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Whether you’re going off to college for the first time or returning to campus, there are some things you should consider before starting classes again. Most importantly, remember that learning how to take care of your body properly is an important step toward having an enriching college experience and a successful future career. When it comes to nutrition, exercise, stress management, and even sleep, here are some great tips on how to be the healthiest college student you can be!

Learn to eat healthy on a budget.

Now that you’re heading off to college, you’re likely to be living in a dorm room, sharing a kitchen with your roommate, or both. That means you’ll have to learn how to cook on a budget—there’s no waiting for Mom to make dinner when you’re living on campus. While it might seem difficult at first, there are several simple tricks that can help bring costs down (and increase flavors!). Take, for example, organic chicken broth. It’s a budget-friendly staple you can use in almost any food to add flavor. For example, if you like Asian cuisine (chicken broth is a staple of Chinese cooking), making your own saves money while also expanding your range of cooking skills.

Ingredients like these are low-FODMAP foods, which can help you take care of your gut health. A low-FODMAP diet is an elimination diet that allows you to see which foods may be causing digestive issues. Instead of a full-on restrictive diet, it simply helps you discover where problem foods are hiding. This diet focuses on foods that contain short-chain carbohydrates (or FODMAPs) like onions, garlic, apples, dairy products, wheat, and fructose; these carbs are poorly absorbed by people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or other gastrointestinal disorders, resulting in gas or diarrhea. Eating low-FODMAP while you’re in college can help you counteract some of the foods you might encounter at a cafeteria or party.

Decrease stress by learning what resources are available to you.

Being college-ready involves more than just knowing what SAT score you’ll need to get into your top choice. From finding financial aid to choosing a major that aligns with your personality, college requires a lot of planning. Another important step? Start filling out your college application early in high school. Not only will you have more time to craft an amazing essay, but you’ll also be able to work closely with admission counselors at colleges that accept January or February applications. Remember, applying early not only gives you first dibs on scholarships. It can also give you an advantage over other applicants if it turns out that your school is particularly popular with students who apply early decision.

In order to minimize the stress that goes along with this process, it’s crucial to find someone who can help you. Counselors for college admission can help you decide which classes to take, write your personal statement for college admission, help you prepare for standardized tests like the SAT, or even give some extra guidance as to how to organize your studies. You should start talking to them as soon as possible to find out what services they can offer you before and during your first year of college.

Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep is a luxury that’s often in short supply when you’re a college student. Between class, homework, friends, parties, and part-time jobs, you’ve got no shortage of things to fill your time with. But if you want to look and feel your best, getting plenty of sleep is imperative. Some good tips are to make sure you have a good pillow (or two), take regular exercise breaks throughout your day, and block out time to relax in your busy schedule.

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