Wednesday, August 29, 2012

College Food Survival Tips: No More 15 if You're Eating Clean

As our beloved intern Joanna leaves us for Mass General we asked for her help with our Foodtrainees heading off or back to college.
Eating healthy and sticking to your Foodtraining can be tough in college.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  I often found myself snacking on chips and even finishing boxes of cereal convincing myself they would help me through all-nighters.  College students are always looking for something easy, fast, and convenient. Who wants to spend time thinking about what to cook when you have hours of studying (or partying) ahead of you?
Having recent first hand experience, I helped Lauren and Carolyn compile the

Top 5 Nutrition Mistakes College (and some grads) Students Make

Late for Class, Breakfast Skippage
Most college students would choose sleep over breakfast. Plus, there are no parents lecturing reminding you eating is important.  Skipping breakfast leads to overeating later so even if it’s 11am, have something. Vigilant Eats Superfoods Cereal is high in fiber and protein to keep you full through those morning classes.  All you need to do is add hot or cold water. This is the perfect on-the-go or sit-in classroom breakfast it even comes with a spoon. If utensils are too much effort, try Orgain ready to drink shakes or Zing bars. Starbucks has Kind bars, as long as you steer clear of the “yogurt” or chocolate flavors they are fine and we know you will not skip your coffee.

Study Snacks
Most snacks are brimming with carbs, carbs tend to make you sleepy. Why then do we think snacks help us stay awake? If a snack is on hand every time you study then, for the sake of your weight, we hope you’re not the studious type. If it’s been over four hours since your last meal, strategic school snacks are blueberries or sunflower seeds. Anthocyanins in blueberries as well as thiamin in sunflower seeds can improve memory and cognition.

Energy Drinks
On the flipside of snackiness is forgetting to eat. It’s easy to forget when you’re pounding Red Bull or any of its equally unhealthy counterparts. Foodtrainers' college students swear by Brain On a supplement for attention and alertness that seems to work magic even if you’re coming off a rough night out. And if you’re looking for an energy drink, we suggest something all natural such as EBoost.

Late Night Bites (or Binges)
It’s 2 or 3am, you’ve been out partying and pizza seems like the obvious nightcap. For any of you reading this and telling yourself that will not be you, feel free to #TIDEI (tweet it don’t eat it) to us afterhours and we’ll be super impressed. Waking up bloated and hungover with a vague recollection of eating something greasy is a harsh reality check. Have a designated late night bite. Pick 1 thing:  popcorn, kale chips or crackers and hummus and have it waiting for you. Be prepared, those nights will happen much to your parents’ chagrin.

Dorm Potato
Perhaps your school has a sprawling campus or maybe buildings are in a more urban setting. Whatever the case may be, you’ll most likely find yourself walking to class. Though it may seem like you’re doing a lot, this isn’t exercise. Your daily walking may burn off your fro-yo (which could be college mistake #6) or a drink. So you need to exercise. There are great workout DVDs from Physique57 or Tracy Anderson and websites such as Yoga Download but we love the FitKit Dorm. Whether it’s in-room exercise or gym-based try to get into a workout routine within 2 weeks of getting to school. Exercise is one of the best things for physical and mental health and is a really good way to meet cute guys. Just sayin.

We've put together a College Survival Bundle that can be shipped to campuses nationwide.

What were your biggest food mistakes in college? Did you gain weight? Please share your lowest college dietary moment.


  1. I didn't gain an ounce in college, mostly because I had no interest in eating back then. How I wish I could turn back the clock...

  2. I went to college still in the mindset of a high school athlete as far as eating went, but completely stopped exercising. I gained 15 pounds FAST. After my first semester I realized that I couldn't eat whatever I wanted anymore, and that I needed to learn how to work out without a sports team around me. I also learned that late night party food was NOT the best choice (Papa Johns, Taco Bell, Pizza Shuttle ---gross!)

  3. Part of me is envious but I'm also sad because you missed some fun if you weren't calling for delivery at dawn.You're a dietary enigma Ms Ameena. That's why you're so skinny.

  4. Alysa, you bring up such a good one. I feel high school athletes often flounder without the "team" structure. Funny how so many of us who are healthy now at the same things so many did back then.

  5. My biggest food mistake in college was too much caffeine! I'm also horrified of the amount of sweet & lo I used to put in my coffee. I won't go near that stuff anymore—way too sweet! I actually lost weight my first semester because the dining hall food was, well, terrible. I'm sure the lack of sleep and walking all over Boston when I was used to driving places also contributed, because I certainly was not a stranger to takeout. Or—who are we kidding—beer.

  6. Jess I can relate to much of what you've said. College/abroad I hate cafeteria food so much that I tend to lose weight despite that other "stuff"

  7. Hi. I know a few people in college who practice "Intermittent fasting". They are fairly active people and tell me it's the best they've done for their bodies. Any thoughts of it?

  8. I was 27 when I went to school full-time, so I didn't gain anything. Actually, I lost a lot of weight.

  9. I too didn't gain any weight in college. Not because of my stellar eating habits, but because I ran on the track club my first year, and continued to run regularly after that. Sadly, college was when I went through my "fat-free" eating phase. I thought I could eat anything I wanted as long as it was at free. Never mind all the added sugars and junk/fillers I was consuming... Good thing we keep learning even after college :-)

  10. Who knew you were a track person. Oy fat free, been there. In terms of food seems we both did our learning "post grad".

  11. I could give many reasons why we should go to college later than 18, food the least of it.

  12. I think fasting, particularly for college aged, is a dicey proposition.

  13. Great tips!! I need to look into this "Brain On".....sounds like something I could use now, even outside of college.
    My lowest college dietary moment was just about all of my moments, because I was still suffering from an eating disorder. Thankfully, as I was learning about dietetics those four years, I slowly got better because I learned JUST HOW important healthy and wholesome food actually is!

  14. I think college is a dicey time for taking care of yourself, for being on your own. I'm glad you've come so far since college Gina.

  15. A lot of these same ideas I used to prevent gaining any weight my first year; having berries and seeds/nuts is a good idea to keep in your room! Thanks