The Underrated Nutrition Service College Students Should Know About

College campuses can be a minefield of seemingly endless food choices, from dining halls to on-campus fast food and convenience store snacks available at all hours of the day. Many students are living away from home for the first time, and might struggle to make healthy eating choices in college. After all, there's a reason "the freshman 15" is a well-known stereotype. Healthline reports that many students gain some amount of weight during their first year in college due to a number of factors, including a change in dietary habits and a decrease in daily exercise.

Making homemade food isn't exactly convenient when you're living in a dorm — unless you wind up lucky enough to live in apartment-style housing. Eventually, instant noodles and microwave meals become redundant, and you may want to expand your dietary variety. Whether you're a freshman looking to make smarter food choices, or a senior sick of dining hall food, there is a service available to college students that can help you follow a balanced diet.

An individualized nutrition approach

Most colleges offer registered dietician consultations to students, according to Spoon University. Although online guides like the USDA's MyPlate can be a great jumping-off point for learning how to follow a balanced diet, every person is unique and will have different dietary needs. Maybe you're looking to follow a plant-based diet, or you have specific allergies. A registered dietician can help students create a personalized plan, individualized to each person's lifestyle.

Registered dieticians are generally required to complete a degree in dietetics, per NutritionED. This means they've studied nutrition plans and are qualified to help each person find which food plan works best for their lifestyle. They can work with you to analyze lifestyle factors that can impact your food choices. Do you have a rushed schedule and a need for quick meals, or more time available to cook? Do you spend a lot of time exercising and require extra protein to keep your energy up? During your consultation, you can discuss specific needs, so a registered dietician will be able to optimize your experience.