healthy/workout when you surround yourself with like-minded people.
    Also if I don’t want to drink I just say so! Who are people to judge your healthy living life style? Either that or vodka/crystal light ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  36. says

    I was already obese by the time I got to college. And I packed on more after the surgery I had back then. Thankfully I have since lost almost 100 pounds, but I certainly didn’t know about health and fitness back then!

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  37. says

    I went through multiple stages of eating in college – it was usually healthy in that I made healthy choices at the dining hall and made sure to get in my veggies, but I also was eating “diet foods” like dannon lite n fit yogurt and way too many meal bars.

    At the end of senior year it all clicked and I started to use my kitchen to cook real food!

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  38. says

    I was definitely active and healthy in college, but certainly did my fair share of imbibing and late night pizza eating. My girlfriend and I used to walk the 2 miles to the liquor store every Thursday to offset that night’s drinking. Definitely one of my favorite attempts to balance the healthy and not so healthy!

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  39. Laura says

    This topic upsets me so much! College was such a dreadful, miserable experience for me. I went into it with an eating disorder, thinking going away would make it better. WRONG. It just snowballed from there. Without going into detail, I embarked on quite an unfortunate 4 year roller coaster ride with food, exercise, etc. I think I may be the only one who DOESN’T ever want to revisit those years!

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      i’m so sorry to hear that, laura. i am not sure what point you are at now in your journey, but i hope things have improved for you since then. my heart goes out to you.

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    • Anon says

      I am too embarrassed to leave my real name here. I wanted you to know that you are not alone, I regret how much time and energy I wasted on my own eating disorder in college and would never want to go back to that.

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    • says

      Laura – I had the exact same experience in college too. I went in with an eating disorder and was so happy to get away from all the people “watching” me eat (parents, doctors, nutritionist, etc.) and being on my own where no one thought of me as the girl with an eating disorder.

      I am now sad that my entire college experience was centered around eating and how I could avoid it. I was always so stressed about eating situations (dining hall dinners, going out to eat, late night Wendy’s runs, etc.) because I wanted to hang out with my friends but being around food scared me so much.

      Now life is much better, but I wasted so many years worrying about food and the size of my belly. Good luck to you and I hope you have found some relief from the ED demons!

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  40. Anonymous says

    My biggest challenge is munching while studying. And I study a lot so that means a lot of munching! Reese pieces= great study food.

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  41. says

    Mine is finding time to eat. I am constantly going so it is easy to realize at 4 pm that I have not had lunch yet. Because I am training for an ultra-marathon it is important that I eat regular and healthy meals.

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  42. says

    I became a certified fitness instructor once I got to college. Might as well get paid to workout!

    I also never really found it hard to eat well in college. I think it mainly had to do with always having a passion for nutrition and understanding of good food vs bad foods! Definitely saved me from the freshman 15 =)

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  43. krista says

    You look so young in that last pic!
    My first semester in college I went a little crazy with the all-you-can-eat dining hall, but moving off campus I went back to my normal eating habits the following years. I have always worked out so I kept that up as well, as did my roomies.
    Drinking has never added pounds to me, but I’m a diet soda + liquor kinda gal!

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  44. says

    college is when I actually started getting really healthy. I mean, I went through the adjustment period of realizing I had to in fact be responsible about what I fed myself, but by Sophomore year I was all set with my workout buddies and regular fitness classes at the campus rec center. That would be my biggest tip, actually – FIND A BUDDY! (or many!!) It’s the BEST way to motivate to stay healthy and active.
    Great post!
    x

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  45. Kaitlyn says

    I’m in college and I read your blog every day!! ๐Ÿ™‚ My biggest challenge is having the time to make meals/having enough money. However, I have greatly improved in eating just from reading your blog. I discovered that you don’t have to take 2 hours to make a good healthy meal… So thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ And just so you know, your blog inspired me enough to sign up for my first 5K this November!

