Speaking from experience, it can be ultra challenging to balance working, school and taking care of your body. The last thing you want to do after a full day of studying is prepare a vaguely nutritious meal involving chopping, sauteing, baking and even worse cleaning it all up. The time involved in food prep can easily steal valuable studying or working hours. Once the school year starts it can slowly become a slippery slope of grabbing a coffee for breakfast while sprinting to class or settling for take-out for dinner on your way home from a long day. We’ve all been there! However it is a plain and simple fact that creating some simple habits around your meal prepping can be not only beneficial to your wallet but make your brain and body stronger too.
You don’t have to spend hours laboring in the kitchen to turn out some easy and nutritious meals for the week. Here are a few simple nutrition tips to try out this semester.
On Sunday afternoon take 15 minutes to come up with a few meals for your week, including the ingredients you need to make them. You don’t have to make them too complicated! Set aside just a couple of hours to meal plan, grocery shop and pack some lunches to go.
Salads are easier than you think.
Big salads with protein are the best way to satisfy your hunger as well as feed your body and brain. My recommendation is to buy a bunch of various veg such as kale, carrots, cucumber, peppers, etc and fill up a bit container that you can store in the fridge and use whenever on the go. It honestly takes 3 minutes to grab a Tupperware container, fill it with tons of vegetables and some previously cooked meat and walk out the door. You can even buy smaller containers or little jars to store some salad dressing to grab on the go.
Protein is your friend.
It may sound a little strange but when in a rush to get out the door for a long day I will grab a container and fill it with chicken breast or organic turkey sausages I made earlier in the week (Sunday) and take it with me. Protein fills you up! It satisfies cravings, and is tremendously important for your body. On the Sunday afternoon cook off try roasting a whole chicken (this recipe is EASY and SIMPLE) and eat it throughout the week.
Don’t skip out on breakfast!!!!
This is bad news bears. Not only are you going to crash way faster but skipping breakfast causes your body to stress out more than normal. You already have enough on your plate, don’t add more unwanted stress by not taking the time to eat in the morning.
You say you aren’t hungry when you wake up? Well maybe try to refrain from eating 2 hours before going to sleep, allowing approximately 10- 12 hours of fasting time while you sleep. I promise that will help increase some breakfast hunger.
You say you don’t have time for breakfast? Wake up 20 minutes earlier, and try preparing your breakfast the night before so that you don’t have to spend time preparing it in the morning. Eating breakfast is absolutely worth more than those 20 extra minutes of sleep.
Make big batches of meals
This takes a bit of planning and time on Sunday or maybe another weeknight, but it helps. And this isn’t exclusive to just pasta dishes. In fact, may I just add in here that pasta is pretty empty for nutrients so try something new! Maybe borrow your parents or a friend’s slow cooker and make up some simple curry recipes (like this one) or a chili. If you plan on bringing something that needs heating up it’s a very good idea to purchase some glass to-go containers. STOP MICROWAVING PLASTIC!!! The potential consequences of this are awful. For your health right now and in the future (thinking about medical bills) either learn to eat your food cold or invest in glass containers. Besides, if you’ve eaten cold pizza before you can eat cold chicken, cold rice or cold beans.
The student lifestyle can be very busy, plain and simple. Incorporating some healthy eating tricks not only benefits your wallet but also will increase energy, mental clarity and endurance. Proper nutrition doesn’t have to be stressful, it just involves a little bit of time and planning. Your brain will thank you.
If these tips are not enough than potentially think about seeing a holistic nutritionist. He or she has hundreds of easy tips and resources to help with your busy schedule and keeping your body healthy and strong is worth the effort.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, CHN™ and have a transcript in Iridology from the Canadian Institute of Iridology. I achieved my diploma with honors in holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Calgary, Alberta. My vast knowledge of supplementation has been acquired from working in naturopathic clinics, health food stores and ongoing education through webinars, books and podcasts. It is important to me to have up to date information on the newest nutritional research and popular diets. I have also completed my 200hr yoga teacher training in Brazil in 2013 with Define Yoga.