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When I first started living on my own after going off to college, I was clueless when it came to feeding myself on a regular basis. In high school, I was usually grabbing food on the go and only eating one meal a day, along with some random snacking. I lived pretty far away from my school and didn’t have much spare time in my school days, so eating at home was unrealistic. As a cheerleader and an on-stage performer, I was also quite active, so eventually the lack of nutrients caught up to me and really took a toll my body. I remember feeling overwhelmingly weak and exhausted all the time, while experiencing some related health issues that made my day-to-day activities harder than they should have been.

When I realized how I was feeling was due to a mix of self-infliction and ignorance, I began making small changes in the type of food I ate and the way I approached meals as a whole. Food, to me, used to be something I looked at as a way to soothe my hunger, rather than a way to nourish and fuel my body. Since this revelation, though, I have learned (and am still learning each day) ways to prioritize my health by getting in all of my meals and thinking consciously about what goes into my body.

Plan Ahead

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I’m sure you have heard that it is important to shop for groceries with a plan and a well thought-out list. That would be correct, but what does that necessarily entail? I personally find it helpful to start off the list with a brain dump of things that need to be restocked in your kitchen. For example, bananas are a staple in my weekly diet, so they are constantly an item featured on my grocery lists.

After the must-haves are out of the way, it’s time to decide on my meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner. To do this, I take a look at my local Publix weekly ad and jot down key ingredients or anything that stands out to me. While continuing to keep the ad accessible, I search for dinner recipes that might coordinate with sale items. There are many online resources, including social media sites, that include recipes and meals for any type of diet, so get searching and bookmark some must-try’s! For breakfast, I usually stock up on varieties of fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, toppings for toast and other stuff. When it comes to lunch though, I like to quickly throw together a salad, a sandwich or a random dish with leftovers I can find in the fridge. If not, lunch is the meal of the day that I am least hesitant about purchasing the day of. I’d rather spend the extra money, than be starving if I don’t happen to be home for my lunchtime.

Grocery Shop

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The next part is my favorite, so grab a friend, some reusable bags, a mask and your shopping list, and head to your favorite grocery store. For me… this is Publix. The BOGO deals are unbeatable and the vibes in there never fail me. Stick to your list, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself if something catches your attention, seems reasonable and will definitely get eaten!

Plan Meals Into Your Day

Have you ever been halfway through your day, and you realize you have skipped not only what should have been your first meal, but soon lunchtime will have passed by as well? This has to do with the fact that your busy planner had reminded you to do everything but fuel your body effectively. That being said, it is important to set aside adequate time each day to eat and also to prepare to eat.  

Get Cooking

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It may seem like the easiest step, but many times it’s actually quite hard. Fighting the urge to reach for a bag of chips or run to Chik-fil-A when you’re not in the mood to cook at home, isn’t always attainable.

Tip: Spices, herbs and fresh veggies are my go-to supplies when I need to add extra flavor and nutrients to a meal. (I add these at random and hope for the best in most instances!)


I cannot stress enough how much I have grown to appreciate and utilize leftovers. It has gotten to the point that I save even the tiniest bit of food if it hadn’t gotten eaten. This is due to the fact I like to keep random items available to throw into my lunch dishes, like mentioned before. It helps me save money and keep my lunch meals diverse.

Focusing on my food intake closely has improved my life in so many ways. I have become obsessed with eating, seen a difference in my appearance and I also feel better in my day-to-day activities.

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Junior at THE Florida State University!
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