College life is fast paced. A lot of times, it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on. Shortcuts will be made, and that can have an impact on health. One of those shortcuts is healthy eating. 

Fast food is called that because it’s fast. This helps when we’re in a hurry and don’t feel like there’s enough time to cook a good meal. The issue that presents itself in this situation is that fast food is normally unhealthy. 

So, what, then, can help college students maintain a healthy lifestyle, while simultaneously keeping up with the fast college life? The health psychology class research team at BYU-Idaho, led by instructor Rob Wright, set out to answer that very question. 

“There’s a lot that we’ve learned and compared in this study, so we just want to let everyone know that it is way easier to stay cheap and stay healthy,” said Nate Smith, one of the student researchers. 

Their research covered two topics. First, the cost of eating healthy, and second, the time it takes to eat healthy. The research team discovered that these two points were the main reasons why college students refrained from trying to eat healthy. 

With regards to cost, the team discovered that eating healthy costs much less than what most would have thought. 

“You can make a full day’s worth of meals that follow the MyPlate diet plan for very cheap. We found our median price for a days-worth to be about $5.30,” said Smith. 

The cost is inexpensive, but that still doesn’t solve the issue of time. However, the research team didn’t leave that point alone either. Yovanny Maldonado, another one of the researchers, said time may be a façade. 

“I believe it’s a common misconception because of the instant gratification,” he said. “You don’t really have to put in the work, you just show up and wait and then you have food. In that same amount of time though, you could have made your own meal of foods you purchased, and it would still be cheaper and more fulfilling and healthier.” 

A little preparation can go a long way. That’s something Hannah Braithwaite, the third researcher, said is something she has learned in many of her health classes. 

“With eating healthy, if you can set aside a little bit of time earlier in the week and give yourself an hour for cooking meals for the rest of the week, it will actually save time as opposed to taking multiple trips to a fast-food place,” she said. 

Ultimately though, it all comes down to giving it a shot. Smith encourages students who haven’t considered trying it to give it a chance. 

“If you try for one or two weeks, planning out your meals, going to the grocery store and buying fresh produce before you hit the freezer aisle, you’ll find it’s a lot easier than you think,” he said.