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Easy Healthy Meals For College Students

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easy healthy meals for college students

Pizza, pasta, burgers, chicken sandwiches, onion rings, fries, soft serve ice cream, and other comfort foods make up your average dining hall menu.

While you may think the food is great for the first two weeks eating on a college campus, these options will soon be old news to your taste buds and your body.

Dining halls are notorious for serving food that doesn’t give you enough nutrients and makes you sluggish when you try to finish out the day.

And there’s no question that continually eating comfort foods will put you on the way to gaining unwanted weight. That’s why so many students are getting fat in college.

For evidence, one study from Cal Poly found that most campus dining halls are unhealthy. And this same study found that only 11 of the 31 main dish salads were healthy. 

So even most of the seemingly healthy options in a campus diner are actually bad for you.

That’s why I wanted to help you by creating a list of easy healthy meals for college students.

It’s crucial that the meals are easy, so you don’t have to spend hours preparing the food. And it’s key that the meals are healthy so you can start eating for energy.

Once you get in the habit of making the following foods, you’ll become more fit, energized, and ready to take on college life.

Breakfast Food

Oatmeal – One of my personal favorites as a student—and a regular breakfast choice for me today—is oatmeal. It’s delicious, healthy, and super easy to make.

Buy the prepackaged Quaker instant oatmeal or some generic brand (I prefer apples and cinnamon), and add some peanut butter and a banana from the campus dining hall to make it even better.

Maybe oatmeal’s greatest contribution to your day is how quick you can make it. Just pour the oats in your bowl, put the recommended water in, and then microwave it for 60 seconds and it’s ready.

A meal like this saves you valuable time in the morning if you want to squeeze more sleep in before your first morning class. While I didn’t include a quick breakfast in my guide on time management strategies for college students, maybe I should have.

Smoothie – Everyone loves a good tasting and healthy smoothie. But did you know you can get this tasty drink in your college room? You can if you have a personal blender.

Get 3-5 ice cubes, fill half the blender in water, and add your fruits that you buy from the local grocery store or “borrow” from the campus dining hall. Blend it for a couple of seconds and then down the smoothie before class or take it with you to sip on during a lecture.

It’s that simple and takes no longer than 10 minutes if you’re working slow.

If you’re curious, my favorite smoothie is made of these ingredients: ice, water, banana, peanut butter, and Nutella. Try it out and you’ll see it’s delicious.

And if you don’t have a personal blender, you can get one from this back to college shopping list guide. It’s number 21 on the list, if you’re interested.

Nutella and fruit – Your sweet tooth will appreciate the taste of Nutella in the morning, and your body will appreciate the energy gained from the sugar in the fruit. This breakfast makes all parties happy.

You can try dipping strawberries, apples, bananas, raspberries, or blueberries into Nutella and see what you think. I’m not picky when it comes to Nutella, so I may be biased but I think all of them taste good.

Although Nutella is not the healthiest choice on the shelf, the fruit is healthy. So as long as you dip your fruit in a moderate amount of Nutella, then I’ll call it a healthy breakfast.

Eggs – Of course eggs are easier to make on a stove, but many freshman and sophomore college students don’t have that option. (If you do have a stove, then obviously make your eggs with a skillet and disregard the following information.)

However, you can still get your low-fat, low-calorie, and high protein eggs through the microwave in your room. First, crack your two to three eggs in a microwave safe bowl. Then place this bowl in the microwave for 60 to 120 seconds and you’re good to go!

If you hate the thought of your eggs sticking to your bowl, then buy cooking spray to prepare the bowl before you put your eggs in it. Or if you’re tired of plain eggs, add cheese or salsa to them to change things up for your taste buds.

I recognize that the dining hall serves eggs too, but these are usually gross since they sit out for hours before you eat them. And a dining hall doesn’t offer the convenience of cooking breakfast in your room.

