A lot changes throughout your college years: your fashion style, your willingness to run to class when you're late, and of course, your diet. Food is what fuels everyone and helps pull them through those late night study sessions, so it's a pretty critical part of college. But what I ate senior year of college was a long shot from my freshman year diet. 

Through snacking in my dorm room, to living off of Red Bull during finals week, to learning how to cook for myself, change has been the only constant in my eating habits through college. Every single year had its own unique food struggles.  

Freshman Year

Every college freshman starts off the year determined not to gain the dreaded Freshman 15. Although all your meals are at the on-campus dining halls and you don't have many healthy food options, you decide to make the most of what you have. Which is probably a sad-looking salad bar conveniently located right next to the pizza station.

I ate a salad every single day my first month of college. I never ate salads in high school, but college was a new start and a "new me." Notice I said the "first month" — my salad eating didn't last long, and likely neither will your health kick. Late-night snacking happens, and there's only so long you can walk past a pizza station before breaking down and getting a slice or three.

But that's OK! Freshman year is all about living it up and trying new things. Oh, and embrace the snacks you get in care packages! You're going to be seeing a lot less of those once you stop being a freshman. #SendSeniorsMoreCarePackages

Sophomore Year

By sophomore year, you've settled into college. You know where all the best late night eats are, which bagels are hangover cures, and the most caffeinated coffee for those all-nighters. Basically, you're a campus culinary expert. You've been through the Freshman 15, and now you don't care. Food is delicious, and you know to love your body no matter what.

However, you're starting to get sick of the dining halls. You find yourself visiting home more often just so your mom can cook for you. You basically live at the on-campus Chick-Fil-A. Your friends say, "Let's go get mozzarella sticks," and you already have your shoes on and are halfway out the door. You're learning lots and living it up, but by the end of sophomore year, you're ready for a serious change-up in your food options.

Sophomore year was the year that killed my waistline. Everyone warns you about over-eating freshman year, but they don't say anything about all the extra calories your sophomore stint brings. It adds up, between all the Chipotle and Panera trips you make to escape the dining hall. But sophomore year is also when I started doing yoga and not basing my self-worth on what a scale says, so it worked out. It's all about balance, folks!

Junior Year

Junior year is when nearly everyone's food habits completely change. If you don't have a food breakdown and refuse to eat in the dining hall, you move into an off-campus apartment or an upperclassman dorm with a kitchen. Either way, you're getting a taste of cooking for yourself now.

And, since junior year is nearly always the most academically challenging, you're probably stress eating more than usual. Which is alright in moderation, but be conscious that you're making healthy choices. Maybe try mindfulness exercises if you're stressed?

Junior year was the first time I moved off campus and didn't have to eat at the dining hall every day. Because my mom was worried I'd starve, I still had a meal plan. But still, suddenly I had so much more freedom! No, literally — the meal plan was called "Freedom," and it gave me a specific dollar amount of money to spend on-campus for the whole semester.

It wasn't enough for three meals a day, but it was enough for lunch on-campus, plus late-night food splurges on the weekends. My in-between meals were some homemade messes, but anything was better than the dining halls.

Senior Year

Senior year has finally arrived, and your life is a balancing act of classes, internships, extracurriculars, and more. You have zero free time, but you always make time to eat. You both do and don’t want to graduate, because on one hand, you’ll finally be done, and on the other, is the terror of adult life. And adult life means finally cooking for yourself—gasp! 

Luckily, you’re starting to get some practice with preparing your own meals, but the amount of burnt dinners and mushy lunches can get pretty discouraging. Invest in some cookbooks and starting reading food blogs. (You’re already here at Spoon’s website, so you’re off to a good start.)

Experiment with recipes and figure out how to make delicious and Instagram-worthy meals. You’re practically an adult now, and you should learn how to cook beyond microwaving ramen. You’ll probably overcook your dishes when you first begin, but that’s OK! Keep practicing and keep learning, and eventually you’ll be able to make a whole range of bomb recipes. 

Senior year is when I became a cooking whiz. I’m still learning, but I’ve mastered whipping up dinner from ingredients I’ve already got, and have even figured out the art of pairing wine with my dishes. Just like my diet, I've come a long way from freshman year to senior year of college. It's easy to feel like college is a blur of dining halls and takeout, but hang in there. Keep on taste-testing new foods, and you'll have this "adult cooking" thing nailed down in no-time.