Healthy Living Tips for College Students

It can often be difficult for college students to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Hectic class and social schedules, combined with limited financial resources, often prevent students from eating right and getting the proper amount of exercise. Fortunately, there are easy and inexpensive options for students who want to stay healthy.

Eating right on a budget

Many days it can seem quicker, easier and maybe cheaper to eat fast food or other junk food rather than preparing a healthy, home cooked meal. This doesn’t have to be the case, and altering that mindset can go a long way to improving health.

*Make a schedule – Preparing even a tentative plan for the week’s meals can help a great deal. When time is short, having an idea of what will be cooked will eliminate the urge to simply go out for something. It can also help when it comes time to shop for groceries.

*Budget for shopping – Once the weekly plan is in place, make a list of ingredients that will be needed to prepare the meals. Check the flyers from local markets for deals and try to match them to what is needed. Buy ingredients that can serve a dual purpose. For example, look for vegetables that can be used on a sandwich as well as part of an entrée. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be more inexpensive than the fresh versions but contain the same nutrients and last longer.

*Cook extra – Making more than is needed at dinner will provide leftovers that can either be eaten at lunch in the next couple of days or used creatively as part of another meal. In some cases, it can be frozen for a future meal.

Exercising on a budget

Eating right is only half the battle. Exercising can improve health, make people feel better and increase concentration. Time and money do not need to be impediments.

*Walk or bike – Whenever possible, walk or bike to class rather than drive. Students who commute can park off campus or as far as possible from class and then walk.

*Play a sport – Grab several friends and join an intramural sports league offered through the college. These are usually free. Practices can also be scheduled around each other’s classes. This not only helps provide some exercise, but also gives friends a reason to enjoy some time together.

*Use the facilities – Many colleges have a recreation center available to students. Admission is often free for those students because they pay for it through tuition. These centers normally have gym equipment and sports courts.

Busy schedules and lack of funds may be the most common obstacles to good health for college students, but planning and creativity can help overcome these. Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The benefits of making these changes will lead to a better life and help avoid problems in the future.

Jennifer Lewis writes for a site that helps minority female students get financial aid, including scholarships for Latino women and grants for black women in college.