Some simple healthy eating tips for college students

Cara Cunningham, MINDI, Community Dietitian

It is called the ‘fresher stone’ and refers to weight that many college students put on during their first term away from home.

Surveys suggest that students do rely heavily on processed, convenience ready meals and takeaways. Living off these foods will not only lead to weight gain, it will also really push up costs.

Usually, it is much better value to cook some simple recipes, such as pastas or casseroles, especially where meat or fish can be made to go further by combining them with less expensive pulses and vegetables. Here are a few simple ideas to help students eat well without breaking the bank.

Plan: Try to plan your meals. Make a list for shopping and stick to it

Share the load: If you are living in shared accommodation, get together and plan your meals for the week. That way you will not have to cook each night.

The essentials: Have a stock cupboard with essentials like pasta, rice, tinned vegetables, and tinned tomatoes.

Think healthy: Beans, lentils and pulses are cheap and nutritious. As they contain protein they are a good cheap substitute for meat in a dish (or can make meat go further ).

Think economically: Buy fruit and vegetables in season when they are usually cheaper.

So, if you want to keep the bulge in your wallet and not in your stomach, probably the best advice of all is before going to college get a few cookery lessons or demonstrations. Knowing how to make a few simple tasty recipes such as soups, curries, pasta meals, bean chilli, cottage pies, and stir fries is invaluable. Everyone should have a few signature dishes that they can cook easily when away from home. You will definitely be a welcome addition to any student house!

A simple cookery book produced by MABS called 101 Square Meals is a great addition to any student off to college. It can be downloaded at

Best of luck to all those in college - enjoy the adventure!

For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, contact Maria at The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster, on (044 ) 9395518 or email [email protected].


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