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For most students, the first month at college is all about newfound independence. Students have the choice to Netflix and Chill all day, skip every single class, or only consume the unlimited soft serve cones in the dining hall.
Those choices are not recommended — besides perfecting your ice cream cone making skills of course.
College life is more than getting straight A’s. It is about taking responsibility for your health and maintaining it. I hope you choose to make health and wellness a priority — here are 10 easy and cheap tips to get you on your way.
Let’s start at the cafeteria.
1. I only have one rule: The one plate rule. (I know, I am so creative.) My methodology is genius – you first need to fill 2/3s of your plate with veggies and protein. Your leftover room is for that deep dish pizza or a scoop of the three cheese pasta. You can only take enough to fill the rest of your plate. Please don’t cheat and overlap food, and remember, this is your only plate. Also, here are some save money.
2. The salad bar is your best friend, even if you hate salads. I am not asking you to become a “farmer” or “a rabbit”, as my roommates refer to salad eaters, I am only asking you to repurpose the pre-chopped veggies. Grab the “to go” container and fill up on your favorite veggies.
3. The breakfast omelette – keep a dozen eggs (~$3) in your refrigerator. Scramble the eggs, throw in your pre-chopped veggies from the salad bar, cover, and microwave for 1-2 minutes.
4. Lo Mein – keep Cup of Noodles in stock (<$1). Remove the flavor packs, add water. Place the noodles, veggies, and add soy sauce, cover, and put in the microwave until veggies are steamed. If you want to get fancier, mix soy sauce, peanut butter, and honey, to make a mock Pad Thai sauce.
5. Skip the ice cream and endless dessert in the cafeteria. Buy a bag of popcorn kernels and brown paper bags, scoop in a handful of kernels, and close the bag. Place it in a microwave until popped, and dress with salt. Resist the freshman fifteen with a healthy, cheap snack.
Bonus tip: get the basic meal plan – with the basic meal plan you can save money and invest in your wellness. You’ll find that all of the healthy food options are included in many basic plans and that the larger plans will sometimes include campus store credits that have unhealthy snacks.
Now, let’s move on to fitness.
7. Run Outside – going for a jog is always free!
8. On those days a run is unrealistic, go on a walk with your friends. Find a 1-2 mile loop that only takes 15-30 minutes, and make Sundays and Tuesdays your go-to days to walk. You get a break from technology, hitting the books, and you can catch up with your best friends.
Finally, if you made it to the ripe age of 21, cheers!
9. Drink responsively. If I can’t convince you to drink non-hard alcohol, fill your red solo cup with ice, your preferred hard alcohol, WATER, and throw in some Mio flavor. It is healthier than filling your body with excess sugar and your body will thank you in the morning.
10. When you get home from a night involving alcohol, please drink at least one glass of water. Better yet, keep a bottle of water next to your bed, so you can’t forget. Water is free and will increase productivity the next day as you’re starting that paper you forgot to write.
Take care of yourself. You have a long life to live and it all starts with your health.