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The Antelope

Navigating the kitchen: Ways to maintain a healthy diet in college

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albersk@lopers.unk.edu

As students embark on their college journeys, they are faced with a variety of challenges, ranging from a heavy course load to their newfound independence. Among these challenges, there may be one you have overlooked, and that is maintaining a healthy diet. You can change this narrative with a little bit of planning.

 Taking the time to nourish your body while navigating a busy college schedule is crucial. Your body needs energy to go on throughout the day, as higher energy levels equals better concentration and overall health.

College campuses are typically limited when it comes to dining options. The Nebraskan Student Union has The Graze, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Starbucks. There are only four dining options on campus, limiting the amount of healthy food options. In the Union, students are surrounded by the aromas of Chick-fil-A and Subway, which may tempt them to choose a quick and easy meal versus a healthier alternative. 

When eating in the cafeteria, there is an array of meal options to choose from, including pizza and burgers to salads and vegetable stir fry. Choosing a pizza may sound good, but it’s important to remember to make nutritional choices as well. Look for protein, grains, fruits and vegetables when choosing your meal. This way you are getting a balanced plate. 

To avoid falling into unhealthy eating habits, there are other options that students can try to fulfill their healthy lifestyle goals. An option that students could utilize is the dormitory kitchens. These small, communal kitchens can seem daunting at first but can be transformed with a little creativity and essentials. 

Becoming busy during the school week isn’t unusual. Having time to cook dinner every night may be out of the question, which is why meal-prepping is a better alternative. Meal-prepping is where you can spend a few hours cooking large batches of food. These large batches can then be portioned and distributed into containers. This can save time while also encouraging you to make a healthier choice. You can prepare any of your favorite meals for the week and have them ready to grab and go. 

Preparing food for one isn’t always fun, and sometimes it’s difficult to make just one portion size. Instead, organize a food night with friends, which allows you to try new recipes and share preparation tips. Cooking with friends can make the experience more enjoyable rather than a daily chore. 

While college comes with many challenges, cooking doesn’t have to be one of them. You have the opportunity to improve your skills and promote your health and well-being. Trying new recipes can become a new social event. Grabbing a friend and trying something new is a great college memory. Prioritizing healthy ingredients, having a recipe and acquiring basic preparation skills can help you navigate the kitchen with creativity and confidence.

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Katherine Albers, Reporter
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