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Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash (rights-free)

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series sharing videos made by Human Health students in the Health 1, 2, 3 program. To see an overview of the program and this series please read this post.

By: Sarah Crowley

My first few days at college were like stepping into a brand-new world. I had always heard that “college is a time in one’s life unlike any other,” but I thought it was just a cheesy cliché used by my parents when they were reflecting on their glory days. However, after arriving on Emory’s campus it was clear that my parents were right. I was immediately exposed to brand new experiences and opportunities to learn, but I struggled to juggle these alongside my new responsibilities. This is a common frustration when it comes to making friends and finding your place on campus, but especially when caring for yourself and finding a way to prioritize health.

“…the choice to eat healthy does not detract from academic success, and often the two can work hand-in-hand”

Students at top universities like Emory are driven to work hard and prioritize their academic success. However, this means that important elements of self-care like healthy eating and getting a proper amount of sleep can fall by the wayside. Eating properly, in particular, is extremely important for the success of any college student. Proper nutrition can affect your energy levels and susceptibility to disease, which are two important factors in the lives of college students.[1-4] With so many tasks to juggle at once like completing school work, maintaining relationships, and the general struggles of time management, getting sick or having to stop and rest can steal valuable time from an already pressed schedule. Therefore, while taking time to focus on nutrition may seem like a low priority, it can actually end up saving you time in the long run.

A healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables gives the body important phytonutrients and antioxidants that protect us from the harmful effects of stress.[5] In a high stress environment like Emory, our bodies need all the help they can get. During finals especially, I often find myself neglecting healthy eating habits and opting instead, for quicker but more unhealthy options. In the moment, it seems imperative to prioritize convenience over quality, and many college students perceive these characteristics as being mutually exclusive when it comes to food. Thus, it is important for us to prove these misconceptions wrong and demonstrate how it is possible to have food with all of the nutrients you need, that fits into the constraints of a busy schedule.

Recipes like this smoothie bowl are packed full of vital nutrients and “superfoods” that will fuel student success. Even a simple snack like granola can help meet daily fiber requirements and help keep you feeling full longer so you have more time to study. It may seem difficult to access such nutrients on a college campus, however, there are healthy options all around Emory. All of the ingredients used in the video can be purchased at the Eagle Emporium or from the Publix along the Emory shuttle route. Therefore, healthy choices might be in closer reach than expected.

In the process of finding our place and striking a balance in college it is easy to fixate on the opportunity costs of our choices. When studying for a large test, it makes more sense to choose a snack from a nearby vending machine than prepping your own meal. But the choice to eat healthy does not detract from academic success, and often the two can work hand-in-hand. The long-term benefits of positive nutrition far outweigh the immediate time costs, and the potential for increased energy and reduced effects of stress can help ensure you have the most fulfilling college experience possible.


1.Harvard University (2011). The Healthy Eating Plate [image]. The Nutrition Source: Healthy Eating Plate & Healthy Eating Pyramid. Accessed:

2.Hosseini B, Berthon BS, Saedisomeolia A, et al. Effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on inflammatory biomarkers and immune cell populations: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;108(1):136-155. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy082

3.Holt, E. M., Steffen, L. M., Moran, A., Basu, S., Steinberger, J., Ross, J. A., Hong, C. P., & Sinaiko, A. R. (2009). Fruit and vegetable consumption and its relation to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(3), 414—421.

4.Amy Lee Richards & Bonny Specker (2019): Evaluating hours of sleep and perceived stress on dietary cognitive restraint in a survey of college students, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2019.1618312

5.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eating to Boost Energy. EatRight. Published July 2019. Accessed July 22, 2020.