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  46. land animal says

    Making fruit and veggies 50% is a great goal for healthy eating for any of us! I am going to go reassess everything I ate today to see how I size up. I think I probably did really good today though. I had been eating like all pasta and this morning I was like OK, enough!

    Great post!

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  47. says

    Once I got out of the dorm/meal plan I was healthy! I learned to cook healthy meals and started walking to campus rather than driving! I would walk everywhere, it really paid off! I agree also with have friends who share in eating right and working out!

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  48. AshleyCarole says

    I LOVED the UNCW shout-out! I went there for my undergrad! I was extremely unhealthy for my first two years of college but started eating healthy and working out my Junior and Senior year. My tips for college are walk everywhere! It sneaks a bit of cardio in without you realizing it! Also, take advantage of the free gym classes! I loved the AB classes the best, I still use some of the move I learned!!

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  49. Ger says

    Is anyone healthy in college? I actually think I was in denial about my weight gain. I wore dresses a lot so i wouldn’t have to face the fact that my jeans were getting waaaay too tight. the best times at college were all food and drink centred – that seems to explain it all really ๐Ÿ™‚ And there is no bigger diet de-railer than post drinking munchies.

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  50. says

    Julie: Your blog is BETTER than Facebook ๐Ÿ˜€ I swear every day when I read your blog I wonder when it will be that you just get to freelance write. You’re such an awesome writer, and you make all topics interesting. LOVE IT & love pb fingers & you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  51. Megan says

    I can definitely identify with those college ladies! Facebook has been having server issues and has been down off and on for the past two days and when i try and take a break at work all i could think was thank god pbfingers isnt down too or id actually have to be productive all day!

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  52. says

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve now lost 55 pounds, and I lost 50 of them while in college (I graduated last year). It’s definitely possible to stay–or get!–healthy in college and still have fun. My advice? Learn to speak up for yourself! If you’re heading out to dinner with friends, pick a place that looks like it has some healthy options, and suggest it. In the dining halls or at restaurants, make special requests (butter/sauce on the side; dry grilled; steamed, not fried)–always with a smile and a please! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you care about YOU and make health a priority, you can do it!

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  53. says

    The biggest challenge for me is my busy schedule! Between interning and school, I’m running around like crazy. And if I stay up late to finish work, I wind up eating a late night fourth meal!

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  54. candi says

    Haha! Did you know that black icing has a Smurf-like side effect? Our sorority house bathroom was pretty comical after that mock rush party.

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  55. Lise says

    I’m actually in college now and I’m really struggling! I am restricting a lot and avoiding carbs like crazy. I don’t feel satisfied often after my meals, and usually end up eating a lot of veggies with a little bit of tofu, or an egg. Do you have any tips for getting out of disordered eating habits?

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  56. says

    I am currently in college and I have my own apartment, which makes it easier to eat healthy ;). I’ve just started this month and what I find hard is finding time for exercise. I was going to the gym before school last year but now my classes are too early (and the gym opens to late)! I try to exercise at home with body-weight exercises and yoga – and I walk a lot ;).
    I was in a dorm last year but we didn’t have meals included so I mostly ate simple salads, bagels, smoothies and lots of takeout!

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  57. Ashley says

    I thought I was healthy in college, but now that it’s all behind me I can see that I had major issues with food. I gained the freshmen 15 and completely overcompensated the next year by cutting back a TON.
    I thought that staying within my self-imposed calorie limit meant that I was being “good”…nevermind that my diet was comprised of Lean Cuisine, Special K, and 100-calorie packs. I had the occasional salad, but didn’t ever put a lot of dressing on it because I only liked ranch and knew it was fattening. Bowls of basically plain iceberg lettuce and not-so-ripe tomatoes? Ick.
    Lord knows I made up for all of those calories that I “saved” on most nights of the week (Thurs-Sun) by drinking. Vodka cranberries were my drink of choice, and I shudder to think of all of the sugar I took in on nights I pounded 6-7 of those babies.