Once you get breakfast out of the way, you’re free to prioritize the most important task on your to-do list.

Lunch Food

Chicken – Chicken provides your body with protein, vitamins, minerals, and even cholesterol control among other advantages. If you can, eat as much chicken for your main dish as possible because it’s good for you.

Most college dorms have a community kitchen near the lobby or in the basement for residents to use. If you have this, then buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts that you can put in the refrigerator until you want to cook them on the stove.

It’s by no means the best way to do it, but if you’re in a tough spot then it’s also possible to cook your chicken in the microwave.

Buy the same boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Put them on a glass plate. Cover the plate with a plastic wrap and let one side of the wrap go untucked to release steam. Microwave on medium for around 15 minutes. Then cut the inside to check that it’s white and cooked. If it is, then you’re ready to dig in.

Avocado toast – Potentially a breakfast, lunch, or dinner food, avocado toast is a trendy and healthy choice.

A big popularity point for avocados is that they’re a superfood with high nutrients, potassium, fiber, acids for your heart, antioxidants, and more that I go on for days about.

The point is to give your body avocados on a regular basis if you know what’s good for you.

Plus, avocado toast is versatile as you can add feta cheese, strawberries, tomatoes, salsa and chips, eggs, or other creative ingredients. Have fun with it and change things up so the taste doesn’t get old.

My college didn’t allow toasters in the room, but they had a kitchen area where I used the toaster to make foods like this. So hopefully yours does too.

Sweet potato – Sweet potatoes are a great side dish offering powerful carbs and vitamins to your body that can’t be underrated.

All you need to do is to buy individual or packaged sweet potatoes. Wash one. Poke it around 6 to 10 times with a fork. Dry it. And then cook for around 6 minutes and 45 seconds.

Although this isn’t your instant oatmeal or rice, spending a little under 7 minutes for a solid sweet potato is nothing to complain about.

If you pair it with another one of these lunch or dinner foods, or eat it on its own as a snack, you can’t go wrong. And this will be much healthier than the mozzarella sticks, or some other fattening side, at a campus diner.

Greek yogurt and granola –  Fill your stomach in the afternoon with some low-sugar and high-protein Greek yogurt and granola. Not many foods get as much attention as Greek yogurt across the internet and television, but that’s because it’s great at helping you lose unwanted fat.

I personally love granola with my yogurt. But you could add honey or some fruit to your Greek yogurt to knock this meal out of the park just as well.

When choosing your Greek yogurt, check the nutrition label and avoid the high in sugar and low in fat options. These are not the healthy choice you’re looking for in your diet, and would give you the opposite result desired: more fat and processed ingredients in your body.

And this is another kind of meal that you can grab on the go and eat in the car or during class. Just don’t get caught with your mouth full of yogurt when you’re called on to answer a question.

Dinner Food

Salmon – Salmon is undoubtedly my favorite food because of its taste, texture, and health benefits. Its protein increases performance and your brain’s health, while its high levels of omega 3 fatty acids lower the risk of heart disease.

It’s basically Superman on a plate!

And in about three minutes, the frozen salmon you took from the freezer to put in the microwave can turn into a properly cooked and flaky dinner that tastes just like the same $20 high-end restaurant dish.

Maybe the only weakness of microwave salmon is the odor it leaves behind. Your roommate, housemates, or dorm friends could come banging on your door to yell, “What is that smell? Did someone die in there?

But that’s when you yell back, “I’m eating healthy, get over it!”

Brown rice – Brown rice is the sidekick to your main dish that gives you energy and helps your body create muscle. That’s why you see bodybuilders eat chicken and rice, but you don’t have to compete in bodybuilding to take the benefits of brown rice.

Like some other quick options on this list, you can buy instant ready rice that takes anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds. This way you can eat quickly and get on your way to what you need or want to do next.

I’ll note that white rice is acceptable too, it’s just not as healthy as brown rice from my research.

