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33 Healthy Eating Habits Lazy College Students Will Appreciate

Spoiler: Mac and cheese and ramen are involved.

Jenny Chang / Via BuzzFeed

In the land of dining halls, all nighters, and free pizza, it can seem almost impossible to eat healthy while in college.

Yes, campus life is crazy and stressful and ridiculous, but that doesn't mean you can just eat whatever you want. Plus, this can actually be a great time to start eating healthier foods if you don't already.

So we asked nutrition experts and members of the BuzzFeed Community for tips on eating well when you have a college schedule, budget, and lifestyle.

1. Eating healthfully does not have to mean dieting.

"My biggest advice is to not start dieting when you get to college," Ryan Andrews, R.D., Coach at Precision Nutrition in Toronto, Canada, told BuzzFeed Life. At least, not on your own. That's because without the proper supervision of a nutritionist you may end up adopting unhealthy eating habits, body image issues, or other health problems.

However, if you are interested in losing weight, gaining weight, or changing your body composition, make sure to check in with a doctor and nutritionist first so that they can help you set realistic goals and offer support and guidance along the way.

2. Focus on adding whole nutritious foods instead of restricting the "bad" ones.

NBC / Via

Instead of thinking about what you shouldn't eat, think about what you should eat. "It's best to take a whole food approach and focus on adding fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and good fats," says Andrews. "You should still eat as little processed foods as possible, but with a whole food approach you don't have to worry as much about calories and extra bad stuff because you're hitting all the nutritious food groups and getting the vitamins and minerals you need."

3. And choose healthy foods that you actually love to eat. (They exist.)

4. Don't let your class schedule dictate your meals.

5. Stock your dorm with all of the snacks that aren't junk food.

NBC / Via

"The two years I lived in dorms I would stock up on apples, baby carrots, cans of vegetable soup, oatmeal packets, things like that and just keep them by my desk." — Emily Anne Hart, Facebook

6. Always keep an emergency granola bar in your backpack for when you're hangry.

7. Sneak protein into every meal or snack to stay fuller longer.

8. Beans and rice are a perfectly acceptable, cheap, and nutritious meal.

Dina Cheney, "Mug Meals" / Via

"Beans and whole grains are often forgotten but they're super important because they're full of fiber, protein, and they're satisfying," Andrews says. "You can do Mexican beans and rice, lentil soups, chickpeas from the salad bar — even tofu and tempeh because they're soybean-based."

9. Fill half your plate with your favorite salad or veggies first.

10. Build tasty and nutritious salads you actually look forward to eating.

"It's a waste to eat food that you don't like," says Paul. Whether you're at home or the dining hall, top a bed of leafy greens with your favorite raw veggies, meat, beans, and cheese — just remember to keep everything in moderation.

"You should still stick to protein sources without a lot of added cream, like grilled chicken or plain tuna, and choose clear salad dressings that are oil and vinegar based." Paul says to avoid falling in the trap of using "low-fat" or "fat-free" dressings because they often have a ton of added sugar, and the good fats in olive oil help keep you satiated.

11. Use your fist as a portion-size guide for protein, whole grains, fruits, and fats.

"Aim for roughly a palm of protein, a big handful of veggies, a fist of whole grains," says Andrews.

Here's a great resource with more helpful photos.

12. Don't hang around the dining hall too long after you're done eating.

13. ...And leave with all the pieces of fruit and vegetables you can fit in your backpack.

14. If your dining hall doesn't have good healthy options, or you have a food allergy, make a special request.

15. Try not to drink your calories.

16. Bring your favorite reusable water bottle with you everywhere.

17. When you're buying your go-to packaged or frozen foods, opt for the healthier or less processed version.

18. Always have a jar of natural peanut butter around for quick protein.

19. Pick a cereal with whole grains and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

20. Or try overnight oats packed with fruit in your mini-fridge.

"Overnight oats and chia seed puddings! Best breakfasts and easy to make before bed. The topping choices are almost endless." —Diana Ghidanac, Facebook

Find more recipe ideas here.

21. If you worry about buying produce that will go bad, keep bags of frozen fruits and veggies instead.

22. And try to add those veggies to basically everything.

23. Make lightning fast stir-fries and rice bowls in the microwave.

Lisa / Via

"My lazy go to-is frozen stir fry veg mix + peanut butter + chilli sauce. Zap it in the microwave and stir then BAM = satay vegetables! Add coriander to season or sesame seeds if you're feeling fancy." —Kirsten Garcia, Facebook

Find the full fried rice in a mug recipe here.

24. Upgrade your beloved packages of ramen with spices, fresh veggies, and protein.

Molly Reilly / Via

"Ramen is amazingly versatile (and you don't need to use the flavor package — or you can only use half). If you can get grilled chicken (or other meat) from the dining hall, you can add that to the ramen, as well as veggies that boil well, and any dairy that melds well with the flavors can typically be stirred after microwaving." — Becca Sager, Facebook

Find more healthy ramen recipes here.

25. Invest in so much tupperware.

"When I make dinner, I make extra and immediately pack it in containers for lunch and/or dinner the next day. It saves so much time the next day and it keeps me from eating the whole pot of rice (or whatever I'm making)." — luannaime

26. Buy nutritious, whole grains like brown rice or quinoa in bulk so you can cook as much or as little you need.

"Quinoa. It's versatile, cheap, and it doubles when you cook it. Just don't buy it in a box/bag. Those are almost always overpriced. Get it in the bulk section, and then you can make only what you need." —writergirl1029

Find out how to make it in the microwave here.

27. Try to pack a lunch as often as you can.

28. Cook one giant meal on Sundays, like a casserole or lentil soup, and freeze separate portions for a week's worth of dinner.

29. Or boil a dozen eggs.

Greatist / Via

"Hard boiling a dozen eggs on Sunday is so easy," says Paul. "Then you have a filling whole food and big protein source to quickly eat for breakfast or take with you as a snack." Eggs are also cheap and you can boil them exactly to your yolk-softness preference.

30. Pre-portion big bags of snacks into individual baggies.

"Buy a bag of anything — pretzels, nuts, even chips — and immediately look at the serving size and pre-portion the snack into baggies," says Paul. Not only does this prevent you from eating half a box of Wheat Thins in one sitting, but your snacks don't go stale as quickly and they're portable, so you can grab one and go in the morning.

31. Brew your own coffee or tea and take it in a to-go mug.

"Every morning, I would brew myself hot or iced black or green tea and have it in a large tumbler to keep me energized during a whole day of classes. It was a better option than getting sugary drinks at Starbucks. Plus, I saved a lot of money!"

— Patricia Isabel, Facebook

Find an easy iced coffee recipe here and check out this Etsy shop for more unique travel mugs.

32. Eat something before you go to an event with free pizza or sweets so you don't overindulge.

HIT Entertainment / Via

"ALWAYS say no to free pizza." — Sara Mikovic, Facebook

...OR just don't go on an empty stomach, so you only end up eating one slice instead of three, because it's still free food and the college struggle is real.

33. Don't beat yourself up if you slip, especially during finals.

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