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How to Create a Meal Plan for College Students

by Brigitte Cooper and Cassie Crotinger, CLE Denver

Meal plan - breakfastMeal planning is key to healthy, balanced eating and spending your grocery budget wisely. Having a meal plan and proper ingredients in your apartment will help you be prepared to nourish your body so that you can be at your best every day. Everyone’s meal plan will be unique and should be a true representation of your week. Meal planning can be done as frequently as a student desires or just once and used as a guide through a whole semester.


Here’s how to start

    Meal plan - vegetables

  • Write a list of foods/meals you like to eat
  • Write a list of foods/meals you are willing to try
  • Create a monthly calendar for meal planning
  • Choose 5 breakfast meal choices, for example:
  • Oatmeal, apple, juice
  • Eggs with veggies, toast, berries
  • Cereal, banana, milk
  • Yogurt, granola, fruit
  • Boiled egg, orange, milk
  • Lunch
  • Sandwich, banana, carrots
  • Chicken salad, raspberries, cucumbers
  • Turkey wrap, broccoli, kiwi
  • Pita, hummus, bell peppers, grapes
  • Pasta salad, strawberries, celery and peanut butter
  • Snacks
  • Popcorn
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Granola bars
  • Rice cakes
  • Grapes
  • Sample dinner menu
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Fajitas Spaghetti Leftover fajitas Chicken and rice Turkey burger & sweet potato fries Veggie Stir-fry Out to eat with friends
Restaurant Salmon and mixed veggies Pasta primavera Veggie pizza Mediterranean wrap and zucchini Leftover pizza Chili and Caesar salad

When creating your meal plan, keep the following in mind:

  • Try one new food each week.
  • Consider creating meatless meals.
  • Choose one day each week (Saturdays or Sundays work well) to create a grocery list, shop, and prepare as many ingredients as possible ahead of time.
  • Aim for lots of variety in your meal choices.
  • Be realistic. For example, if you typically eat frozen dinners, schedule it in and work towards a balance between processed foods and freshly prepared meals.
  • Another method for creating your meal plan could be to choose a theme for each day of the week to add consistency to your routine. Taco Tuesdays, Salmon Sundays, Stir Fry Saturdays, Meatless Mondays, Tofu Thursdays, Fajita Fridays, Wildcard Wednesdays, Must-go Mondays (Everything in the fridge must go).

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.