Peanut butter and honey sandwich – Peanut butter boasts high protein, fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients that keep your body healthy while protecting it from major diseases. For example, peanut butter is proven to decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Then you mix in honey with its carbohydrates that your body turns into energy and uses to help your muscles. For those two reasons, I love this basic meal.

And if you want to be an all-star, get multigrain bread instead of white bread. Your body will feel overwhelmed in a good way with all the healthy nutrients.

Steamed bag of vegetables –  There’s a healthy eating sentiment that recommends people cover half their plate in vegetables (and fruits) for a reason.

Vegetables give your body vital nutrients, fibers, and vitamins that it needs for proper maintenance. And consuming a heavy dose of vegetables may reduce the chances of getting a stroke, cancer, heart diseases and type-2 diabetes.

When you’re at the grocery, look for the different frozen packages that can be microwaved like: broccoli; cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots; corn and carrots; and edamame.

Throw it in the microwave for the required time and presto—you have your healthy vegetables ready to go.

Final Words

You’ve accomplishing finding a list of easy healthy meals for college students, but now it’s time to execute. You need to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your life to get the results you want.

And if eating healthy is completely new to you, then I encourage you to take small steps.

Start with eating super healthy for breakfast for week one. Then for week two, advance to eat healthy for breakfast and lunch. And on week three go for eating healthy every meal.

The hardest part is the beginning. But if you can overcome that initial change and get in a routine, you’ll be so satisfied with your internal and external progress.

Are you ready now? Let’s start eating healthy today.

On this list of easy healthy meals for college students, what is your favorite option? Are there other foods for your dorm room or college house that should be added to this list?

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Health & Fitness

30 Day Plank Challenge: Plank For 5 Minutes On Last Day

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Imagine how pumped up you’re going to be after you complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge? You’ll feel like a rockstar, with abs to prove your hard work.

What I appreciate about the plank is that it’s totally a matter of willpower when it comes to who is willing to get on the ground and do it and who is not.

You don’t need to be tall, fast, strong, or have any physical quality to do this activity. It just comes down to are you a hard worker or not?

This choice alone separates successful people from others in this physical arena and all areas of life, honestly—which I love.

It’s also always wise to test yourself every once in awhile. Since the last personal challenge on Take Your Success happened eight months ago (the gratitude challenge), there’s no more time for slacking.

So for this edition we’re going to be tackling the plank exercise for an entire month straight.

Before we get into the specifics of this challenge, you first need to know the many benefits of planking.

Health Benefits Of The Plank Exercise

I doubt you’re informed about all of the various ways your body thrives when you plank on a consistent basis.

Let’s change that and boost your motivation by learning the pros of staying in the plank position.

Strengthen your core – Planks are arguably the safest and best exercise to strengthen your body’s core since it activates all muscles in this area. Do this exercise enough and you’ll build strong inner core muscles that will pay off for daily function and a sexy appearance.

Flatten your abs – Not everyone wants a glorious six pack, but we could all use a more tightened stomach and abs for when we take our shirt off. Of course diet is more than half the battle for a smooth stomach, but don’t discredit the power of planking to flatten your abs and bring you more confidence about your physical appearance.

Better your posture – By planking, you improve the alignment of your spine, joints, and bones. This helps your body move more efficiently and healthy during every day activities. And better posture improves the first impression you give to others, your body’s energy, and, heck, sitting straighter at a work meeting could be the signal of confidence that persuades your boss to give you a raise.

Reduce back pain – We just covered how better posture improves how you present yourselves to others and feel every day. Though a straightened spine also means less back pain. This study finds that almost 80% of Americans will have back pain sooner or later. That’s a warning sign that we all should plank more often to reduce this nagging affliction.

Become more athletic – With a more stabilized core, your body’s coordination increases allowing your athleticism to improve. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate some extra athleticism whether it’s needed at the gym, a sports league with your friends, or some random work event that uses your core muscles.