    My tips are thus:
    *All-you-can-eat does NOT MEAN you should eat all that you can eat at every meal. I worked in the kitchen, and can attest that dining commons food is notoriously fattening. (If your school posts calorie counts, count on the number being much lower than it actually is.) Stick to the 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs, 1/2 veg guideline when building plates.
    *If your dining hall isn’t big on offering veggies, fill out a comment card and talk to the director. If you have a special dietary need (veg*n, gluten-free, etc.), talk to the director. They are there to work with you and will help!
    *Just because cookies, cakes, ice cream and pastries are offered at every meal does not mean you should have them every time. Have fruit after lunch and a cookie after dinner.
    *A shot and diet soda is about 100 calories and much better for you than Long Islands, my precious vodka crans, and any of the “special” drinks the bar is famous for.

    TL;DR – MODERATION in everything you do. Want pizza and fries for dinner? Don’t go out to the bar and have 8 fruity drinks, followed by late-night tacos. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  58. says

    I’m currently a senior in college right now and my biggest challenge with living a healthy lifestyle is trying to find time for workouts.

    I work and go to classes Monday through Fri and my weekends are my days off, but I’m always doing something (e.g.; studying, family/friend events, volunteering). So, yah it’s kind of hard, but I’m realizing that I have to sacrifice certain things like waking up earlier in the morning to exercise before classes. It helps and it wakes me up! Plus, bringing my lunch saves me SOO much money!

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  59. Jenna says

    In college I really tried to LOOK at the foods everyone else was eating. Mostly likely they were rather ordinary & not so appealing fried foods or things I could get anytime I wanted. I treat myself when I’m really craving, when it’s a special occasion or when something just looks too good/different to pass up!

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  60. says

    Ha honestly I need Healthy and CHEAP Ideas seriously! Even reading all of this stuff, I still need ideas! Basically I have the 100% whole wheat thing down. When I make pasta (which is basically all I eat, which is bad) It usually has zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli in it. Breakfast will be oatmeal with some peanut butter ( yum!) and a banana.

    If I had my blender ( I left it at my parents house) and protein powder (also at parents house…) I would make green monsters which I adore!

    I am just afraid of spending too much on groceries to buy much more than that! Any suggestions?

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  61. Kaella Carr says

    I LOVE this post!! I went to college from seven years ago and was living in dorms with three roomates. The rooms all had their own kitchens, but I was taking my journliams program and found myself at school 12-14 hours a day (minimum!) I was always tired and sluggish, but I associated that with how busy I was…not with the fact I wasn’t eating the right foods (think vending machines, fries, pizza etc!) I didn’t drink (not a huge fan still today) but the food and lack of exercise helped me gain 30 pounds!!! I graduated and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease six months later. I lost fifty pounds because of that, but I have never felt better (despite the Chronic Condition.) I workout, take dance classes for fun twice a week, eat healthy and save money for bringing my own food to work. I also now it’s important to treat yourself ( I LOVE that you include this in many of your posts!!) and am a sucker for 1) cookies 2) chips (i try and go for baked now) 3) C-A-N-D-Y! Have a great day Julie!!

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  62. Caitlin says

    My college had fabulously healthy (and even special vegan) dining options, a huge, free gym, and a walkable campus and city. We had our fair share of drinking and late night eating (even our dining commons have something called “Late Night” meals), but the largely healthy lifestyle of the populace and focus on healthy food choices in the dining commons made it easy to stay in shape. I actually tried tofu, cauliflower, and grapefruit (ew) for the first time at the dining halls.

    Plus, to be honest, I think a lot of students at my school are too neurotic to be unhealthy.

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  63. Julia says

    I’m a junior in college now and am happy to report that I have not gained a single pound since high school. I actually weigh less than I did then. How I keep it up? I exercise 6 days a week, I limit myself to one night out a week and them I usually drink vodka in diet soda, and I keep in mind that all of the unhealthy food on campus will still be there next Friday, when treat day comes around again.

