Finally, you've made it to your upperclassman years where you get the privilege of choosing to stay on the meal plan or buying your own groceries. If you're like me and want some good quality food and control over what you're eating, but also don't want to spend a whole lot, then you may be in a bit of a conundrum when it's time to hit the store. But don't worry. You just have to be strategic!
Buying your own groceries can be fun and empowering, you get the bonus of being able to know exactly where your food came from, and you don't have to take huge chunks of time out of your schedule to hike over to the dining hall.
Nature, as nature intended, is best for your health.
That means not only buying food that is good for our bodies, but good for the planet. They really go hand-in-hand. The best thing you can do is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit processed foods, and know how your food was produced.
I use the Cornucopia Institute, a leader in environmental protection and organic research, who has some very helpful suggestions for meat, dairy and eggs, and take their scorecards with me on shopping ventures.
Good rule of thumb: If you are unsure of a brand, go for the organic brand closest to your home.
When buying fruits and veggies, beware of expiration dates. There's no sense in buying a bunch of food that will go bad more quickly than you have a chance to eat it (unless you want to freeze it before it goes off and then add to frozen smoothies!)
7 Tips for Success:
1. Drink Water. Use a reusable water bottle and fill it up at water fountains on campus, or with your filtered water you keep in your fridge.
2. Exercise. You hear it all the time, but that's because it really works. Anytime you're feeling down, overwhelmed, or just want to escape the books go for a run, or try a new exercise. Lately I've been in love with Hot Yoga, it's a miracle worker on body, mind and soul. Check out local gyms and even on-campus recreational centers. They have discounts for college students and you can sign up for the semester so you'll stick to a routine.
3. Get out of your room. It's very easy to stay cooped up in your dorm, but not only is it harder to get work done in the same place you sleep, but it's just not healthy to be sitting inside all day. Go for a walk, meet up with friends, study in the library. All of these tips will help you to clear your mind, relax, and get more out of your college experience.
4. Feeling constantly tired? Talk to your doctor about trying an elimination diet -- that's how I found out I am intolerant to gluten.
5. Drink Organic, Fair Trade Coffee if you're a coffee drinker. Just as you've seen from above with fruits and veggies, coffee is full of pesticides that can be harmful for your health. It's best to prevent consuming pesticides in all aspects of your life. I've found that I don't need as much now that I'm gluten-free, I used to drink 4 cups a day! But, we all know how tiring being a college student can be so when drinking coffee, go pesticide free.
6. Avoid processed foods at all costs. That means, if it comes from a box, bag, or bottle only consume if it has five ingredients or less and you can pronounce them all! Try this 10 day challenge
7. Freeze extra fruits, veggies, and breads. Unlike those overly processed fries I hope you're not eating, real food HAS an expiration date. Save yourself a couple bucks and freeze extras. It's going to save you time, waste, and money in the long run.
I hope these tips will help you have a happier, healthier college experience.
About the author: Trish is currently a Senior at Fairfield University majoring in Communications and French. As an Ambassador for the Food Revolution, organic gardener, and blogger, she is very passionate about cooking and health and hopes to enrich the lives of others with her nutritional advice and recipes. You can check out her food blog and cooking show "Nutrishus."
For more information on stocking your fridge, what to look for when buying fruit and vegetables and how to know you are getting the best you can go to Trish's website www.nutrishus.wordpress.com