Sticking to a Low Carb Diet While in College

Sticking to a low carb diet can be a challenge when it comes to budget considerations. What is more, everywhere you look, even in your cafeteria, there are pizzas, muffins, bagels, and other carb-rich foods. The best thing you can do is to stick to low carb meals and pick foods from the stir fry and salad bar.

Stir Fry Bars

Stir fry bars make it easier for students to follow a diet and watch their carbs. They can combine different vegetables and protein sources to get the optimal ratio. In some cafeterias, the staff is responsible for this while in others, students are allowed to cook and mix by themselves. Choosing from low carb vegetables such as celery, bamboo shoots, hearty greens, and sprouts makes it easy for students to stick to their reduced-carbohydrate plan.

Salad Bars

Salad bars offer plenty of choice and are available in most cafeterias today. Of course, there are foods to avoid such as macaroni and potato salad. Go for greens and fresh veggies and salad dressings that contain little or no sugar. You can season your salad with salt and pepper and vinegar or lemon and olive oil. Pick oils that are low in omega-6 and high in monounsaturated fats, which are healthy. While soybean oil is packed with omega-6 fatty acids, canola and olive oil are high in monounsaturated fats. In any case, it is better to avoid fat-free dressings because they contain a lot of sugar.

The Pasta Bar

Pasta is obviously not the best choice while on a low carb diet. The good thing about pasta bars is that you can have everything that goes with the pasta, plus a small serving!

Tips for Low Carbing While in College

You may want to buy a small refrigerator and keep lettuce, peanut butter, and other staples. Having a fridge makes it easier to stay away from fast food, pizzas, chips, and other foods with a high carbohydrate content. Keep tuna cans, lettuce, tomato, and mayo in your fridge. You can always make tuna or green salad and keep your hunger at bay.


There are plenty of fat-free and low-fat products available today, with some nutrition experts claiming that high-fat foods pose health risks such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Given the low-fat frenzy, some people are leery when it comes to foods high in fat. If you watch your carbs, however, consuming healthy fats is perfectly fine. Opt for foods such as nuts, olives, avocado, lean meats, and peanut butter.


The Zone Diet

Low Carb Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Cook at Home

If you live at home or there is a shared kitchen in your dorm, you can prepare your own meals. There are some foods to avoid such as cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, and breads. Other banned foods on the list include sweetened drinks and beverages, cakes, muffins, candies, and sweets in general.

Most diets emphasize the importance of frequent snacking. Be creative and combine different products to prepare healthy snacks. There are plenty of delicious snacks to make, for example, hard boiled eggs, celery sticks with peanut butter, blueberries with cottage cheese, etc. You can also have seeds and low carb drinks such as protein powders and shakes. Or you can make shakes by yourself. For instance, you can make pumpkin protein shake, mocha shake, or cinnamon vanilla shake.

Tools to Use

Of course, the types of meals to prepare depend on your course schedule, whether you work part-time, and your budget. Even if you are busy and don't have time cook time consuming meals, always stick to the basics. Eat plenty of vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and some fruit. If you are not sure about the foods to include in your diet, you can check the low carb food pyramid. There are also online calculators that help you to calculate your fat, carbohydrate, and protein intake. The calculator lets you choose from different diets such as the Ketogenic, Low Carb, Low Fat, Zone, and other diets. You can choose from options such as three, four, five, and six meals a day.