In the Zone

Healthy Nutrition


  • The average college student is often pressed for time, under a lot of stress, and eating on the go. You may find it difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or frequently visiting fast food restaurants. Eating a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress, and perform better in and our of the classroom. It really isn’t that difficult to get started. Here are some helpful tips for eating on the go.  Check out the Healthy Plate for College Students  
How To: Healthy Plate for College Students | UCSB Health & Wellness

Tips For a Healthy Diet

Eat Nutritious Food

  • Busy and stressed college students often eat food lacking nutrients and, as a result, they lack the energy necessary to concentrate during class and study sessions. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and protein-rich food to have the energy to function efficiently throughout the day.

Eat a good breakfast

  • This is a good way to get your metabolism going in the morning and “breaking fast”. This will not distract you while in class and take away from potential achievements. This does not always mean a sit down meal. Grab something on your way to class like a bagel, fruit, and some juice. Many of these can fit in your backpack and is a great way to start your day.

Choose foods wisely

  • Check out our serving size chart "wallet-portion-control-size-guide"as well as "nutritional facts". Know what you are putting in your body:  limit your high fats and empty calories.   View yourself as a highly efficient super car, would you put sludge in the engine? No way. Then why put sludge in a highly efficient super student?
  • Keep healthy snacks around for yourself – small frequent meals are best throughout the day and can give you an energy and focus boost during study time. Keep healthy snacks by your side so you are not tempted by some unhealthy vending. Possibilities include fresh or dried fruit such apples, bananas or raisins, pretzels, nuts, rice cakes, or whole wheat crackers. If you have a refrigerator, consider raw vegetables such as carrots with low-fat yogurt or dip.
  • Eat foods that give something back – Choose foods with calcium such as milk, try to include ample amounts of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Also try to incorporate foods with vitamins. Check out the "Nutirition.Gov"
  • If you need to lose weight, do it sensibly - Starvation and/or diets that offer a quick fix usually backfire and are harmful. There is no truth to the theories that suggest eating foods in any particular combination will promote weight loss. The only safe way to lose weight, feel good while doing it, and keep it off, is to eat a balanced diet and exercise.
  • Learn proper portion size-- To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you're eating. For most people, meat servings should be about the size of a deck of cards and other servings vary by the "type of food"
  • Drink responsively and moderately-- College is often known for partying and if you drink alcohol be sure to do so without hurting your health. Beer comes with many calories while liquor negatively effects important organs. Both forms of alcohol comes with hangovers that can bring hurtful consequences on your body.
  • Don't confront stress through eating--Although tempting, eating bags of chips, cookies, or ice cream won’t make your stress go away. Try health activities that actually help with stress such working out or just take a break! (link to mindfulness section)
  • Drink water-- Hydration is vital for concentration and also helps you avoid overeating. Try to keep water with you throughout your day and stay hydrated.
  • Limit caffeine and sugar intake-- Although beverages such as soda are not food they can still lead to unhealthy weight and food cravings. You do not have to give up such beverages completely but be sure to moderate.
  • Limit junk food--You do not have to restrict junk food but try to eat moderately.  While a little fast food now and again won't really hurt you, try to incorporate more beneficial and healthy foods instead.
  • Make eating a priority—It is difficult to make healthy eating a priority when you are very busy.  However, in the end, a healthy lifestyle will lead to greater success in all of your endeavors. 
  • Get help for eating disorders-- Many students are focused on losing weight but understand there is a right and wrong way to go about doing this. For reference please do not hesitate to reach out to campus resources for help.
  • Learn about food myths at:
5 Eating Health Myths BUSTED!