Healthy Meal Planning For College Students

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As newly empty nesters we CRAVE when our kids come home for the holidays.  Mama responsibilities come back, and we can provide for our children for up to a month!! Parents’ lives go on autopilot as we prepare all of their favorite meals and snacks. After all, food can be a symbol of love.  Sitting around the kitchen table and having open-ended, warm conversations with our children reinforces that wonderful bond that warms a mother’s heart.

As nutritionists, and as moms, we see young adult concerns about becoming healthy independent eaters. Our own kids have asked us, “Mom, I am worried about going back to school--or to my new apartment- and cooking for myself.  What do I buy? What do I make? How do I cook? How do I shop? How do I eat healthy? How do I budget?”

There is no reality course which teaches our kids how to eat well. Cooking seems to be a lost art due to our crazy, fast-paced lives, and the ease of take-out.

Without realizing it, we’ve been serving our kids throughout their childhood with food simply appearing on their plates. We’ve been providing for them, but have we provided them with the life skills they need?

This realization impassioned us to create COOK U, a one stop-shop resource and community for newly independent kids to eat healthier, feel empowered, and gain kitchen confidence.

Currently, we are in the research phase at in-home kitchens and at college sororities. We lead demos and tastings to showcase how to make an egg, a smoothie, choose a healthy pasta, read a label, create a healthy snack, and make meals in 15 minutes or less.

We have designed a step-by-step guide that offers the basics of nutrition and other simple food rules, including how to navigate the supermarket.  From strategies for eating out, to sugar shockers, staple grocery lists and simple recipes, COOK U is focused on bringing important and healthy skills to university students nationwide.

The life of a college student is messy, unpredictable, and stressful.  Kids want to be healthy, but life gets in the way.  Our research shows that they want to feel empowered to make their own independent healthy choices. Some are at a loss of how to fill their plates and how much food to eat. Many are worried about weight gain, self-image, and not being tempted by sugary and unhealthy choices.

They want to create their own boundaries.

We are two driven nutritionist moms on a mission to teach REAL LIFE to young adults as they approach independence.  Previously, we assumed our kids would figure it out.  However, it is much more complicated today because of the wealth of information They go on Google, Tasty and YouTube for recipe ideas, but they still need to hear cooking and food advice from loving and caring moms who want the best for them.

Join our journey as COOK U grows. Please follow us on Facebook @TheCookU and Instagram @The_Cook_u. If you are interested in providing insights and ideas, please share with us via email at  When your children come home for a break from school, cook a meal with them, show them how to make scrambled eggs, and of course, give them an extra hug.

Need some FINALS FUEL to get through your exams?  Here are the COOK U  top 10 balanced snacks to give you that extra brain power!

1. 1 tablespoon nut butter + apple
2. 1 hardboiled egg + 2 cups snap peas
3. 5 mini peppers + 4 tablespoons hummus
4. 3 oz nitrate free turkey + 1/3 avocado
5. 2 mandarin oranges + 10 walnuts (or 30 pistachios)
6. 12 almonds + 1/2 cup fresh berries
7. 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt + 1 pear + 2 tablespoons granola
8. 3 cups Skinny Pop + 20 honey roasted peanuts
9. Protein Shake: 1 scoop Vanilla or Chocolate Protein Powder, 1/3 banana, water and ice, cinnamon
10.Avocado Toast: 1 slice light whole grain bread + 1/3 mashed avocado with sprinkle of crushed red pepper
college students meal planning
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By Mona Dolgov and Jill Gordon, R.D.

About Jill:   Jill is a Health and wellness virtual franchise entrepreneur with Isagenix. She is a registered dietitian and also works as a consultant for Wellness Workdays, creator of onsite worksite wellness programs, and project manager at Tufts Medical Center for the Center For Youth Wellness Childhood Obesity Program.. Her interests include child and family nutrition, weight management as well as overall health and wellness.  She has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2009.  She also serves on the Hunger and Nutrition Committee for Jewish Children and Family Services.




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