Speed up your metabolism – Want to lose weight and burn more calories? The plank also delivers in this area, and does much better than crunches or regular ab exercises. The best part of this movement is that it forces your body to continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it, so you get to enjoy a sped up metabolic rate the rest of the day—even when you’re sleeping.

Decrease odds of injury – Doing the plank is wonderful from an injury-prevention perspective because it strengthens your body’s core while not putting too much pressure on your hips, spine, and back muscles. Plus a stronger core means your body has a bigger shield, in a sense, to prevent bodily injuries.

Improve your mood – When you exercise your core with a long and hard plank routine, you release stress from the nervous system to improve your overall mood. That’s why planking can ease your mental worries and lighten your depression since it gives your body an outlet for feeling mentally and physically weighed down.

How can you say you don’t love the plank exercise now? Make this exercise a part of your daily routine and all of those benefits come to you.

To help you follow through, follow an official daily schedule for one entire month.

30 Day Plank Challenge Rules

The goal of the regimented schedule below is to both build up the strength of your core and hold you accountable.

Stick with this schedule without missing a day and you’re going to be shocked at what you can physically accomplish in just one month.

Here’s the daily schedule to complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge:

  • Day 1: 20 seconds
  • Day 2: 20 seconds
  • Day 3: 30 seconds
  • Day 4: 30 seconds
  • Day 5: 40 seconds
  • Day 6: Rest
  • Day 7: 45 seconds
  • Day 8: 45 seconds
  • Day 9: 1 minute
  • Day 10: 1 minute
  • Day 11: 1 minute
  • Day 12: 1 ½ minutes
  • Day 13: Rest
  • Day 14: 1 ½ minutes
  • Day 15: 1 ½ minutes
  • Day 16: 2 minutes
  • Day 17: 2 minutes
  • Day 18: 2 ½ minutes
  • Day 19: Rest
  • Day 20: 2 ½ minutes
  • Day 21: 2 ½ minutes
  • Day 22: 3 minutes
  • Day 23: 3 minutes
  • Day 24: 3 ½ minutes
  • Day 25: 3 ½ minutes
  • Day 26: Rest
  • Day 27: 4 minutes
  • Day 28: 4 minutes
  • Day 29: 4 ½ minutes
  • Day 30: 5 minutes

Don’t be frightened by the thought of planking for 5 minutes on day 30. By that point you’ll have significantly strengthened your core and trained your mind to stick in there when things get tough.

The hardest part will be to actually get started and then maintain proper form while planking. The latter is what I’m going to cover next.

What’s Proper Planking Form?

You’ll defeat the purpose of this challenge and lose out on the physical benefits of planking if your form is terrible.

Keep it right and tight to maximize the core gains that are sure to come after you do the following routine, step-by-step for the next month.

This is proper plank form:

  1. Get into push-up position.
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
  3. Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line.
  4. Look at the floor and relax your head.
  5. Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
  6. Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate.

See what I mean that anyone can do it?

It’s a simple exercise when you consider the fact you need no gym equipment, no weights, no workout partner, and no specific environment to start planking and strengthening your core.

Exercises like this don’t discriminate from the poor who can’t afford fancy gyms, so no one has an excuse for why they can’t plank to get better.

Take It 1 Day At A Time

Like any great individual journey, you’ll perform best if you stay laser focused to take this challenge one day at a time.

It does you no good to worry about how you’re going to plank as long as you need to reach next week’s time when today is the only mission that matters. Stick to today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

If it helps, know that I’m going to be busting my tail to complete this 30 Day Plank Challenge as well.

We’re in this together. You got this, I got this, and we got this!

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Health & Fitness

How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!

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Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.

It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.

Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:

In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:

  1. Get into push-up position
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
  3. Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
  4. Look at the floor and relax your head
  5. Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
  6. Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate

That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?

Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!

How often do you plank?

What’s your experience with it?

For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?

Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.

Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?

It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!

Related:

30 Day Push-Up Challenge: Get A Beefier & Fuller Chest

The 7 Day No Bad Sugar Challenge

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Health & Fitness

111 Reasons To Exercise

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Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.

You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.

After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.

But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.

Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.

Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!

The Benefits Of Exercise

  1. Betters your quality of life
  2. Gives you more energy throughout the day
  3. Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
  4. Works to prevent the common cold
  5. Boosts productivity all day
  6. Improves your blood flow
  7. Provides endorphins to feel good
  8. Fights against depression
  9. Improves your social confidence
  10. Extends the amount of years you live
  11. Stimulates mental focus and concentration
  12. Lowers your body fat and weight
  13. Strengthens your immune system
  14. Presents opportunities to make new friends
  15. Increases testosterone
  16. Lessens risk of joint pain
  17. Tones and strengthens your skin
  18. Enhances your endurance
  19. Protects you against heart disease
  20. Lowers risk of some cancers
  21. Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
  22. Fights against dementia
  23. Motivates you to eat healthier
  24. Burns extra calories
  25. Provides a creative outlet
  26. Helps you feel sexier
  27. Drives more romance in your relationship
  28. Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
  29. Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
  30. Decreases your resting heart rate
  31. Instills discipline and self-control
  32. Teaches your kids to exercise
  33. Increases your work performance
  34. Adds a challenge to your day
  35. Strengthens your bones
  36. Develops your athletic ability
  37. Pushes you to take more risks
  38. Digests your food better
  39. Lowers risk of diabetes
  40. Lowers triglycerides
  41. Aids your immune system fighting infections
  42. Improves emotional stability
  43. Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
  44. Alleviates constipation
  45. Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
  46. Improves oxygen movement to the body
  47. Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
  48. Speeds up your metabolism
  49. Helps remove lactic acid in the body
  50. Develops a mindset of self improvement
  51. Straightens up your posture
  52. Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
  53. Develops flexibility and range of motion
  54. Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
  55. Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
  56. Helps you think positive
  57. Saves you doctor bills down the road
  58. Increases creativity
  59. Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
  60. Makes you drink more water
  61. Protects your eyes and eyesight
  62. Creates a mentality of respecting your body
  63. Builds muscle tone
  64. Provides opportunities to test your willpower
  65. Fights against allergies
  66. Makes you look younger than you are
  67. Prepares you for change
  68. Increases fertility for making babies
  69. Improves body control
  70. Allows your brain to think more clearly
  71. Helps your body store glycogen
  72. Boosts your body’s production of good fat
  73. Gets you comfortable handling pressure
  74. Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
  75. Adds muscle strength
  76. Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
  77. Takes away guilt when you do relax
  78. Increases the odds you make more money
  79. Reduces blood pressure
  80. Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
  81. Alleviates back pain
  82. Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
  83. Improves breathing ability
  84. Gives you a chance at a six pack
  85. Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
  86. Eases menstrual cramps
  87. Gets you ready to run a marathon
  88. Improves your business network and connections
  89. Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
  90. Improves reaction time
  91. Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
  92. Makes for a free social activity
  93. Reduces stress and anxiety
  94. Fights against feelings of boredom
  95. Protects against age-related muscle loss
  96. Gives you a pretty mirror view
  97. Raises your sexual performance
  98. Allows you to eat more food
  99. Makes you a more interesting person
  100. Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
  101. Builds muscle size
  102. Adds a glow to your skin complexion
  103. Teaches you the value of hard work
  104. Gives you a reason to manage your time better
  105. Protects your body against injury
  106. Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
  107. Encourages the people around you to exercise
  108. Adds to your first impression
  109. Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
  110. Increases compliments you receive from other people
  111. Gives your body what it loves, a good workout

If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.

Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.

And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.

There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.

So snap out of it.  Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.

You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.

And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.

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