Maddie lives in the United States and is finishing her last year in college. Even as a student she promotes a nourishing plant-based diet and loves every veggie under the sun. Her inspiration comes from fresh ingredients and the joy of creating healthy recipes for herself and her friends. She documents her journey and lifestyle on Instagram and her blog East Coast Health 

One of the things I get asked frequently is how I balance being a student and a healthy lifestyle. Making time to incorporate healthier habits into your schedule can be easy and fun, as long as you have the right tools.

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8 simple tips for students to eat nourishing, healthy foods!

1. Identify your support system

Find either a roommate or friend willing to embrace healthier habits. This can be either a gym buddy, cooking partner, or even someone you grocery shop with. Having supportive people in your life is key!

2. Batch cooking

This has become the buzzword of a healthy, nourishing lifestyle, because prep work is key. Personally, I take any free moment I have throughout the week to make a big batch of something (think cooked whole grains, chopped raw veggies, sautéed tofu, bean salads, and overnight oats). You can also do it all on one day every week to have everything set to go for lunches and dinners.

3. Find what you love

Figure out what you love to cook, and make it! Don’t worry too much about trying out the latest fads. Just try to incorporate as much variety and color into your diet as possible. This might take some experimentation but in the end it’s worth it.

4. Don’t fixate on recipes

One thing I’m really bad at is following recipes, because I always tend to improvise and put my own spin on things. So don’t worry if it seems daunting to cook every dish you make from a recipe. Instead, focus on simplicity and learning basic techniques. Add fresh squeezed lemon to the top of nearly any savory dish to instantly make it feel more polished. Of course, do flip through cookbooks from time to time to get inspiration!

5. Planning

If you have to, schedule shopping, meal prep, cooking, and, yes, meals, into your weekly plan; just like you would schedule in a class or meeting. This helps make healthy eating a habitual part of your daily routine. Don’t think of it as a chore, but rather as an investment into your personal health and well-being.

6. Sleep

This is the most important part of balancing school and health. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep! Living off-campus rather than in dorms has made a huge difference in my life because I’m able to get the amount of sleep I need. This will keep you healthier and happier!

7. Know your dining halls

If you’re not living off-campus, make the most of your dining halls. Hit up the salad bar frequently and incorporate as much vibrancy and variety into every meal as possible. If you have eateries that offer special services for vegans or vegetarians, don’t be afraid to ask about them and find out what’s available to you.

8. Don’t stress out

If you aren’t feeling like all of this is coming naturally, don’t worry. It will become a normal and even therapeutic part of your life with time!

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