With all of the combined stress and excitement that come with the back-to-school season, we sometimes forget that we still have to watch what we eat in between the hustle and bustle. I’m certainly no stranger to resorting to quick meals — Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiatos and Bacon, Gouda, and Egg sandwiches have become my commute-buddies — but hopefully I can lend a few pointers for healthier eating below!
Don’t skip breakfast.
Dietitians have been telling us forever that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they’re not lying. You really do need to start the day with a small meal in order to be productive in your classes so I would recommend something egg-related. They keep you full for a longer period of time than say a bagel would. Sure, a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese sounds more appealing to me than scrambled eggs but if you know that you don’t have a break in between breakfast and lunch, go for the protein.
Pack a snack or two.
If you’re running around from class to work to extracurriculars, you’re going to need to refuel at some point. I recommend the classic granola bar, but I also have a pretty specific recommendation. If you’re near a Momofuku Milk Bar location, purchase a tin of Karlie’s Kookies in the “Perfect 10” flavor. They’re made with all vegan ingredients like oats, agave, etc. I also like to substitute a kookie for breakfast if I’m rushing. Even though they’re technically cookies, there’s something granola bar-y about them. (Besides, having chocolate chip cookies for breakfast is a choice that I can make as an adult!)
Plan your grocery shopping with purpose.
Don’t go into the grocery store without a game plan. If you go in knowing exactly what you need to get, you’ll be less likely to pick out the unhealthy items. While you’re in planning-mode, make sure that you’re shopping list includes well-balanced meals. Admittedly, this is something that I have to work on myself, but it’s imperative to check all those boxes- fruits, veggies, protein, and then you can throw in a couple fun items too because you’re being good and balancing things out.
Let yourself cheat every once in awhile.
Just because you’re doing your best to be nutritious, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a piece of cake every now and again. It may even taste better after you’ve done the whole healthy-eating thing for awhile to let yourself go. Give yourself a little treat when you go out with friends or if you’ve had a particularly long day, I’m sure you’ve earned it!
My last piece of advice is to make sure that you’re exercising in conjunction with hitting every stop on the food pyramid; it’s important to keep a healthy physique as well. Good luck out there, Smart Girls! I’ll see you in line at the grocery store.
For more back-to-school advice and expertise, check out On Sale Now: Back-To-School Essentials, How To Create A Back-To-School Budget, and 9 Last-Minute Things To Do Before Leaving For College. For tips on what to do with the rest of your summer, read How To Make The Most Of August.