9 Healthy Foods for College Students

Being a first year college student, my eyes have been opened to the struggle of affording food while affording the many things that a college student needs. What’s even harder is that so much healthy food goes bad quickly, and that it seems to be gone in a second! For those of you like me, here are some great and filling foods to keep you satiated while staying on that budget!


1. Beans 

With dozens of varieties lining the grocery store shelves, pick whichever appeals to you! Beans can also be added to tons of healthy recipes, meaning you’re not limited to a single repetitive dish until the last bean is consumed. To further add to the impressive resume of the bean, they are a great source of protein, folate, and fiber—good to know since meat can be super expensive.

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2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the perfect blank canvas for your dining needs. It can go sweet with fruit and brown sugar, or savory by mixing it into a hamburger for some sneaky health benefits. A good source of fiber and minerals that isn’t limited to breakfast like that sugary cereal at the store, oatmeal is a great and filling cheap option.

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3. Sweet Potatoes

If you’re looking to step up the health benefits of your regular potato purchase, take a look at sweet potatoes. These oddly orange beauties are brimming with carotenoids, fiber, and vitamin A that fight free radicals and maintain healthy eyesight. Make a baked potato, or even some cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes to change up the usual. Sweet potatoes without a doubt will keep you full.

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4. Eggs

Commonly referred to as the perfect protein, a single egg provides about six grams of protein, or 10-percent of the amount recommended for a 2,000-calorie diet. Eggs, like many of our top ten options, are multi-taskers in the kitchen. You might want to stock up, these go by quickly!

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5. Spinach

Spinach can be heated as a side dish, sautéed with meat, or even put in a smoothie.Spinach is also nutrient dense, made up of fiber, vitamins A and C, and folate. Often called the perfect carbohydrate, spinach is definitely a good call for a health conscious student.

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6. Brown Rice

From stir-fry to taco night, brown rice is a great kitchen staple. Think of it as an amped up sticky white rice since it still has the healthy outer layer (called the hull) of the grain. All die-hard bodybuilders will swear to this grain. A single cup of brown rice also tallies up to 88-percent of the manganese you need daily. Manganese, which is a mineral, helps produce energy and aids in maintenance of a top shape nervous system. Not only that, but a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that women who ate whole grains instead of refined grains (white rice) are more easily able to maintain a healthy body weight.

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7. In-season fruits and veggies


This one is easily the hardest to be consistent with as a college student. In winter, citrus will be inexpensive, and in fall, apples will be a steal. Depending on the time of year, certain produce items come into season, and that season is the time to buy. Be on the lookout for sales at your grocery store, where they often discount in-season produce, or have two-for-one deals.

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8. Green tea bags

Green tea can be just what the doctor ordered after a hectic day on campus, or when you feel like you might be catching a cold. The studies indicating green tea’s potential to fight cancer and heart disease are overwhelmingly positive. Other research has shown green tea and green tea extract can help combat obesity and lower LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol levels. Here’s a pro tip; by stocking up on tea bags to take to class, you’ll save yourself over $1.50 compared to picking up the pre-brewed variety en route.

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9. Granola or store brand cereal


Granola can be a tricky health food. Don’t be fooled by the “health halo”! Read the ingredients list: if there’s lots of chocolate, sugar, and syrups, skip it and try another brand. But when you find the right fit minus the additives, stock up in bulk. Granolas that have whole grains or flax seeds can give you healthy fats and fit the bill for breakfast or a between class nosh, but it really is difficult to find a healthy brand.

Cereal can also be a great snack, but like granola it's hard to find without added sugar. By picking up the store brand, you’ll save yourself some cash without compromising on taste. Often the ingredient lists on name brand and store variety items are identical!

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