College life is difficult, and many students are so pressed for time that eating healthy seems impossible. However, with a little initiative, you can get the nutrition you need even with a hectic schedule. These five ways will help you follow a healthy diet in college.

Use Your Meal Plan Wisely

Having a college meal plan means you might be tempted by greasy, comfort foods, but it’s important to specifically seek out the opposite for a healthy body and mind. Educate yourself on why bodies need a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Look for good foods whenever you visit your college’s cafeteria.

Learn more about the importance of healthy meal plans and how to take control of yours, as a student, with this guide from Lifesum.

Cook in Your Dorm

You can make an affordable meal in your dorm. Even on a tight budget, staples like whole-grain rice and pasta are reasonable and can be prepared alongside a variety of veggies and meats. Another option is to cook with friends or roommates to share the cost of ingredients.

Prepare Your Meals in Advance

If you start the semester expecting to slow cook your meals or are planning to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day preparing rice and nutrient-rich meals, you’ll have a hard time sticking to your diet when your schedule gets busy. Account for how hectic college life can be.

Therefore, consider investing some of your free time by prepping your meals for the upcoming week. Store your concocted healthy dishes in plastic containers and place them in the freezer, or as recommended by your recipes.

When you’re pinched for time, all you need to do is grab one of your prepared meals before you leave for class. On those days when you are exhausted from studying, there’s no need to eat fast food. Just select one of your nourishing options waiting for you.

Eat Small Meals More Often

For students, it can seem convenient to eat two or three huge meals whenever you have free time in your day. This isn’t ideal in terms of health, and you’ll be left feeling tired in the long run since your blood sugar levels won’t remain consistent and will drop.

For the best results in terms of energy and overall health, aim to eat four or five smaller meals throughout the day to maintain your blood sugar levels. You’ll also feel fuller, longer.

Buy Healthy Foods That Accommodate Your Lifestyle

Surround yourself with healthy foods that are easy to grab on your way out the door: bananas, apples, healthy protein bars, etc. If you keep cookies or refined crackers in your cabinets, you’ll likely grab those when you’re busy studying and not thinking about your diet.

Avoid this pitfall by buying walnuts and nuts in place of calorie heavy and carb-laden snacks. Stock other nutrient rich snacks in your kitchen, such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hummus, and an array of produce.

Finally, be mindful of your caffeine consumption. Four cups max is generally a safe amount of coffee for adults, though you should consider that the amount of caffeine intake will vary based on cup size, brand of coffee, and more. You can substitute coffee for some healthy energy alternatives to get more nutrients out of your pick-me-up snacks and drinks.

If you’re into making smoothies, for example, prepare a batch with spinach and blueberries to provide the energy and stamina needed to study late. College is demanding but living without a nutritious diet will only make things even more challenging. Try some of these tips to stay healthy in school and look forward to benefits like an improved mood and better academic performance.