Ryan’s guide to a good college diet
Survive any lecture with Ryan’s tips for healthy and filling foods!
Written by Ryan Mangan
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Having swung round a damp summer corner, September finally greets us with a fresh blaze of thrilling new college experiences. Before our eyes we witness social circles expand from clubs to societies, and the student nightlife casts cheerful glows along city skylines. New eras of red cups and kitchen stereos emerge, while student independence reigns and money parts ways with moderation. In the clash between the festive college lifestyle and the not-so-prosperous student budget, some things may have to give…in most cases, it won’t be the festivity. Give them the option between stocking up on some fruit and wholesome meals with their last few bob, and using it to fund their next night out on the town, a student is far more likely to go for the latter option.
However, students need to become more aware that proper, nutritious meals provide the essential tools for persevering through all the college madness. Falling down the path of booze before food and recreation before a full stomach can cause poor concentration, fatigue, and in the long run, may even result in dropping the bombshell at home about repeat fees. The easiest way of going about your college food plan, is by investing a slice of your budget on a big food shop for the week ahead. This way you’ll be tackling your food issues before you even have time to reconsider your options. Doing this can also be wise for your work/social life balance; you moderate your spending more when you have less money to bring a long way.
Stocking up on the fruit and veggies is only the start, but prepping meals isn’t anything to be afraid of. Here are some of my recipes that have carried me through college so far- all you’ll have to worry about is not letting your housemates get their filthy mitts all over them!
The pre-lecture blend
I love making this pair together since they’re made up of mostly the same ingredients, but with some small adjustments their colours and tastes vary massively. Also, as the name suggests, they offer a great kick before a morning lecture!
- ½ an avocado (omega-3, healthy fats)
- 1 plum, peeled and chopped (helps balance blood sugar levels)
- 1 orange (aids healthy digestion)
- ½ a mango, diced (eye health)
- 1 banana (contains slow-releasing sugars)
- 2 stalks of kale, washed and torn into smaller leaves (bone building, fights inflammation, hormone balancing)
- Aprx. 200ml of almond milk (high in energy, proteins, lipids and fibre)
- A few ice cubes
Mango and Plum:
All ingredients from the previous recipe, substituting the kale with ½ a carrot in peelings (aids digestion, promotes good eye health, powerful antioxidant).
- A blender
- A trendy travel cup to take and go (optional)
- Throw all ingredients into the blender, leaving the almond milk until last.
- Blend right through to a creamy consistency.
- Pour into a travel cup and enjoy the burst of life!
There’s nothing more embarrassing than bringing the road works into a lecture with you- and believe me, a rumbling stomach can sometimes sound like that. This one is a great snack to have between lectures to prevent that and it tastes absolutely awesome with multigrain Ryvita crackers!
- Chickpeas x2 tins (fibre)
- Olive oil (source of energy)
- Lemon (healthy digestion, detoxifying)
- Tahini/sesame seed paste (vitamin E, improves skin)
- Garlic (removes toxins, improves immune system)
- A blender
- A plastic container
- Empty both tins of chickpeas into a sieve, run water well through to prevent the build up of flatulence.
- Crush three cloves of garlic and chop up finely to help it disperse easier.
- Add the chickpeas and garlic into the blender, spritz the juice of two lemons into the mixture along with three tablespoons of tahini and a dash of olive oil.
- Blend well and add a little water to the mixture if you find it too thick before blending again.
- Pour into storage containers and freeze, or if planning to consume within days, store in the fridge.
- Enjoy the Mediterranean bliss!
The glass battery
I’m a huge fan of this one for its quick energy boost and super appealing look and taste!
- Asparagus (removes energy-draining toxins, strengthens immune system)
- Broccoli (promotes eye health)
- Chicken breast x2 (protein for growth and repair, vitamins, releases cellular energy)
- Olive oil (see previous recipe)
- Good4UNutrition Super Sprouts (antioxidants)
- A large Mason jar or lunchbox
- A medium sized pot
- Place broccoli florets and asparagus together into a pot; make sure they only take up about half of it.
- Preheat the oven at 180℃, place two chicken breasts side by side on a tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the insides are fully white and the skin is golden brown.
- Pour enough water into the pot to cover the veggies.
- Bring the water to the boil and leave for 10-15 minutes, depending on how tender you want your veggies.
- Drain the water and allow the veggies to cool for a few minutes.
- Dice up the chicken breasts.
- Add the veggies and diced chicken into a large Mason jar or lunchbox, layering with some Super Sprouts.
- Drizzle some olive oil onto the top and voila!
This recipe contains all the essentials for a midday pick-me-up. The high protein, high fibre and tasty low-calorie assortment is sure to set you back on track for the rest of the day.
- Feta cheese (protein, calcium)
- Carrot- (see first recipe)
- Quinoa (protein, heart health, antioxidants)
- Kale- (see first recipe)
- Cayenne pepper (anti- cold and flu agent)
- Chickpeas- (see above)
- Pumpkin seeds- (B vitamins, iron, protein)
- Olive oil (see above)
- A small sized pot
- A meal size plastic container
- Sieve water through a tin of (preferably organic) chickpeas.
- Place chickpeas onto a baking tray, drizzle on some olive oil and shake on a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
- Mix well and bake at 180℃, for 20 minutes.
- Wash two stalks of kale and break up into crisp-like sizes.
- Make sure the kale is well dry before baking with a drizzle of olive oil at 180℃ for 12 minutes.
- Add one part quinoa and two parts water to a small pot. Bring to the boil and mix in some pumpkin seeds.
- Wash a carrot and peel until you have a nice vibrant bunch of peelings.
- Cut up the feta cheese into some nice chunky slices.
- Add all foods into a nice portable tray for yourself and enjoy it with a nice mug of green tea (optional).
The green bee
Not only is this one of the most delicious ice-creams I’ve ever tasted, it contains the ideal nutrients to set you up for a study session and acts as a great stomach liner ahead of a night out on the town!
- Avocado x1.5 (see first recipe)
- Coconut milk x1 tin (brain energy, enhances metabolism, fights bacteria, viruses and fungi)
- Honey (vitamins C, D, E, K, heals wounds, antioxidants)
- Bee pollen (protein, fibre, iron zinc)
- Lime (detoxifying)
- A blender
- A bowl
- A whisk
- After leaving it in a fridge to harden overnight, open the tin of coconut milk and scoop out the upper, creamy layer into a bowl.
- Whisk the creamy coconut milk until it has a similar consistency to whipped cream.
- Carefully cut open two avocados, place one and a half into a blender, spritz with lime juice to prevent oxidising and blend into a purée.
- Add the avocado purée into the bowl containing the coconut milk and carefully fold it into the cream.
- Add three tablespoons of honey and whisk the mix together.
- Freeze for at least four hours.
- Before serving, sprinkle some bee pollen onto the ice-cream and enjoy the natural sweet flavours!
*All nutritional information taken from Neal’s Yard Remedies, a DK publication.