My tips for healthier eating and exercising in college

These tips can help you save money and time while also staying healthy

Written by Roisin McManus


I always find that September is a great month to start off on a new slate. Whether you’re back to college or school, the beginning of a new academic year often motivates people to try something new, drop bad habits or set new goals for themselves. A common goals that some people aim for year after year is to become a healthier person by eating better food and getting more exercise.

For college students, however, eating healthily and working out can cost a pretty penny, which most of us don’t have. It’s important for students to eat healthy not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. I’m sure we’re all too familiar with the sugar rush and eventual crash of eating a full bag of sweets in the library while studying; it’s just not sustainable. Anyone who has ever been a student knows how tight money is in college between paying for rent, transport, social activities and buying course materials. Extra spending can be a huge strain on students, so it’s understandable that things like gym memberships tend to be forgotten about after time.

Based on my time in college, here are some of my tips for eating healthily in college on a low budget. I hope that my advice will help some of you out there who know the struggle.

Shopping and cooking in bulk

Buying in bulk can be much cheaper so when I buy food for college, I try to do a big monthly shop with all the different bits I might need in a month. Before heading to the shop, I think of a few different meals that I know how to make and then get enough ingredients to last me the month. I always buy some vegetables that I can easily add into any meals to make them healthier.

Another tip which is handy is to batch cook your meals for the week as it saves you cooking every evening and at least when you’ve the meal already prepared, it’s easier to avoid getting a takeaway instead of heating up you pre-prepared dinner.

Freeze what you can, if you can

If you have a freezer, it can help to pick up some vegetables or meat that will keep in the freezer for a few weeks too. That helps to ensure you have a good variety of food to use during the month. Freezing the portions from your batch cooking is a great way to make them last longer. 

Prepare your snacks and lunch in advance

Included in my shop, I also get snacks to bring with me into college to keep me going, like breakfast bars. It can also be helpful to make pasta or something similar to bring in for lunch in college. Not only is this healthier than buying chocolate or crisps in the shop whenever I’m hungry, it also saves me money in the long run.

Exercise that doesn’t cost money

Gym memberships can be expensive so isn’t always an option for college students. But there are plenty of other ways to get exercise. Running is free and an easy way to start exercising. Going for a run with a friend can help keep you both motivated and make it a fun experience.

There are plenty of sports clubs and societies in college that you can join to get exercise. Some are more intense and sporty than others so do a bit a research on them and see which ones suits you.

And there you have it, my tips for staying healthy on a low budget. Finding a form of exercise that works for your can help to clear your head after a day in school or college. I think that when you take a minute to think about what you can cook that’s not too difficult or time-consuming, it pays dividends in the long term.

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