Healthy Recipes: Tips for College Life – and Beyond

Posted: October 17, 2019 8:44:00 AM CDT

Healthy Recipes College EditionI think it is fair to say that most college students struggle, at one point or another, to provide proper nutrition for their body. If you are one of these people, don’t worry – you are not alone. The good news is that, with some work, diet can be a simple fix. An important step in changing dietary habits is to be committed and dedicated to a healthier lifestyle.

A study that was by Allom and Mullan (2014) was done to assist young adults in beginning (and maintaining) a healthy diet. The first enabler to healthy eating is self-control, also referred to as willpower and/or dedication. This is necessary in order to reach a long-term goal of a healthy lifestyle. The next enabler was success; meaning either losing or maintaining weight and/or sticking to a healthy diet and seeing or feeling the results. Experiencing such success is very encouraging, but those that gave into temptations of poor dieting saw no results. Remember that it takes time to see results, keep an optimistic attitude even if you do experience setbacks! The last thing to keep in mind when working to improve your diet is that healthy eating should be a lifestyle, not just a temporary fix. Practicing healthy eating throughout your life improves behavior and enables it to become a daily routine in your life.

Sometimes environmental factors can be a deciding factor when it comes to diet. The perfect example for students is stress or boredom leading to the temptations of unhealthy food. The best way to diminish this temptation is to remove unhealthy options and make healthier options more accessible – this applies to any situation you are in, but specifically in your home or dorm (Allom & Mullan, 2014). It is a common misconception that preparing healthy meals is time-consuming, and that is why so many people choose fast food. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few healthy snack and meal options (Rhodes, 2019):

  • A few great snacks for in between classes and meals:
    • Reduced-fat cheese sticks or cubes; Low-fat or Greek yogurt
    • Whole-grain crackers
    • Baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced bell pepper, broccoli
      • 2 Tbsp. of salad dressing optional
      • 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter optional
      • ¼ cup of hummus optional
    • Apples, grapes, bananas, oranges/clementines, berries
      • Both fresh and dried are good options!
    • Trail mix, nuts, seeds, energy bars, popcorn
    • Protein/Energy Balls (there are lots of great recipes out there!)
  • Meals: Some of these require the use of a kitchen – the kitchenettes offered in each hall are perfect to prepare these meals! If you are a student that eats in the cafeteria, it is up to you to simply choose wholesome foods and to not over-eat:
    • Breakfast (do not skip breakfast!!)
      • Low-fat yogurt with granola and berries or banana – perfect for on-the-go
      • Oatmeal…Overnight Oats are tasty & perfect for rushed mornings – you pick your toppings
      • Peanut butter-banana on an English muffin or whole grain toast (a sprinkle of honey or cinnamon gives this combo the perfect flavor)
      • Scrambled eggs, with your choice of veggies, meat, and cheese – a great, wholesome breakfast 
    • Lunch
      • Turkey Avocado Wrap – whole-wheat tortilla, turkey slices, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, and Dijon mustard
      • Classic Chicken Chef Salad – hard boiled eggs, cherry tomato, onion, avocado, bacon, salad dressing
      • Chicken Fried Rice – rice, peas, carrots, garlic, egg, soy sauce…makes good leftovers as well
    • Supper
      • Chicken Fajitas with corn tortillas – peppers, onions, mushrooms, and chicken with some fajita seasoning…rice and beans make the perfect side
      • Stir-Fry – a bag of frozen veggies, your choice of meat, rice, and soy sauce
      • Whole Wheat Pasta – marinara sauce, Italian spices, (chicken and veggies if desired)
      • Burrito Bowl – rice, black beans, choice of meat, cheese, veggies, sour cream…you know how it goes
    • Dessert – Healthy eating doesn’t mean dessert has to go!
      • Brownies: there are lots of amazing recipes for “healthier” brownies – garbanzo beans, black beans, zucchini, etc. (you’d be surprised at how delicious they are)
      • No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies from EatingWell
      • Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats from Fit Foodie Finds
      • Dark Chocolate Banana Bites from CountryLiving



Allom, V. & Mullan, B. (2014). Maintaining healthy eating behavior: Experiences and perceptions of young adults. Nutrition and Food Science, 44(2), 156-167. doi: 10.1108/NFS-06-2013-0077

Eating Well. (n.d.) Easy, cheap & healthy college meals. Retrieved from
Lee, S. (2019, July 18). 25 insanely healthy college meals you can make in a dorm. Retrieved from

Lehman, S. (2019, June 25). Hey college kids, here's how to eat healthy away from home. Retrieved from

Tamara, R. (2019, August 9). Your cheat sheet to healthy dorm room snacking. Retrieved from

By: Health Education

Category: General, Health Education

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