This post is a bit random, but I thought it'd be fun to share what a busy college student eats in a day and how I maintain a healthy, low-calorie diet.
Freshman 15 (more like freshman 40) hit me unexpectedly, mostly because I had a toxic self-care mindset--I'm considering expanding on this topic later. What this means is that I'd go to the dining halls and pig out on anything and everything that was available because "I deserved it". I'd go back for seconds, thirds, and I'd also "treat myself" to big, sugary lattes at the campus Starbucks. Slowly, steadily, I gained weight, and I also started experiencing breakouts, fatigue, and extreme anxiety.
Of course, at the time I didn't work and lived on campus, so my only options were the dining halls and flex (money that you can use on fast food/Starbucks in the campus union). But, I learned that overeating, or eating too much of the wrong foods, can have extreme effects on one's mood, mindset, and overall health.
What I deserved was not to pig out, but to eat mindfully and indulge in healthy, nutritious foods.
You can have anything in moderation, of course. But as I work my way back down to a size I feel confident and healthy in, I've found that there are so many good foods that aren't unhealthy, sugary, or starchy. Healthy foods, in my opinion, are much more delicious!
By eating whole foods and maintaining a colorful diet, I've found that I have so much more energy, can wake up and go to sleep easier, and am in an overall better mood. Also, my skin has been looking tremendously better.
Anyways. The main reason I'm writing this post, too, is because rarely do I see anyone actually post realistic healthy diets. Even my favorite food bloggers have "simple recipes" that take an hour or more to make or include tons of ingredients that are only available at specific grocery stores.
I shop at Winco or Aldi or Walmart of any discount store I can get my hands on. While Trader Joe's will always have my heart, saving money is my go-to.
My diet and eating habits have been relatively kept quiet, as I feel like they're not something to be shared. However, I felt this post may be helpful to some who are also embarking on a healthy eating journey and feel like they don't have the time or money to begin.
I'm still figuring it out, slowly getting used to taking the time to cook for myself and master my grocery list, but I can at least share what I (most usually) eat in a day to stay at around1,800 calories while taking in good nutrition and a variety of foods!
What I eat in a day
7:30 am ~ Coffee
First, of course, is coffee!
It's surprisingly filling, and I sip on it while I'm getting ready for the day.
Most of the time, I'm running a bit late, especially since I've been working out in the mornings (yay!), so coffee is usually what I drink for my "first breakfast".
Also, it helps me to wake up and take some time for myself in the morning.
10 - 11 am ~ Breakfast
For breakfast, I'll either eat a protein bar during class or while walking there, but yesterday, I had a little fun and made this delicious, yummy meal.
1 cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (a tub for $3)
1 tsp of blue agave nectar (or honey) stirred into yogurt ( a large bottle for $2, honey is about $6)
a decent amount of cranberry granola (or any granola) ( a large back for less than $3)
I separate the yogurt from the granola until I sit down, and I sprinkle the granola over.
This makes for a nutritious breakfast full of probiotics and energizing oats, dried fruit, and nuts. And it's incredibly filling!
1 pm ~ Morning snack
While in class, I like to munch on a snack. This can be dried chickpeas, some fruit, or SkinnyPop. Yesterday, I mixed cranberry trail mix (a large bag for $3) with banana chips (a large bag for $4), and it was so yummy!
I probably had about a cup of this.
And yes, I'm snacking at lunchtime. This is because my classes run until 2, and I wait until I work to eat lunch at my desk.
2:30 pm ~ Lunch
My lunch, which was accidentally a little small, consisted of an apple ( a bag for $3) and some baby carrots (a pack of 4 for $1.50), along with some Positive Energy tea. I usually pack a sandwich or tuna for lunch, but that morning I under-packed.
And that's okay, it happens. It's realistic.
Regardless, it filled me up until 5 pm, when I got off work.
5:30 ~ Afternoon snack
So, um... well. You see, this "snack" is a little odd. Yes, I'm aware.
I got home and suddenly was ravenous. I was going to go grocery shopping later that day, so I had only a unique variety of food left.
But, let me tell you ~ this was DELICIOUS!
I had two fried eggs (courtesy of my roommate, who's mom raises chicken... they were so fresh and flavorful) the rest of my Mediterranean olives (a decent container for $3) and some whole-grain crackers with chia seeds, sesame seeds, and quinoa (a big bag for $3). I later got hungry and ate the rest of the crackerswhile thrift shopping, whoops!
I also had some Tumeric Vitality tea.
9:30 pm ~ Dinner
I ate dinner much later than expected, but thrift shopping and grocery shopping with Jared took longer than originally expected. I picked up a bag of Asian Seaseme salad, which made 2 bowls of salad for both Jared and I. The bag of salad costs me about $1.
While the dressing was a big sugary, it's always a good idea to take in greens whenever possible! It was filling, yummy, and healthy.
I also finished up my 4th bottle of water--a little daily challenge I've had for myself. By drinking more water, we'll experience less random cravings, feel full faster, as well as improve our skin and offer our body valuable nutrients. And, with my Brita water bottle, I can refill my bottle anywhere and everywhere because of the built-in filter. I love this bottle, yall!
I didn't eat this yesterday, but I usually make a smoothie twice or three times a week. It fills me up and is a great, healthy snack!
1 scoop of Shakeology (my mom gifted this to me when I moved into my apartment, so of course it's optional)
10 oz of low cal almond milk (or any milk)
half a cup of frozen fruit (I love tropical fruit or mixed berries)
some baby spinach or kale
I'm telling y'all--it's so yummy, and perfect when you're hanging around the house. You can sip on it while lounging, studying, or getting ready for the day.
Whether you're in high school, college, or are a busy, working adult, I hope this post helped ease you to the idea of eating healthy and more mindfully!
The idea of buying healthy groceries and making my own food frightened me because I thought I'd do it wrong or wouldn't have enough money. But, I've honestly saved so much money and time after making healthier choices. I spend between $45 - $60 every two weeks on groceries! It's crazy.
Also, a few weeks ago, I made myself chicken breast, quinoa, and steamed veggies, and it costed less than Jared's McDonalds... not kidding.
I also tried to reveal just how random and messy my eating routine can be, with both college and work tugging at my schedule. Because rarely do people really have perfect, organized meals planned out and cooked perfectly.
Even today, my lunch was yogurt, organic oatmeal (which I think went bad), and a clementine.
But, that's just life! It may be a little all-over-the-place, but we can still make good choices along the way to better our minds, bodies, and souls.
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What are you snacking on right now? Let me know below! :)