Oh, kale yeah: Nutrition tips for college students | Opinion

As a college student one of my main concerns was gaining the dreaded and infamous “freshman 15.”

In addition, we know that a diet mixed with a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and complex carbohydrates helps your mind and body function better, but that can be hard to focus on when you have so many other things to prioritize.

I lived in Frazer Hall my freshman year and I used the dining hall often for lunch and dinner but over-snacking was the hardest part of maintaining my weight, especially if you are like me and don’t have the motivation to go to the gym.

Now that I am living in an apartment, which a good portion of students do as well, there are a lot more opportunities to make foods that are good for you due to having access to a full kitchen.

Even if you live on campus there are many healthy choices to choose from in the dining hall. At Dorrill Dining Hall there is a green-filled salad bar, a customizable sandwich station and a smoothie bar.

Also, at the Lankford Student Union there is Greens To-Go, which can now be used with a meal swap. But if you are tired of campus meals here are some things I would recommend:

Buying cookbooks can be extremely helpful in giving you new and exciting ideas for simple recipes. A personal favorite, “The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook” by Nicole Cormier gives you tons of ideas for easy recipes that anyone can follow. If you enjoy eating meat you can always substitute the grains for some chicken or just add it in to the recipe.

Another cookbook I would recommend to students is “Eat Well on $4/day Good and Cheap” by Leanne Brown which not only gives you out of the ordinary recipes, but tips and tricks from how to buy groceries cheaper, to a selection of  groceries you never regret buying.

Both of these books are great options but “The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook” is easier to follow and has simpler recipes than “Eat Well on $4/Day Good and Cheap."

On Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. rain or shine there is a weekly farmer’s market located right next to The Mill in downtown Farmville. The farmers market sells fresh local fruits and vegetables which are great for creating healthy meals.

But, for every day purchases Walmart is a great place to buy your groceries, especially because it is one of only two grocery stores in Farmville. The “rollbacks” really help you save money on every day food items. You can also look for deals at Food Lion and be sure to sign up for an MVP savings card at www.foodlion.com to get the best deals.

Some foods I recommended buying would be sweet potatoes (to make sweet potato fries), kale (to sauté), brown or wild rice (it is a good whole grain and carb to substitute for pasta) with a little soy sauce, and the Good Eats guacamole snack size cup, which is the perfect snack.

Even though these are simple foods you can spice them up with different dressings and spice combination that you can look up in either of the cookbooks I referenced.

Raw vegetables, such as carrots and celery go great with hummus and peanut butter. Durable fruit such as apples and grapes last a long time when they are refrigerated.

Not only are these foods easy to make and good for your body, but they are also delicious. The examples I have given are only a few ideas of how students can become healthy eaters at college.

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