Eat Pretty in College

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You know your college years require hard work and diligence to achieve the grades, and goals, that you want. But what about your college skin goals? Sometimes eating pretty from your dorm room seems to require as much effort as your studies!

Each fall, I get a new crop of clients who want to build a beauty routine that supports radiant skin from within— but they’re feeling seriously challenged by the college status quo. Cafeteria food, parties & late nights, lack of kitchen access and fresh food on hand when they want it, and stress in general present major challenges that are sometimes unique— or at least heightened— in this phase of your life.

If you’re in college, grad school, or heading there soon, I’ve assembled some of the most important items and tips that you need to boost the beauty nutrition in your life. Whether you want to clear your skin, amp up your glow, balance your hormones, or just improve your energy, mood, and overall well-being, this guide will help you focus your efforts. Wishing you a beautiful college experience!

x Jolene

Stock these basics in your dorm room:

No refrigeration needed:

  • Plant-based protein powder (great go-to when you need to make a quick smoothie)
  • Spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger)
  • Teas (a selection for wake up and wind down)
  • Greens powder (when you can’t get fresh greens)

Refrigerate if possible (though these can also be stored at room temperature):

  • Lemons (for AM lemon water)
  • Avocados (have 1/2 as a filling snack; add to salads, grain bowls and smoothies)
  • Shelled hemp seeds (excellent source of protein and healthy fats)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (pair with fruit for snacks)
  • Probiotics

Helpful Gadgets and Appliances:

  • Bullet blender like the Nutribullet
  • Electric kettle (to make a cup of tea, a bowl of oatmeal, warm lemon water, etc.)
  • Microfridge (it’s a college staple, great for storing fresh food)
  • Small knife and cutting board (something easy to clean and store)

— I also recommend taking your Eat Pretty, Live Well journal with you to school— journal a few days of food every now and then to keep yourself on target, and use the trackers and lists inside to set and reach your healthy skin goals. It really keeps you mindful!

Jolene's nutrition tips for gorgeous skin at school:

Don’t skip breakfast! Make a simple smoothie that includes protein, healthy fat and as much fresh food (veggies and/or a small amount of fruit). A basic example is unsweetened coconut milk with plant-based protein powder, greens powder, and organic berries.

Keep healthy snacks on hand. These are essential when you’re up studying late at night, if you missed a meal, or even to satisfy hunger in a healthy way before a party. Try to include protein and healthy fat in your snacks as much as you can— think an apple + almond butter, a wedge of avocado sprinkled with hemp seeds and spices, or chia pudding.

Make mealtime relaxed and fun. Try not to eat while you’re stressed or studying. Eat with a group of friends who make you feel relaxed, or find a quiet spot where you can enjoy your food and engage your senses so you digest well and feel yourself become full.

Don’t stress too much about Beauty Betrayers. In general, if you keep your beauty nutrition on track, you won’t be greatly affected by splurges that are a normal part of college life. But if you’re partying all the time and ignoring your body’s needs for fresh, colorful, whole foods, you’ll see the difference in the mirror. This is a great time to learn how to get yourself and your skin back in balance with nutrition and self-care if you indulge too much.

Have a cafeteria plan. I believe that there’s at least some good in every school cafeteria— you just have to find it, or ask for it. Maybe there’s a great salad bar, a smoothie station that lets you customize your blend, or an epic selection of fresh fruit. If it’s not obvious, go out of your way and ask, politely, if your cafeteria can provide some staples like a varied selection of grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) instead of just white rice; or ask if the taco bar can be stocked with collard greens and lettuce leaves in addition to processed flour tortillas. There are always healthy upgrades to be made, most of them are simple, and there are probably lots of other students who will benefit from them too!

Don't depend too much on caffeine. Try and energize your body in other ways— with a good night's sleep, meals that burn slowly and keep your blood sugar stable, and adaptogens that improve your stress response and boost your energy naturally (like maca, ashwaganda and tulsi). Caffeine takes a toll on your skin and robs your body of essential nutrients, so try to make it a tool you use strategically, rather than an everyday essential.

Drink smart. The truth is that alcohol affects your skin— and not in a good way. If you’re going to drink and you want to prevent skin issues, moderation is the key, the same way you would moderate sugar. Here’s how to support healthy skin when you’re drinking—

  1. Before drinking, have a balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and veggies. This will lessen the glycemic response of the sugar in your body.
  2. While you’re drinking, drink plenty of water and eat something if you can (again, lowering that glycemic response).
  3. After drinking (later that day or the next morning), take a multivitamin, drink coconut water or electrolyte water to replenish fluids and nutrients lost, and have another balanced, antioxidant-rich meal. A green smoothie is a great way to replenish lost nutrients!

Establish a self-care routine now. College is super fun, but at times, it’s also super stressful. This is a great time in your life to practice managing stress in a healthy way. Make a list of beautifying practices that help you relax— think meditation, your favorite workout, a long walk, dancing to music you love, an evening of movies and facials with your roommates; whatever chills you out in a healthy way— and put them on repeat.

What strategies have kept your skin glowing at college? I'd love to hear what's working best for you and how you've adapted your beauty nutrition essentials to fit your dorm room!

Comment or email me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

Books background image by Abhi Sharma. Used with Creative Commons permission.