Hey guys! Aren’t you glad it’s almost the weekend. Personally I couldn’t be happier.
This last week has been INSANE – 2 major exams and hardly a chance to catch my breath. But now it’s all over and I have time to sit by my computer and laze around for a bit.
The other day I was thinking about how my eating has changed since coming to uni. I’ve been putting a whole lot less thought into my food then I used to – and this is has it’s pluses and minuses.
I’ve definitely become less controlling over what I eat, and it’s an amazingly liberating feeling. I used to try so hard to make sure everything was “real food” that I put just a little bit TOO much focus into it – to the point I found it hard to make exceptions for food that I enjoyed but wasn’t “healthy” per se. Most of my meals n0w aren’t perfectly balanced and varied, and I don’t care most of the time. I have other, more important thing to occupy my mind. I do my best, and don’t worry about the rest.
I’m not going to lie – being busy and on a TIGHT budget makes it hard to eat healthy. Plus the collage lifestyle doesn’t make it easy. I tend to compare my food to that of the people around me – who eat amazingly small (albeit high-calorie) amounts of food. Sometimes it seems like such a bother to cook myself decent food, or even think about what to eat that I wish I didn’t have to do it at all. Of course, this is a messed up way of thinking, but I’m sure anyone who’s extremely busy can kind of understand where I’m coming from.
On the other hand I’m still finding out what works for me – way to balance class schedules, my IBS and sharing a kitchen space with 3 other people. Sometimes it means going with the flow and doing things that I’m not 100% comfortable with – like eating a night snack at 10:30 PM cuz I can’t sleep, or eating 6-7 times a day. Of course a part of my mind freaks out a little bit every time I do these things, but I know it’s what my body needs, so I go for it.
But with trial and error I’m finnaly finding out what works for me, and here are some tips gleaned from personal experience.
- Make time for a decent (e.i well fueled) breakfast. Personally I know some days I really don’t want to be bothered to think about breakfast so I dump some bran flakes into a bowl, pour milk over them, slice in a banana and call it breakfast. Although maybe this works for some people, I find myself hungry only 2 hours later, and snacking throughout the day. Today I ate a much higher calorie breakfast and it held me over for around 4-5 hours. Score! One one of my less filling, although tasty, breakfasts – bran cereal, soya milk, banana My winner breakfast – oatmeal topped with kefir, banana and almonds.
- Pre-pack or pre-think meals when you know you won’t have time or the opportunity to get something else to eat. Again you might have to sacrifice 15 minutes in the morning to make this happen – but it’s better that then spending the rest of the day hungry, tired and lacking in concentration – don’t you think.
- Stundent food – a sandwhich made with homemade bean spread, tomatoe and cheese
- Pre-cook food. I know eating leftovers the millionth time in the row might not seem like the most appealing thing – but it’s a budget friendly and healthy way to prepare meals when you’re tight on time. I pick a grain, a protein source and pre-cook that. Then I buy some veggies (frozen and fresh) and throw everything together food for a quick meal at the end of the day. I try to switch up the combinations as much as possible, but knowing I can come back to the dorm without needing to cook everything from scratch has been such a lifesaver for me sometimes. Leftover lunches – a brown rice, pinto bean, cauliflower dish, and a bean salad topped with a scrambled egg
- Listen to your hunger. Some days I need to eat only 4 times a day, others 7. It all depends on how tired I am, how substantial my meals are, how many hours I’m awake for. Stressing about it only make things worse. Food is only fuel that enables you body to function properly, not something that should make you feel guilty and stressed out. (In addition it’s good to keep in mind that factors like the temperature, physical AND mental activity levels along with your bodies overall well-being ties into how much fuel your body needs. Recently I’ve been needing A LOT more food that I’m used to, but I’m learning to be ok with it ) Recent snackables – fruit and almonds, multigrain rice crackers and almond butter – simple, yet satisfying
- Find out what keeps you full for longer amounts of times, and focus on fitting that food group into your diet. For me that’s protein, and although carbs seem to be the more convenient option when I’m looking for something quick – I realized it’s worth it for me to spend the time getting ahold of quality protein sources then finding myself hungry 1 hour later.
- Work with what you’ve got. I have hardly any kitchen equipment available here, so I usually end up eating pretty simple stuff and making any kind of bean spread, other complicated dishes at home. Then I just bring what I can from home, and work with what I’ve got the rest of the week.
Of course for other great tips Daniel did a great post for me here. He’s a lot more experienced than I am at this point.
So wish me luck, as I’m trying to find the balance and what really works for me. And start counting days before the weekend. It’s coming soon guys 🙂
What grain should I pre-cook for the week ahead? As much as I love brown rice I’ve had it for 2 weeks in a row now and I think I should take a break 😛