Ah yes, college. Your first step into adulthood.

It’s a new and exciting time for everyone. It is also a time where many aspects of your life begin to change, including what you eat.

You always hear that college is, “a time to experiment”, which can be true and also including food. Being on your own gives you the opportunity to ditch old habits and try new things as you journey down your path towards adulthood. 

No More Lunchboxes 

candy, chocolate, chips, milk, sweet, goody
Jennifer Cao

In college, you no longer have your parents to rely on for making your meals, packing your lunches, and buying your snacks. It’s all up to you now. 

For the most part, you probably had a fairly balanced diet growing up because you had someone who was making your meals for you and maybe encouraging you to be healthy.

We've all had to force-feed ourselves fruits and vegetables in order to avoid our parents’ wrath. In college that all changes, now you have the reins on whether or not you want to eat your brussels sprouts.

When living away from home you obtain new-found freedom when it comes to your diet. You have dining halls, coffee shops, and on and off-campus dining at your expense. And the best part, your parents aren’t there to control what you eat.

You have the freedom to eat ice cream for breakfast, a roll of cookie dough for lunch, or whatever else your heart desires. There are times when all you want is pizza and Insomnia cookies at 2 am - nothing’s stopping you from getting that.

Even though having this new freedom over your diet can be pretty cool but, it can also lead to consequences.

Avoiding the Stigma

beer, coffee, tea, pizza
Meghan Flynn

When thinking about college, everyone knows the haunting tale of the, “Freshman 15”.  It’s that little bit of weight that you put on your freshman year of college because your diet consists mainly of late night french fries and pizza for a semester.

A lot of times, students gain weight their freshman year because they simply don’t know how to control their diet or properly nourish their bodies with the foods they need.

With all the fun that comes with choosing what to put in your body it is important to know how to balance your diet.

There are a lot of options available so that you can stay fairly healthy. Even though it may seem desirable to live off of pizza rolls and ramen, it’s important to shake up your diet so that you can maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Most college dining halls have buffets, markets, and salad bars that offer a large variety of food options so that you have unlimited choices and never get bored.

The great thing about buffet-style dining is that they usually offer a little bit of everything. This can come pretty close to a home-cooked meal, especially when it is much needed.

As much as it may kill you, it is important to try to get in those servings of fruits and veggies, so make sure you add those onto your plate every now and then. Even if your salad it 90% dressing and toppings, and 10% salad, that still counts.

Stop Being Picky, Time to Grow Up

Cooking, Healthy, homemade, broccoli, Sauteed, mushrooms, soy sauce, College, college cooking, dorm
Amy Dong

If you are a picky eater, it's very important to try new things and diversify your pallet. You’re an adult now and it’s time to start eating like one. 

It may seem safe and easy to stick to your comfort foods, but eventually that’s going to get old. Eating the same thing every day can not only get boring, but you end up limiting yourself and missing out on all the delicious food that your campus has to offer

If your dining hall is serving foods that use words or ingredients you've never heard of, try them before you judge because you might end up liking it. You should also check out the off-campus dining options near you. It can be nice to eat out and try new places every once in a while.

If you get a jumpstart on trying new things and taking control of your diet, it will make adulthood that much easier later in life.

You Can Do It!

pizza, cake, beer, girl, climbing, Rock Climbing, gym, wall, chalk, exercise, workout, lifestyle, Athlete, fitness, Health
Caroline Ingalls

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional ramen and Lucky Charms for dinner, or 3 a.m. batch of Insomnia cookies for a snack, but make sure that you’re keeping your diet in check and under control.

It can be tempting to go wild and eat whatever you want, but once you get into that cycle it can be extremely hard to get out of it. If you gain a little bit of weight, don’t freak out or hate on yourself. Just try to adjust your diet a little so that you’re eating the proper foods that your body needs.

Even if you take baby steps by simply adding an apple here or there and a serving of green beans, something is better than nothing.

Don’t think of it as eating healthy because you have to, think of it as eating like an adult.

Take advantage of your dining options, try to keep your diet balanced, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Your future self and spring break body will thank you later.