From as early as elementary school, we learn a few things about college. First, college is expensive. Second, college is fun and a lot of people can't handle themselves. Third, Ramen Noodles are a diet staple. Sadly, all three of these truths pretty much hold up. What we fail to recognize though, is that that medical bills can quickly add up to more than college tuition. At the rate we're eating... that's exactly where we're going. It's time to get real about real food in college. It's not as expensive or as challenging as you may think to eat great food while at school.
Brace yourself, there are some things that you may not know about Ramen Noodles. The quick and dirty (literally) behind Ramen Noodles is pretty disturbing. Here's what you need to know. Ramen Noodles have eight grams of fat per serving and four grams of saturated fat which is over 40% of your daily value (yikes). A single serving of Ramen Noodles contains more than half of the sodium that you're supposed to consume in an entire day. Here's the worst part, a package of Ramen Noodles is actually 2 servings. If you're eating a full package, you need to double the nutrition information. Last but certainly not least, Ramen Noodles contain a large amount of TBHQ. What's TBHQ you ask? Great question! TBHQ is a byproduct used in the petroleum industry. If you're wondering how our bodies digest such a chemical, you're on the right track. The human body cannot digest TBHQ and therefore these lovely chemicals make a long-term home out of your once healthy stomach.
So I know what you're thinking because I have thought the same thing many times before, I eat Ramen Noodles because they're super cheap and I can't get healthy natural foods within my budget. Well, I don't know about you but something about the fact that undigestible chemicals are marketed to college students and low-income families seems to be a whole other conversation. This may or may not directly correlate to the fact that the U.S. is ranked #1 on the list of most obese industrialized countries. Sounds like a crime against humanity to me. That being said, eating healthy in college is actually way easier than you think.
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are not too expensive in bulk and have a long shelf life, keep those things in your dorm room rather than chips and candy. Splitting a Costco or Sams membership between an apartment of students often times ends up being inexpensive and bulk quantities of great food are able to be purchased at low cost.
Stockpile fruits in your backpack while leaving the dining hall. Fruits are natural, healthy snacks and after all, you're already paying for them. Bring a reusable water bottle with you EVERYWHERE you go. Drinking water has more benefits than can ever be listed but more than anything it'll keep you from drinking your calories.
Peanut butter and LOW SUGAR cereal are inexpensive and provide a great source of protein. Keeping a jar in your room of natural peanut butter for an extra boost of protein.
Last but not least, the love of my LIFE, aka Trader Joes, is way less expensive than Whole Foods, provides great discounts, and has a TON of healthy options. If you play your cards right, you can end up leaving Trader Joes with great dinner options at a low cost.
This is only the beginning of the healthy food in college conversation. There are a million ways to make smart choices while at school. If you're going to take anything out of this article remember that good food comes from the earth and Ramen Noodles are killing you. College is like having training wheels for life. Develop smart habits now and they'll remain true forever.