If you’re a freshman at college this year or one of your kids has just left for their first year, you know that it can be a struggle to make healthy, nutritious meals every day of the week. Here are a few tips to help students balance their hectic study schedules while still enjoying healthy and delicious meals.

Your first year at college is one of the most exciting periods in your life. There are so many different things to experience and learn, and a lot of fun to be had while enjoying your first taste of freedom. Of course, students tend to spend most of their time either in class or studying in their room, which leaves little time for socializing with friends – and even less time for cooking fresh meals.

friends enjoying aurora bites on a patio

While memes abound of the “typical” college diet full of leftover pizza, coffee, and takeout, the real picture of the college diet is changing as students embrace healthy eating to improve focus and academic performance.

More young adults are discovering their inner chef than in previous years, and they’re enjoying the benefits of a balanced diet full of whole foods and fresh vegetables. These are the best foods to help you focus when you’re studying for the next exam.

Even though most college students want to cook healthy meals every night of the week, they struggle to find the time. By planning meals and grocery trips in advance, keeping a list of healthy recipes nearby, and focussing on simple, nutritious, and fresh ingredients, you can enjoy the healthy college lifestyle you want. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Meal Planning Tips

grocery cart full of fresh produce

If you’re living in a new town, you’ll want to get to know the different supermarkets in the area. Look for a good variety of fresh products available around the perimeter of the store. Look carefully to get a good idea of the quality and freshness of the products available.

When looking for fresh produce, you’ll want to seek out vegetables that are in season or greenhouse grown. Greenhouse vegetables are always in-season because they are grown in a controlled environment 365 days a year, even in winter, so the quality is consistent and reliable.

Once you’ve found the grocery store you’ll shop at most frequently, make a mental note of the layout. You can even draw a map if it helps – it will be helpful when it comes time to making your grocery list.

adding tomatoes to a pot

Before you can write out all the ingredients you need to buy, you first need to make a list of meals. You probably won’t have time to shop more than once a week – and you probably don’t have room for that much food in your pantry or fridge – so start by planning enough meals for the week. If you’re trying to start healthy habits while at school, that means three square meals per day.

Luckily, Pure Flavor® has over 450 recipes (and counting) you can make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto-friendly and low-carb options.

When choosing recipes for the week, think carefully about your class and work schedule. For busy nights, plan simpler meals. Once a week, try to take a night off of work and enjoy a full meal that allows you to experiment a bit and develop your cooking skills.

With your recipes picked out, all that’s left is to make your grocery list and go shopping. Write your list with the store layout in mind so you don’t have to race back and forth for each item – this is where a simple map can help out during those first few weeks.

plate of vegan vegetable primavera

Quick & Easy Healthy Recipes for College Students

Teriyaki Chicken Skillet
This one pan, Teriyaki Chicken Skillet is a fast, flavorful weeknight meal.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
If you’re looking for a fun and easy pasta salad this one is packed with fresh veggies and a tangy vinaigrette.

Vegan Vegetable Primavera
Simply delicious and ready in twenty minutes!

Bell Pepper Tacos
Try something unique and flavorful this Taco Tuesday with fresh greenhouse grown Bell Peppers.

Veggie Quinoa Bowl
Full of fresh flavor, these Veggie Quinoa Bowls are great for lunch or a light dinner.

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