Let’s face it: with all the stress college can bring, trying to stay fit and healthy seems like a herculean task – not to mention the expenses that come along with a clean lifestyle.

When you consider our list of eleven college food staples, it might be daunting at first, but being healthy in college – without breaking the bank – is not impossible. Taking it one step at a time can assist you in maintaining a sustainable lifestyle that would help you in the long run (and even save you more money.)

Here are some essential tips to help you start out or maintain wellness in college:

1. Plan your groceries and buy healthy food in bulk.

grocery shopping

Make a grocery list and stick with it, and don’t ever go in there hungry. You’ll end up buying unhealthy chips and sweets overloaded with sugar!

You can also save a lot of cash by buying healthy food in bulk, like brown rice, quinoa, beans, and other grains. Additionally, you can buy your veggies and fruits frozen — no need to worry about them ending up rotten and wasted!

2. Use your college gym…

Most colleges provide free gym memberships to their students, or at least provide students with discounts. If the gym setting is not your thing, you can also sign up for fun sports clubs instead – for a minimal annual fee.

3. …Or just watch exercise videos online or through apps.

YouTube is a goldmine for free exercise videos ranging from 5 minutes to an hour or more – depending on your mood! Some famous fitness YouTube channels include Blogilates. There are also a ton of free and cheap apps that could help you maintain your fitness regimen, such as Nike Training Club, Strava Running, and YogaStudio.

Just make sure it’s okay with your roommate when you’re doing the videos – or better yet, do the routine together!

4. Plan your meals.

Resisting the temptation of unhealthy food would be infinitely easier if you have packed food with you. First rule: Don’t. Skip. Breakfast! Look for granola bars and cereals with high fiber and low sugar content. Better yet, spare some time the night before to prepare some easy overnight oats or chia puddings.

Granola Bars

If you don’t have enough time or money to cook and prepare food, the dining hall is your best friend. Pro-tip: always fill half your plate with veggies, and eat them first! You can also grab some fruit to take with you to your next class. Eating healthy snacks such as fruits can help you feel full and stay energized.

5. Try to meditate.

While there is no substitute for a healthy amount of sleep, meditation can at least help a little bit to clear your mind. Even a short ten minutes a day may be enough to help you concentrate on your studies and de-stress from the chaos of college – and it doesn’t cost a thing!

6. Walk, run, take the stairs, ride your bike.


Ride your bicycle whenever you have the option. Try incorporating a short run or two (even thirty minutes would do!) into your week. Skip the escalator and take the stairs. And when you’re too tired, just walk, as we have some great news for you: new research suggests that walking actually burns more calories than previously thought! So go ahead and take a stroll.

7. Bring your water bottle EVERYWHERE.

Water can aid digestion, help you stay alert and focused, prevent dehydration, clear your skin… and the list goes on. It can also prevent you from drinking your calories: always choose water over that sugar-filled juice – water’s so much cheaper, too.

8. Have fun, but don’t go overboard with the drinking.

“Staying healthy” is not an excuse to not enjoy your college experience! You don’t have to miss out on all of the big parties. Knowing how many calories are in your favorite drink can help you stay in line: a bottle of beer, for example, can contain around 100 to 200 calories. Just know your limit and be mindful with your drinking – and have fun!

What do you think?

Got any pro-tips to stay healthy while on a budget? Share some advice and let us know your tips in the comments section below!

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