One Full Day of Easy, Healthy, and Convenient Eating in College

People tend to underestimate the difficulty of maintaining a health conscious, balanced, and nutritious diet as a student. Specifically, as a student in DC, food and groceries are EXPENSIVE, and more time spent purchasing, preparing, consuming and cleaning up for/from a meal is time that isn’t being spent on homework, jobs, extra curriculars, and class. While it is easy to measure meals as a much lower priority in comparison to the many other departments which consume our lives, as soon as you start taking a small portion of your day to pay attention to what you are putting in your body, you may see and feel some groundbreaking differences. Now do not fear, I recognize that as motivated and young students we do not have the time, or the skills, to slave over an elaborate meal three times a day, seven times a week. Below, I have listed three simple, fast, and filling meals you can make at home, along with a generally health conscious on the go alternative. 

Now obviously I am no nutritionist or “health expert” by any means, so take what I am saying with a grain of salt. Despite that, I am simply a college student that has learned through experience which food groups my body best operates off of, what tastes good to me, what fills me up, and a few easy and health conscious recipes that include them. 

To Start Off: Coffee 

Coffee: Let’s be real with ourselves, we are college students. Coffee is key. It is so easy for extra sugar and sweetened dairy to sneak into our coffee orders through flavoring, excess sweetened milk, along with the addition of whatever sugar you are adding. May I suggest ditching the sugar and opting for a cold brew with a plant based milk, nitro cold brew (the foam is delicious and naturally added without the addition of milk), or if you really need to feel like the “coffee” flavor is subtle enough, a cappuccino with a plant based milk is smooth, delicious, and much lower in sugar than say a caramel iced coffee. 

Breakfast: 

AT HOME The “lazy” omelette: A two egg scramble with spinach and any additional veggies of choice (I suggest cherry tomatoes). What better way to start your day with protein, healthy fats, and greens?! Egg whites are a great source of protein, egg yolks are a great source of healthy fat and spinach is loaded in fiber and calcium. Throw everything in a pan and scramble it around with some salt and pepper. Voila. 

EATING OUT 

The Peets crustless tomato and quinoa quiche: 10 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar, 100 percent delicious 

Lunch: 

AT HOME An open faced sandwich: Two slices of Eziekel or brown rice bread with avocado and sliced turkey breast (or a lean protein of choice) 

Add it to a side of snap peas or baby carrots and a piece of fruit The bread is a fiber packed healthy carb that will give you energy and taste delicious. Avocado is a great source of healthy fat and the turkey is a lean and filling protein. Extra veggies never did any harm and some natural sugar will give you the extra boost you need to get you through the midday slump. 

EATING OUT 

The Whole Foods salad bar is loaded with options to build your own nutrient packed, filling meal: shoot to have something green, a protein source, and a fat source. If you are anything like me a carb is always calling- so I would suggest picking up a bag of grain free chips while you are there. Some of my favorite brands are: Siete, Hippeas, and From The Ground Up Cauliflower Tortilla chips (the nacho flavor tastes like Doritos). 

CARBS ARE NOT EVIL: we are students and need them to give us energy during our long days. 

SNACKS: Nuts (almonds/cashews), protein shakes, dried fruit, greek yogurt, rice cakes with peanut butter and berries or banana on top 

Dinner: 

AT HOME My new favorite thing has been roasting sweet potato. Sounds painfully simple, I know. But that is what is great about, wrap a sweet potato in tin foil and put it in an oven for 45 minutes at 425 degrees, and finish a couple other assignments while it cooks. Sear a piece of chicken breast in olive oil with salt and pepper for some easy protein and microwave some frozen veggies for a balanced and hearty meal. Dinner is served. 

EATING OUT 

As college students, eating dinner out can sometimes be considered a treat, or a time specifically set aside for socializing and unwinding after a long day. If you are having a craving, satisfy it, there is no detrimental reason not to. However, if you are looking to unwind, while still staying on a structured track, try to manipulate a meal, even if that means altering a few things, that consists of a healthy fat, a source of lean protein, a healthy carb, some fiber, and a veggie. You have to enjoy life, just maybe consider doing so with the addition of a few conscious thoughts too.