Is Your Teen Eating Healthy in College? Tips for Parents

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  • College life can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Help your teen maintain healthy eating habits by researching their dining options.
  • Encourage your teen to choose healthier options such as salads and water when they are at college.
  • Help them stock up on healthy snacks such as nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, granola bars, and protein bars.
  • Suggest meal prepping to help your teen save time and money while still getting nutritious meals.
  • Take care of their dental health by encouraging good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist when possible.

College life is known to be a time of freedom, exploration, and experimentation. Unfortunately, this often translates into unhealthy eating habits for college students – especially those away from home for the first time.

As a parent, ensuring that your teen is eating healthy while juggling a new life in college can be challenging. In this blog, you will learn tips that will allow you to help your teen maintain healthy eating habits while they’re away at school.

Know the school’s dining options.

The food options available on campus often dictate what your teen will eat. Before they even leave for college, research their dining options, check the menus, and see if the school provides any healthy meal choices.

Encourage your teen to eat healthier options, such as choosing a salad instead of pizza or drinking water instead of soda. Understanding the different options available will help your teen make healthier decisions when it comes to their meals.

Stock up on healthy snacks.

When your teen is in college, healthy snacks are essential. Many students tend to snack on high-sugar, high-fat foods that offer little nutritional value. As a parent, helping your teen stock up on healthy snacks that are quick and easy to eat when studying can help them stay on track with their nutrition. Here are some examples of snacks you can encourage your teen to keep on hand:

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy fats and protein. Try purchasing a variety of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds, that your teen can snack on throughout the day.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Choose fruits or veggies that require little to no preparation and are easy to carry around campus. Examples include apples, bananas, carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes.

Granola bars

Granola bars are a convenient and filling snack that provides plenty of fiber and protein. Look for bars containing whole grains, nuts, and dried fruits with minimal added sugar.

Protein bars

Energy bar

Protein bars can be a great snack for college students who are trying to maintain muscle mass or lose weight. Look for bars that are low in sugar and contain high-quality protein sources, such as whey or soy protein isolate.

Sharing healthy snack ideas with your teen may help them stay on track with their eating habits.

Suggest meal prepping.

With a busy college schedule, students may struggle to find time to prepare nutritious meals. Suggest meal prepping for your teen to help them stay on track with their eating habits.

They can prepare meals or snacks in advance and store them in the refrigerator, so they have easy access to healthy food when they need it. Meal prepping also saves time and money, as buying groceries in bulk can help reduce food expenses.

Take care of their dental health.


Your teen’s dental health can greatly affect their eating habits and nutritional intake. For example, if your teen has poor dental health, they may have issues such as tooth loss. This will make eating certain foods difficult for them, thus decreasing their food intake. Encourage your teen to practice good oral hygiene and follow a regular dental care plan in order to maintain good teeth and healthy eating habits.

You should also take your teen to a dentist when you get the chance. A good dentist can help your teen address any dental issues they may have to ensure the best possible nutrition. For example, if your teen has tooth loss, a dentist can provide dental implants. Dental implants will enable them to eat foods that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. These implants can also improve their self-confidence and help them feel more comfortable eating in public.

Offer support and understanding.

College is a time of great change and transition, and it is easy for students to become overwhelmed. As a parent, offering support and understanding can go a long way in helping your teen maintain healthy eating habits.

Keep the conversation open with your teen, listen to their concerns, and offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If your teen falls off the eating healthy wagon, motivate them to jump back on track.

Eating healthy in college can be a challenge, but with the right tips and resources, it doesn’t have to be. As a parent, you can help your teen by researching dining options on campus, stocking up on healthy snacks, suggesting meal-prepping strategies, taking care of their dental health needs, and providing support and understanding throughout this transition period. With these steps in place, your teen will have a better chance at success when it comes to staying focused on eating well during their time away from home.

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