We've all heard of the infamous freshman fifteen.
We are warned before going off to college how easy it will be to gain weight. From late night pizzas to all you can eat style cafeterias, college is truly a breeding ground for weight gain. While it is extremely easy to gain weight, it is also just as easy to stay healthy.
First off, most college campuses have one, if not more, gyms which are accessible to all students every day of the week. This membership is included in your tuition so it comes to you at no extra cost. Take advantage of these facilities as they will help you stay in shape, and you're also already paying for them so why not utilize them?
Second, while the cafeteria does offer an array of fatty, carb-filled foods, try to aim for the protein-pact foods and complex carbs. Furthermore, limit yourself to only one plate, having seconds is okay every once in a while, but don't make it a habit.
If you aren't eating at a cafeteria and are just buying your own groceries, eating healthy will be even easier as you can cook whatever you want and control how it is prepared. My go-to dinner meal always involves chicken, but I change how I prepare it to add variation as I do not eat red meat, pork, or seafood. If you are vegetarian, tofu is an amazing substitute that will also get you the protein you need. I do most of my shopping at Publix, and most of the time they are having amazing sales on lots of food.
An amazing way to save money while grocery shopping is to buy what you need fresh and don't get the pre-prepared or pre-cut version. For example, a whole onion at Publix is 99 cents while the pre-diced onions they sell in plastic containers are around $2.50. Further, try buying the Publix brands rather than the big-name brands. Usually, Publix brands are significantly cheaper and the amount you save really will add up.
If you're in a dorm and not always eating at the cafeteria, like me, then the best way to stay healthy while not breaking the bank is to grocery shop while the items you want are on sale, and do so when you aren't hungry so that you won't end up buying a ton of snack foods.
My go-to groceries are salad ingredients, hummus, carrots, Campbell's soups, and various fruits. Dorms do have community kitchens that you can use, but I'm too lazy to actually use them. However, if you're willing to make the effort then your options will increase significantly as you will have access to an oven and stove.
It is hard to adjust to being 100% responsible for your groceries and food preparation, and this is why some people slip up and fall into the easy pizza and mac-n-cheese trap. While delicious, that is a fast-track to weight gain and so it is best to put in a little extra effort and stick with the healthy foods.