Nutrition for the Busy College Student
Food is an important part of our lives! What we choose to put in our bodies can have a significant impact on our performance, academics, physical health, and mental health.
Remember: foods should fit your culture, lifestyle, and budget. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Eating is an individual journey that depends on each person's resources, access to food options, lifestyle, medical history, and nutritional needs.
As a college student, your diet right now won’t look the same as it did before you came to VCU, and it will look different long after you graduate. Maybe you have a busier schedule and more responsibilities. This might even be the first time you’ve had to shop and cook for yourself. Your life is different now, so give yourself some grace to eat in a way that makes sense for you during this busy phase of life!
EatWell is an online, interactive Google map which connects students with food options near you. You can use the map to find restaurants, vending machines, grab & go options, and free food resources on-campus at Monroe Park. We’ve got big plans to expand to near-campus options and MCV campus in the near future! Tap on each food location to view the average price, hours, dietary options, and more.
We want to hear from you! To submit an update to the map, such as to add a vending machine or let us know a change in hours, please fill out this anonymous form.
Questions about EatWell? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fruit & Veg Out
We know that there are tons of benefits to eating fruits and vegetables, so it’s important that we make room for them in our diets. But we don’t need to completely change the way we eat!
Here are some of our ideas to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet:
- Consider frozen or canned produce. These options are generally less expensive, last longer, and have the same nutritional benefits as fresh produce!
- You can also choose low-prep produce, which doesn’t require a lot of chopping or cooking to eat. These include bananas, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots.
- Whether you’re eating at home or on-campus, try to add at least one vegetable to your plate at meal times.
- And lastly, make use of free food options on campus, like Ram Pantry!
Mindful eating is an approach to food that focuses on individuals' sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food. Eating mindfully can increase your overall satisfaction with your food and create better awareness of your own hunger cues. Want to learn more? Here are some tips to get started!
- Challenge your assumptions about food. No foods are “good” or “bad.” All food fuels us! Try journaling about how you feel around certain foods.
- Pay attention to your hunger. Your body always needs a balance of fat, carbs, and proteins to function: all foods fit!
- Discover the satisfaction factor. Eat what you really want and enjoy the taste and textures!
- Be present when eating. Pause and ask yourself how it tastes! Are you still hungry? How do you feel right now?
- Make peace with food. It can take time to unpack feelings of shame and guilt surrounding food.
- Try new coping skills, like meditation, physical activity, or time with friends.
- Respect your body. All bodies deserve dignity and care, including yours!
- Be wary of diet mentality. Offer yourself the kindness of satisfying your physical needs and adjusting your mentality tsot aht eating is a joyful practice.
- Keep practicing! Change can be slow.
OTHER VCU RESOURCES
The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) at Student Health can help you take nutrition information and personalize it in a way that makes sense for you. To make an appointment with the RDN, call Student Health at (804) 828-8828.