Words by Gemma Casimsiman
These days, being in college means you spend more time attempting to finish 15-page papers than prioritizing 8 glasses of water a day. It also means that we’re broke. Eating healthy is an option we choose to stay away from ‘cause of how much cheaper the unhealthy choices we’re surrounded with (i.e. the fast food restaurant right across the street).
See also: A Thomasian’s Campus Chibog Map
Fortunately, I figured out a way around it. Just a warning, this isn’t about reaching the point you’ll want to count the number of proteins your consuming—no—this is about eating healthy as a busy student.
Firstly, eating a whole meal can boost your energy and keep you full throughout the day. As endless piles of papers and work come through, we often ignore the grumbling of our stomach. There’s a reason why eating a heavy breakfast is important as it serves as a meal all throughout lunch. In Universities, there’s bound to be cheap stalls or food spots where they serve a whole meal for under 150 pesos.
Make sure to budget your money, though, for there are much cheaper options for the places you’re thinking right now. Don’t make fast food your go to. Yes, they are “sulit meals” and yes, they do fit the under-150 budget, however unhealthy food choices like those will slow you down and, in time, get you hospitalized.
Secondly, home-cooked meals. You’re probably thinking, “That’s so high school.” Well, you want to eat healthily, don’t you? Home-cooked meals are much safer than what you’re probably eating in school. Not a lot of universities have cafeterias to provide that for you. And this is also to avoid consuming more MSG than normal. If you have no one to cook it for you, I’m sure there’s no harm in learning basic recipes and prepping them at night. Sacrifice a little bit of your time for the sake of your health, yeah?
But, if you really are in a hurry, you can grab-and-go a fruit before you leave. Bananas, apples, and grapes are some of the fruits you can have as baon in school. Or why not do both? Pair your meal with a side of bananas, which will definitely boost you for the day.
The third option can also be to plan your meals early. If someone does the grocery shopping for you, invest a small amount of time to plan out the recipes, your baon for a certain day and just hand them a list. By doing this weekly, you lessen your worries about what food to bring, where to eat, and what to cook.
They say owning a microwave is an unhealthy habit but as a college student with no time, heating your meals every once in a while can also speed things up. Better yet, some meals don’t require being heated up.
Fourth is finding alternative food options that have the same amount of nutrients. A friend of mine was on a coffee cleanse, however she needed to stay up late for a school project. Her mother suggested an alternative: apples. It kept her up for an hour!
Since we’re not food technicians—well, most of us aren’t—when it comes to this situation, the internet is your friend. Researching for food alternatives, like coffee is to apples, can help you strengthen your immune system and benefit you more on your studies.
Lastly, karenderias. There will always be a karenderia in the area. They serve home-cooked, non-fast food with vegetable meals for less than 60 pesos. They could just be your saviors when you’re broke and hungry.
Road to graduation? Eat healthier—BE HEALTHIER—to reach graduation. Siomai rice won’t always be there to catch you!