Remember that food is the fuel you need to perform at your best!
Fill your tank with healthy food…
Dr. Brian Wansink at Cornell University found that the average person makes more than 250 food-related decisions a day. While studying why people choose the foods they do, Dr. Karen Glanz found that taste, cost and often convenience outweigh nutrition. When you are making so many daily food decisions in the context of an irregular, packed schedule and a tight college budget, it is easy to see why cost and convenience can trump nutrition. What can you do if you want tasty, healthy food when time and money are in short supply?
Have a Plan to fit healthy meals into your schedule. Avoid going more than 4-5 hours without eating. If you let yourself get too hungry, your energy and concentration will plummet and it can be harder to make healthy decisions and avoid overeating when you are ravenous. And remember to make time for healthy eating! It may be more work on the front end, but your body and brain will thank you for it in the long run! Here are some tips to help you prioritize healthy eating:
- If you make sure your grocery list includes healthy foods (especially VEGETABLES and WHOLE GRAINS!) and you are more likely to eat them.
- Plan a balanced plate. Whether you are cooking for yourself or choosing something off the menu-fill ½ of your plate with veggies and fruits, ¼ with a protein, and ¼ with a grain. Does your meal pass the COLOR TEST? If the food on your plate ranges from beige to brown…you are not eating a healthy meal.
At the Grocery Store. Sticking to a grocery list and buying only what you know you will use can reduce unpleasant surprises at the register.
- Opt for items that you can enjoy for multiple meals. Canned black beans, (frozen) chicken breast, cheese, salsa, whole wheat tortillas, and lettuce are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Turn them into burritos, quesadillas, and a taco salad.
- Buy produce that is in season-it is often far less expensive than produce that is not in season. You can also produce on sale to freeze for later or for smoothies!
- Buy items in bulk when possible-this always cuts costs. Wards Super Market is a good place to start.
- Consider trying a new recipe with friends and roommates. Splitting up the ingredient costs and prep time can make it more manageable and you can all enjoy the leftovers.
Eating on Campus-know your options. Take a look around the dining locations that are most convenient for your schedule or check out Gator Dining’s website for a guide to smart food choices at locations across campus.
Pack a Snack. Snacking is often a key source of fuel for busy days and late night study sessions, but the cost can add up quickly if you have to buy snacks when hunger strikes. Have a stock of go-to snacks on hand:
- For more sustained energy, aim to choose snacks that provide at least two food groups (protein and carbohydrate). Examples: grapes and cheese, whole grain crackers and peanut or almond butter, cut veggies and hummus or yogurt and fruit.
- Pack a banana, apple, orange, carrot sticks or grapes – a great and inexpensive way to get some extra fruit and vegetable servings in.
- Make your own trail mix at home with nuts, dried fruit, cereal and chocolate chips for a satisfying snack that is easy to pack. You can change it up each week to fit your tastes and ingredients that are on sale.
- Bring a peanut butter, jelly and/or banana sandwich for a low cost snack that can keep you going until your next meal.
For more healthy eating tips….