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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
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:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- 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!
111 Reasons To Exercise
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
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- 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.
Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz
Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.
He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.
What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.
You’ll see what I mean in this interview.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.
Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.
Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.
One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.
In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.
But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.
One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.
Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.
So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.
Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?
Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.
For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.
For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.
So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.
Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?
Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.
People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.
The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.
Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.
But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.
So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.
And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.
But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.
So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.
Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?
Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.
But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.
Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.
I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.
Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.
Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?
Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.
Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.
She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.
And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.
Of course I accepted that opportunity.
Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?
Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.
I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.
There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.
Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.
Brian: What’s your life mission?
Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.
Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.
Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.
And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.
What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.
And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.
His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.
I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.
So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.