If I prefaced this article by telling you that I was a quinoa-and-kale eating health nut before I moved away to school, all of my friends and family would call BS because that's totally untrue. But, as a current freshman, I can definitely attest to the fact that I engage in so much more unhealthy eating now than I did just a few months ago. 

Regardless of whether you live on or off campus, have a meal plan or go grocery shopping, it's a universal truth that no matter who you are, your health is likely going to deteriorate in college (even if only temporarily). Here's why. 


This one's pretty obvious. Not only do we have to make the adjustment from living with our parents to living on our own AND try to make friends with the thousands of strangers surrounding us at all times, but we're also simultaneously trying to figure out how this whole college thing works. If I had a dollar for every Rice Krispies treat I ate in my first month here, my tuition would be covered.

Dining Halls Tempt Unhealthy Eating

Most students opt to buy a meal plan before they move to school, which has its benefits. Stop at the dining hall around breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, and with one swipe you'll get access to a buffet that will undoubtedly have what you're craving. But, after a long, hard day, are you really going to choose that salad over the pasta? Or the roasted chicken over the pizza? And you think you'll ignore the cookies on the way out? Hmm. 

Grocery Shopping is Way Harder than You Thought It Would Be

For those who are like my roommate and I—trying to survive without a meal plan by spending way too much on groceries—you'll understand this struggle. Food is expensive! At home, we take our parents and their home-cooked meals for granted. Why should I buy the expensive healthy chips over the cheap ones that I know taste good? How do I know when I should buy name brand and when I should get the cheaper generic brand? How do I stop myself from buying so many snacks and buy ingredients for meals instead? These are the real questions.

Cooking "Actual Food" is Just Too Time-Consuming

Listen, I'd obviously prefer some broiled salmon cooked to perfection with roasted potatoes and a side salad over the ramen noodles that I make in my microwave every other day. But, the reality of the situation is that I don't have that kind of time. Sure, my dorm floor has a small kitchen that I'll occasionally cook a quick meal in, given that I'm not swamped with work. But if I'm going to finish this paper before 11:59 tonight, I think I'll just eat some Easy Mac or grab a bag of Chick-Fil-A instead. That's just how it is.

Being in a New City is Too Exciting to Not Indulge

For many of us, going off to college means learning a whole new city/town along with how to be truly independent for the first time. With this comes a lot of responsibility and stress but also tons of excitement! Being that I am currently still in the process of learning my new city and trying all of the famous local restaurants, I definitely treat myself more than I should when I go out to eat. But that's okay! A caesar salad is going to taste the same everywhere— get tonight's special instead.

Of course, there are some people who have the willpower to overcome these obstacles and still continue to live a healthy lifestyle in college. If you're one of those people who will choose vegetables for snacks, go for a run before class in the morning, cook healthy meals every night, and somehow avoid the infamous "freshman 15," kudos. Also, call me, because I think I need some tips.