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  64. Kate says

    Thank you so so much for posting this! I just recently stumbled upon your blog; it is so inspirational and relatable! I am a college junior who is, for the first time EVER, trying to incorporate healthy eating and fitness into my lifestyle. So far, I cannot get over how amazing I feel! =) thanks for all the recipes and tips (and all the photos of you and your adorable little family) =)

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  65. Carolyn Mackley says

    I LOVE your blog!! You are too sweet/cute/funny/amazing/beautiful, etc!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I just started my first semester in college and luckly for me I was able to get out of the ‘required’ dining plan. I have my own (TEENIE TINY, but awesome) apartment that I am able to make my own healthy, yummy meals. Thank goodness!! It’s so sad to me to see all the kids that show up with Pop-Tarts or Honeybuns as their ‘hearty’ breakfast. Lol. I’ve learned alot about nutrition and what my body needs in my recovery from an eating disorder, and I’m glad to say I am LIGHTYEARS better than I was a year ago. Seeing a blog like yours that emphasizes not only healthy eating, but actually fueling your body for the amazing things you do it awesome to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are incredible and an inspiration. I just wanted you to know that you have a BIG fan down here in New Mexico. Congratulations on your wedding!!
    Sincerely, Carolyn

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  66. Laundry Bag ยท says

    outdoor sports is way better than indoor sports, i burn several hundreds of calories just playing a few hours of football ~

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  67. Sectional Garage says

    healthy eating should be our top priority since there are many junk foods and foods with no nutritional value these days ,,,

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  68. Katie says

    I just read this page after looking at your recent update this morning on Kix! I must admit the times I visit your blog daily is almost getting up there with Facebook & trust me that’s a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  69. Jazmine @ Gracefully Glutenless says

    im so happy i found this! im going to college in two years and im soo scared of what’s going to be available for me to eat.
    thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  71. says

    I love this post! I am currently a sophomore in college living off campus and the hardest challenge for me is buying healthy foods. They sometimes costs more than the unhealthy stuff which is sad in our world because everyone should be able to afford to eat healthy.

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  72. Megan says

    this is such a helpful post!

    I am going into my senior year of college! I live in an apartment close to campus so it helps to walk to class / around campus and buy groceries/cook and prepare meals ahead of time!

    I LOVE meals at Panera & McAlister’s Deli and places like that – so I try to model my quick & healthy lunches and dinner after those – I’ll pre-make 1/2 a salad or 1/2 a sandwich or some soup. I also make whole wheat pasta w just marinara for dinner with 1/2 a salad a LOT – easy and cheap!

    I wasn’t such a healthy eater when I started college, I used to skip breakfast AND lunch in high school and pig out on snacks after school… I used to dance so I got some exercise!

    In college, I brought those unhealthy habits with me and ended up going to therapy for an eating disorder!

    After that though, I went the opposite direction and started eating pizza, Taco Bell, drinking with my boyfriend and friends! I gained the dreaded “Freshman 15” and then 10 more lbs! I’m working on shedding that before my senior year starts this fall, but most of all, I’m just grateful to be learning how to eat consistent healthy meals and exercise reasonably. Learning how to be healthy is freedom!

    <3

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  73. Krista says

    Not drinking is so hard!

    For the first two years me and my friends drank every weekend and even sometimes during the week. And of course, stopping at whataburger at 2am was routine. Not to mention when i wasnt drinking my diet was pretty much ramen, pizza, taco bell or sometimes stuff i thought was healthy like frozen meals.

    Me and my friends have calmed down on the drinking and I’ve started to settle down with a boyfriend but when it comes to the weekend drinking is still the social event.

    I feel like not drinking ruins the social experience. And that being social is making it so much harder for me to lose these last few pounds. (I’m losing the freshman 15 but decided i might even go a little further and get even more fit than i was in high school!)

