College Tips Part 2: Plant Foods

The follwing is the second part of a 3 part series from Todd Dosenberry at Check out Part 1 HERE

Today I am back to talk about plant foods. Just over a week ago I discussed animal foods that are great to have on hand while in college. The foods inside that post and the following plant foods are generally easy on the wallet, portable, easy for the newbie cook, tasty and of course super healthy allowing you to Ace every exam under the sun.

If you have any foods to add to the list then please chime in by leaving a comment below.

Coconut oil – This is my second favorite cooking fat right behind butter. It’s inexpensive and is one of the most versatile foods on the planet. It’s full of medium-chain triglycerides which will boost your metabolism. It’s cleansing and thus a perfect base for homemade toothpaste. Because it’s 93% saturated fat, it solidifies at room temperature (below 76 degrees to be exact) which makes it very portable. I enjoy spreading it on bars like Evolve Foods and Larabars when they are too sweet.

Shredded coconut – This is coconut meat that is finely shredded. I love adding this to my smoothies, salads, eggs and various other foods. It’s not too intense of a flavor but is enough to give anything a coconut boost. You can even make coconut butter or coconut milk from it – something I’ve yet to do. The best part? Calorie for calorie, it’s one of the cheapest foods around! I buy 12 packs from Amazon.

Coconut milk – This is another great base for smoothies. Don’t you ever dare buy the light kind. If you want it “light” then just add water and don’t be ripped off! Do you like curries? Then buy some coconut milk. While coconut milk is great, understand that a lot of folks have trouble digesting it. This is mostly because of the guar gum. At this moment, I don’t know of a brand that does not have guar gum. If you do please let us know in the comments! I personally like the Native Forest brand the best since the can is BPA free.

Coconut cream – This is just like coconut milk except it’s pure meat without water or guar gum (or other emulsifiers). Calorie per calorie, cream is cheaper than milk. I have yet to buy it myself.

Coconut flakes – These are a perfect snack. They are similar to shredded coconut except the shavings are not as fine which enables you to enjoy it as a snack. They are as portable as a food can come and quite delicious. I brought a bag with me to Primal Con in 2011 and shared them with my new friends on the shuttle! Everyone loved them. Super cheap too!

Coconut water – I just added this one at the last second. Why? It’s expensive. It’s a luxury to me but I thought… many of you are going to college or at least know someone who is. If at some point you drink too much and are hungover, make sure you have some coconut water handy! I’ve heard that coconut water has an amazing ability to cure hangovers. It is probably due to the electrolyte content.

My favorite brands include Harmless Harvest (hands down the best – 20 out of 20 folks said so during a blind taste test with 6 different brands that I personally ran myself!), Amy & Brians Naturals, Taste Nirvana and Vita Coco. You can buy 12 pack’s on Amazon for about $2 a can. They are also available at health food stores including Whole Foods, gas stations, Costco, etc.

Pistachios and blanched almonds – I don’t eat a lot of nuts, but when I do I make sure it’s pistachios, blanched almonds or macadamias. These 3 are the best because they are lower in omega 6 fatty acids and full of nutrition. Pistachios are a complete protein, and easier on the wallet (not macadamias!) than most nuts it seems. I prefer blanched almonds because they are easier on my digestive system. This just means there is no skin which is poisonous to our digestive systems!

Avocado – Do I really need to explain this one? Extremely nourishing. A food that makes you go nomnomnom on it’s own. The base for guacamole. The world’s greatest smoothie ingredient (for texture and as a sweetness duller). Zero grams of sugar. Stock up on avocados (you may want to hide them from your roommates).

Potatoes of all kinds – Don’t you dare be afraid of potatoes! This fear of white potatoes is possibly my #1 pet peeve of all time. Potatoes are full of nutrition, easy to digest for most (peel the skin), versatile, quick energy, full of potassium (perfect for post-workout!) and more. Sure, they are a nightshade, but first ask yourself if you have arthritis or other joint pain. If you don’t then eat the damn potato! If you do, then proceed with caution. I eat ALL potatoes. Sometimes my meal is potatoes, butter and salt. I’m dead serious. It makes me feel awesome and it’s mighty tasty… WIN!

The best part? Potatoes are one of the cheapest foods on the planet.

Banana – This lovely food is everywhere. If you walk into 711 then you may have trouble finding quality fuel. However, based on my experience, most 711’s have bananas! Random gas stations will too. I’m sure you will easily be able to find them on campus as well. Stock up on them. Bananas are very nourishing and another food that is a decent source of potassium and magnesium.

Your favorite veggies and fruits – This is a no brainer. What do YOU like most amongst the thousands of different veggies and fruits? Always have these in stock if you can.

Your favorite spices and herbs – If you have any desire to make kick ass meals then you are going to want some spices and herbs on hand! I recommend you choose random spices and herbs and experiment with them. Be weird like myself and add cinnamon and honey to your eggs (it’s actually incredible!). My favorite spices include cinnamon, ginger, jamaican allspice, paprika and chili powder. I seem to nearly love them all. For herbs start with italian seasoning.

Organic spring mix – If you plan on making salads then do your best to find an organic spring mix. If you are going to buy anything organic then make it your greens. However, don’t stress if you can’t! You can find these at many grocery stores.

Organic spinach – This is my favorite green but be sure to mix up your greens. I LOVE adding a cup or 2 to smoothies.

What am I missing? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts. While this is a great list, I’m sure you have something to add to it so go for it!

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About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at

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