So, you want to go keto or low-carb, but you’re in grad school and don’t know where to start… well, you can start right here! Going keto in college is actually pretty easy, given that you allow yourself the grace and the time to adjust to a different way of thinking about food. Let’s get started.

First, what is keto?

Keto is a low-carb, moderate-protein, higher-fat way-of-eating (that’s a lot of hyphens) that helps to regulate insulin levels, suppress hunger, and reduce inflammation in the body. For more answers to some common questions about keto, I highly suggest checking out Diet Doctor’s FAQ Guide – it’s really good!

Is keto hard?

Keto is no harder to follow than any other targeted meal plan. I follow a macro-focused approach to keto, and by that, I mean that I eat foods that fit within my targeted keto macros for the day. I’m less restrictive with processed foods, though I know that cutting those things out leads to better results. Sometimes, I just want to eat a hot dog. Sue me. Since it fits into my macros, I let the addition of processed foods slide.

You can learn more about which macros you should be following for keto in my eBook, Basic Bitch Keto. GET YOUR COPY >>>

Finding keto foods on college campuses

On most college campuses, you’ll have access to a dining hall or two (complete with a salad bar and all of the pizza your heart desires) and several fast-food options. These are some of the wonders of being a college student that I miss most now that I have to pay for every meal (and not just swipe a prepaid card for it).

Here’s what our college offers, as far as dining options go. I’ll also include the things I would prefer to order from these places to keep it keto.

  • Boar’s Head Deli: Chef salad; chicken caesar salad, no croutons; chipotle chicken salad; deli meat and cheese by the pound
  • Chick-fil-A: (disclaimer: I don’t eat here because I don’t support their political endorsements, but if I did eat here, this is what I would choose) Grilled nuggets; bunless grilled sandwich; market salad with italian
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels: Black coffee; any egg or deli sandwiches, no bun
  • Convenience Stores: Diet sodas; waters; Gatorade Zero; Bai drinks; Meat and cheese cups; almonds
  • Mein Bowl (Asian): AVOID
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill: Salad with pork, chicken, or steak, add pico, guac, bacon, peppers, onions, jalepenos, sour cream, ranch
  • Steak ‘n Shake: Bunless burger or chicken sandwich; bunless hot dog
  • Marble Slab/Great American Cookies: AVOID
  • Fresh Twist (Pretzels): AVOID
  • Dining hall: A big fat DIY salad from the salad bar; bunless burgers; veggie-only asian bowls; omelettes

This will make or break your success on keto in college

All of these food options are important to understand and navigate, but what you really need to know about keto in college is this: you will not be successful if you don’t equally prioritize sleep and relaxation. College puts enormous pressure on students, and sometimes it’s all too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of assignments, clubs, and also working to provide for yourself.

You have got to make time for sleep and recreation if you’re making a lifestyle change like this. My best tip is to be a little selfish. Block off an hour a day that’s only for you, and don’t tell anyone that it’s your hour. Just tell them you’re busy. Use that hour to lay on the quad, go to the library and read for fun, or play with your dog. And make sure to get some sleep! All-nighters hurt you more than help you.


Keto in college isn’t any harder than adapting to any other “diet” or meal plan. What’s hard is staying sane with all of the other stress that’s on you. Make sure to establish your “why” before starting, and that you’re doing keto for the right reasons. Check out my last post on NSVs to learn how to set goals the right way so that you can stay committed to them.

Are you doing keto in college? Introduce yourself in the comments, and let me know if you have more tips!

Until next time,

<3 RKF