    But I am trying!!!

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  74. Zoe says

    I’m just starting my junior year at Johns Hopkins University and determined to make great choices. I was lucky enough that last year I had a kitchenette in my dorm and omelets and oatmeal became my staples! I would recommend hard boiling eggs to snack on later. Though I don’t have an aversion to the yolks like some people I know.

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  75. Michelle says

    I was health conscious coming into college, and had a meal plan my first two years. Even though I was still eating healthy, I was also late night drinking 2-3 times a week, and eating late at night after that. I only gained 5 lbs my fresh year vs 15, but that was from going to the gym, taking classes at the gym playing rugby, and walking everywhere. The problem was, even though I was eating healthy, I’d be eating way bigger portions than I would if I made meals at myself in a kitchen. Id eat hummus, but instead of 2 tablespoons, it was probably closer to half a cup that I was eating! As far as salads, I’d use the croutons and dressings and felt I needed to add everything to my salad, just because the toppings were available. I also fell victim to grabbing dessert every night, either because it was there or all my friends were eating it. Once I moved off campus my junior year, I was able to shop for groceries and cook my own meals. I ended up losing 15 lbs that year, because my portion sizes were reduced, I kept up my healthy editing habits, and most importantly kept up the exercise. I graduated college this spring, and my drinking has decreased significantly. I am currently at my lowest weight and feel great! Sometimes I regret not going all out in college in the dining hall and trying all the foods presented, but I probably wouldn’t be where I am today, the healthiest I’ve ever been!

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  76. Abbey says

    I am a freshman right now at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC and living in an off campus apartment until I can move onto campus at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in January for the spring semester. I have been really good about eating healthy since I have my own kitchen and fridge/freezer but I am nervous about moving onto campus and how I am going to be able to keep up my healthy eating. I am use to using my rice cooker to make my brown rice and cooking my whole wheat pasta, my chicken/shrimp, and other stuff on the stove so I am anxious about transiting from having a kitchen to being in a dorm setting.

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  77. Jordan says

    I am 21, still attending college, about to graduate! And live in an apartment now, here are some of my tips that I wish I had known or followed!
    -Don’t buy your own fruit! Take an extra banana, orange or whatever you want from the salad bar and have it later on. No use wasting money!
    -Take a workout class at school. It’s a grade so you have to go, and you get a workout in!
    -Hangout with friends that share your love for healthy food. It’s hard enough eating healthy without someone eating pizza infront of you.

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  78. Tammy says

    Great tips! I was just wondering if you could recommend any particular pre-packaged snacks that could be bought in the university convenient store. They have a pretty big selection of protein bars and snacks like that, but I am a little apprehensive about protein so I ususally stay away from those. They also have things like Luna bars, Cliff bars, and other similar snacks.

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  80. Jessica says

    I am currently in college and I think my biggest challenge with living a healthy lifestyle is mainly just disciplining myself. My schedule allows plenty of time to hit the gym on campus, and since I commute to school, I always pack healthy snacks/lunches. My best friend and I are both major gym rats ( so its easy to say that she is my motivation!). But unfortunately , I do have this mentality that I can eat whatever I want (since I went to the gym). And sometimes I just don’t care and I eat anyways. Lol. So … I am trying this whole idea of “portion control” so I can indulge in a smart way. Wish me luck !!

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  81. Rachel says

    I am a college freshman and found that it is definitely a challenge to eat healthy with a meal plan! As a freshman I am required to eat 15 of my meals in the Dining Center each week, and the all-you-can-eat style is so dangerous! I can tell that I already gained a bit of weight, and so am trying to crack down and be healthy. I stopped getting dessert from the dining center, saving it for special nights out, and am avoiding the greasy burgers, fries, and pizza.

    My biggest struggle is with food addiction and self-discipline! I know that it IS possible to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but you have to really want it! I’m still looking for those friends who want to eat healthy, modest portions like I do. Its hard but I know that it is worth it.

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