College students rarely have time to cook due to spending most of their time on studying, completing last-minute assignments (yes, I’m guilty of that too haha), tests and last-minute revision. Sometimes we spend so much time with our papers and books that we even skip meal times and end up binge eating later.
… As students, we rarely have time to cook due to our 100 % exam-oriented education system in Malaysia…
As students, we rarely have time to cook due to our 100 % exam-oriented education system in Malaysia. Because of that, we tend to eat at the campus cafeteria, cook unhealthy instant noodles and fried items such as prawn fritters or worse, eat out at junk food outlets. So what can we college students do to eat healthily on campus?
It’s actually simple enough. If you’re lucky, your campus hostel may allow students to bring a rice pot for cooking in the pantry (or even inside hostel rooms). Most campuses also have a mart selling groceries. Stock up on eggs, oats, low fat or skim milk powder and wholemeal bread. You can boil, half-boil or even scramble 2 eggs in the rice cooker and eat them with 2 slices of wholemeal bread for a perfect breakfast in the morning. You can also eat 4 egg whites or more with the yolk removed for a high protein, low cholesterol breakfast.
Oats & Fiber
With oats, you can choose to cook either savoury or sweet oatmeal for a heart healthy and filling breakfast because oats are high in fiber. For sweet oatmeal, you can cook it with low fat or skim milk or even chocolate milk. Try adding in some fresh or dried fruits for a fruity flavour. Or to save time, you can just stock up on high fiber cereals and have them with cold skim milk for breakfast.
You can also get creative with savoury oatmeal. Add in sliced chicken breast, dried fish (dried fish especially salted fish is high in sodium so be mindful of your portions) or eggs, some veggies, herbs and spices with a pinch of salt and pepper for flavour. It’s just like porridge, only savoury oatmeal is healthier and much more higher in fiber compared to conventional porridge.
…I usually just grab a glass and spoon from my college’s cafeteria and mix in my powdered chocolate milk with cold water for a quick snack on the go between classes…
You can also buy a large packet of powdered low fat milk or chocolate milk, store it in a small container and prepare a glass of milk as a snack wherever you are. I usually just grab a glass and spoon from my college’s cafeteria and mix in my powdered chocolate milk with cold water for a quick snack on the go between classes.
8 Healthy Diet Tips on Campus
However, if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have time to cook at all just like me, that’s okay then. I always eat at my college’s cafeteria for lunch and dinner anyway. Here’s what you can do for a healthier eating experience on campus:
- Bring your own plain water wherever you go so that you won’t need to order sweet drinks which are bad for your waistline.
- Don’t be afraid of rice. A fistful of rice is a healthy portion.
- Avoid fried and oily food. It’s usually better to avoid the gravy in the dishes.
- Fish is great for protein and healthy fats whereas chicken breast is low in saturated fat and high in protein. Don’t forget to remove the chicken’s skin before you eat it! Beef is high in saturated fat so eat it in moderation. Besides that, protein is more satiating than carbohydrates.
- Take a bowl of vegetables with your meal. Fiber helps to fill you up, making you feel satiated after a meal.
- Try to eat at least 4 or 5 times a day, and eat every 3 hours to keep that metabolism fired up. My powdered skim milk, chocolate milk, whey protein and my trusty shaker bottle are really handy when I’m pressed for time in between classes.
- When you order dishes while eating out, try ordering soups and stir-fried vegetables or even steamed chicken/fish. Remind the waiter to reduce the oil and salt. They are usually happy to oblige to your requests. My personal favourites are chicken soup and stir-fried water spinach.
- If you’re still hungry after your meal, drink a glass of plain water and wait 20 minutes. Your brain takes 20 minutes to register that feeling of fullness. However, if you’re still hungry even after 20 minutes, please feel free to buy another piece of chicken breast and/or a bowl of vegetables.
… Don’t be afraid of rice. A fistful of rice is a healthy portion …
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult. When there’s a will, there’s always a way no matter where you are. Good luck with healthy eating on campus!