I have always been really into nutrition. When I was around 8, I became a vegetarian and didn’t look back for over twenty years. I am no longer a vegetarian and am more on the paleo spectrum, but by the time I went to university in New York City, I was pretty serious about eating well.
Eating well in the college setting isn’t always simple, though. College students aren’t always exactly in the best position to be thinking about what they’ll be eating all the time. Perhaps your college-aged kid couldn’t really care less what he eats. But if he does care, or if you can convince him to care, here are a few ideas that might make life easier for him. This is especially true if your college kid has a special need or a learning disability – these kids need especially good nutrition! Here are some tips for good eats for college kids.
If the school has a cafeteria with a grill station, he can start there when building a meal. Steaks are yummy and filling. Or he could try a burger – I would skip the bun. A burger pattie with a bunch of veggies and a salad with some avocado should provide an adequate pint of fat, protein and carbs. Other good option include any turkey or chicken that’s available, too. Just avoid meat that has been deep fried (junky oil most likely) or breaded.
Eggs are generally plentiful and cheap. A truly wonderful option for the college student. Omelettes can be loaded up with tons of veggies and detoxifying herbs like parsley and cilantro.
I’m less into beans and legumes, and even without the necessary soaking to remove the anti-nutrients in them, they may be a pain to prepare in the college setting. If they are a part of the cafeteria selection, I would skip it.
Veggies are next. Vegetables should be the biggest part of all of our diets, if you ask me. 😉 Trust me, I remember college cafeterias. You big college kid probably won’t find amazing, fresh vegetables cooked in only the best oils, but they should still be eaten. Same goes with fruit (in lesser quantities than veggies!). Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice and other starches are great sides.
And of course, there is the necessary fat. Avocados are great for this, they are a great and filling snack to have around. A small bottle of coconut oil is good to keep around, too. I like to pour it liberally on salads. Butter and olive oil are also great choices.
I’m all about quick meals. If I’m out and about, I’ve got hard boiled eggs, a can of tuna, mackerels or sardines, some beef jerky, fruit or some homemade trail mix in my bag. Heck, I still do this and I haven’t been a college student in a few years.
Depending on campus rules, cooking may be an option. A microwave or a slow cooker will make life much easier. Meals made from real foods are so much easier than your kid will believe. And, of course, much cheaper than eating out all the time.
Maybe the most important point to remember is that it’s just not going to be perfect. And that it’s going to be okay!
Are you interested in some quick college-campus appropriate recipes? How is your college kid doing at school? Does he have a special need that the school is working with?