Eating Healthy on a College Budget

Ashley Rivera, 17, Communications Major and Alejandra Medina, 18, Communications Major enjoy healthy snacks of apples and cucumbers during their lunch breaks outside of Sierra Hall. Demi Corso/Sundial Staff
Ashley Rivera, 17, Communications Major and Alejandra Medina, 18, Communications Major enjoy healthy snacks of apples and cucumbers during their lunch breaks outside of Sierra Hall.  Demi Corso/Sundial Staff
Ashley Rivera, 17, Communications Major and Alejandra Medina, 18, Communications Major enjoy healthy snacks of apples and cucumbers during their lunch breaks outside of Sierra Hall.
Demi Corso/Sundial Staff

The college life makes it difficult to eat healthy. With students on the go from one class to another, getting the necessary nutrients can be a hassle. Clinical Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator Candace Fontenette at Tarzana Hospital discusses just how troublesome it can be for students to receive the right amount of supplements.

She believes that more students in college have what she calls a “brown diet”.

“Having a colorful diet is the best way to optimize your nutritional intake. I always ask my patients ‘what color is your diet?’ if the answer is brown I know their diet consists of fried foods, fast food, and sodas, with little to no fresh whole foods.”

Regardless of the color of their diet, some students will do whatever it takes to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrients.

Public health major Jocelyn Roys makes sure to eat healthy on a regular basis. “Eating healthy is important to me because I want to look and feel good.”

Roys is also under pressure as a public health major to eat healthy and avoid junk food.

A busy schedule can prevent students from buying the right foods. Fontenette recommends that students focus on plant based foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

“Students need foods that are going to facilitate health and provide adequate nutrition for learning,” says Fontenette.

“These foods are low in fat and sodium, while at the same time provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and healthy protein.”

Due to budget concerns, students tend to hesitate when purchasing fruits, vegetables, and wholesome grains.

“Eating healthy on a budget can be challenging, but it is definitely achievable with proper planning,” says Fontenette. This planning can be as basic as selecting the right foods at a great value. Some inexpensive options can be found at local farmers’ market.

Food Science major Brandon Reilly understands that eating nutritious fresh food does not come easily.

“Money is a big issue to eat healthy,” Reilly said. “I want to eat healthy, but it’s not always what I can afford.”

In order to be able to afford living the “college lifestyle,” students like Reilly have had to give up some of the food they love.

“Giving up fries for a salad is a dilemma we all face every once in a while,” Reilly said.

There are many food courts on campus for students to choose from. At Burger King students can select healthier options by ordering a veggie burger or a salad.  The Arbor Grill offers daily salads as well as chicken, tofu, salmon, and vegetables. Although there are many places to eat on campus, students can start with the healthier choices available to them on campus.

“While it’s hard to just eat healthy off the bat, I would say take small steps. I enjoy my time now, but I also wish to live a long and full life,” says Reilly.