With the last tests happening, semester projects coming together, final exams approaching, and the holidays around the corner, this is also the time of the semester that the drive and time to eat healthy plunges. However, perceived lack of time need not to a barrier to healthy eating.
A healthy body follows healthy behavior. The following guidelines can make it easier to eat healthfully instead of turning to convenient unhealthy food cravings.
First, make preparing your food easy and simple. For lunch and dinner, all you have to do is have a base of vegetables, a protein, and a complex carb. Dips (hummus, guacamole, etc.) and sauces can add variety to the meal. Use frozen or canned vegetables; they last longer and microwaving them is a huge timesaver. Additionally, instead of taking the time to cook meat, there are hormone, antibiotic, and preservative free deli meats you can buy (Simply Organic brand at King Soopers).
The slow-cooker is also a great option: pop in some raw meat, veggies, and spices in the morning. When you come home for dinner, your meal will already be hot and ready, and you will have left-overs for the rest of the week! Canned foods are another quick option for the slow cooker.
Develop a selection of a few cheap meals that are easy to prepare and that you enjoy. Aim to have those ingredients at home all the time. It is also helpful to pack healthy snacks for the day before you leave home so you do not have to buy anything.
Prepare some foods in advance. This does not mean you have to cook elaborate dinners for the entire week all at once. This means that on Saturday or Sunday, complete simple tasks such as cooking some meat for the week’s lunches and dinners, or hard-boiling eggs for the week’s breakfasts.
Make a grocery list, and buy all the ingredients and food for the entire week. This way you have all your food in advance, and you will not be in a bind during the busy moments of the week.
Here are some ideas for quick meals:
Breakfast: overnight oats, smoothie, protein bar, fruit and nut butter, or pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: veggies and meat with crackers, veggie and meat sandwich, canned bean soup
Dinner mix and match: veggies (always!), sweet potato (aluminum wrapped and microwaved for a few minutes), sauces (tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, olive oil), dips (hummus, guacamole), microwaved frozen veggies (add some olive oil, salt, and pepper), a whole grain, fruit
Snacks: veggies with hummus, fruit and nuts, or protein bar