In today’s world it is just simply too easy to gain instant gratification in almost every aspect of our lives. When it comes to food, take a drive down any main drag through almost any town and you’ll find more fast food joints than you can count (and I bet you missed some too!). To maintain a healthy lifestyle, these can not be options in your life. In some cases though, you just can’t help yourself: road trips with the girls, late night drunk munchies, and don’t even get me started on finals week!
If you didn’t already notice, those three instances all have something in common: college! I am about to graduate, and as my father loves to remind me, I’ll be in the grown up world soon, so I need to start acting like I’ll be a grown up soon (gross, I know). One of the best characteristics to start developing now is planning. Too many times I have pulled all-nighters writing papers and studying when I could have been sleeping comfortably in my bed had I prepared properly and studied early.
Planning isn’t just important in scheduling your life, but also the diet of your life. Food is the fuel that keeps us going throughout the day. You can’t just last minute think of what you want to put into your body. Each decision should be thought out, making sure what you’re eating is not only immediately satisfying but also long-term satisfying.
I’m no nutrition health-nut by any means, but I know some basic stuff:
- Always eat breakfast (see previous post)
- Always pair carbs with protein
- Avoid sugar late in the day (including fruit)
- Just because it is healthy, doesn’t mean it has to taste bad
Since some of my classes run over meal times, I like to bring my lunch to school (another planning tip. This avoids the internal struggle between Salad Creations and Papa Johns).
This was all the food I used in my lunch, snack, and dinner for one day. When I went shopping, I didn’t know exactly what I would be eating for the next 5 days, but I did know the kind of food I would want to eat. And since I had been shopping and had food available, I was able to plan healthy meals for myself.
You have time to make healthy decisions while at the grocery store. No one is going to line up behind you in the produce section. Think about each item and what you can make with it. I try to stay with sale items unless its crucial (eggs, bread). The salads I make (almost daily) include apples and grapes, so I always stock up when those are on sale (and by the time it takes me to get to the end of 2 pounds of grapes, they’re usually on sale again).
*Remember* You don’t have to know exact meals. Just buy healthy ingredients and you’re set.
I know that I will get hungry every four hours so I plan ahead when I know I will be out of the house or on campus for that long. I’ve recently left a bag of almonds in my car so I can have a snack if I’m getting hungry early, or errands are taking longer than expected.
Also, think about where you are going to be when you eat your meal. I know that I will not have access to a microwave on campus so I can forget about bringing grandma’s leftovers with me to class (as upsetting as that is). Instead, I’ll bring a sandwich and fruit, or a salad.
The other two steps won’t get you anywhere if you don’t actually make the food. I have a handful of go-to recipes that I know I’ll enjoy if I’m in a time crunch. If I have extra time, I’ll google some ideas and either use those or modify them to make my own version.
Almost anything you make will taste good as long as you’re using ingredients that already taste good to you.