Monday, August 23, 2010
Hi there folks (for anyone who may actually be reading this). Sorry for the long absence but my dad's lovely little pug knocked a glass of healthy, antioxidant filled red wine on my laptop and now a few vital keys are no longer working! Rather than copy and paste every single A, S, D, and W into a blog post, I had to wait until I could come use the computers at school. So, hopefully I should be able to stay a bit more on top of things now that I will be on campus every day and will have access to fully functioning keyboards :-)
So, since today is the first day of school I figured I would kick off with my healthy approach to school post! First off, I am not your typical college student in many ways. The fact that I am not 18 would be a big indicator of that. I went to school full time for a year when I was 19 at Rutgers University in New Jersey and then quit and started working and taking classes online at the community college for several years. I have spent most of the last 8 years working in finance and am just now going back to pursue a degree in my passion, acting. So needless to say, my 28 (almost 29) year old self stands out a bit next to all the fresh faced recent high school graduates! Also because of that, I am not living in a dorm and I am not on a meal plan.
However, in many ways this is a great thing when it comes to healthy living. I gotta tell you, when I did go to college when I was 19 I FULLY indulged in the crazy cafeteria eating that freshman can be so famous for! Can you say large soda cups full of soft serve ice cream and Reese's Pieces?? Oh yeah...I did it. So when I had lunch in the cafeteria here during orientation and was surrounded by basically the equivalent of fast food for $8 a meal I just said "No" and have decided to keep it in house. Now, when I was working in corporate America I packed a lunch just about every day and kept a cabinet full of healthy breakfast and snack options to eat at my desk. Oatmeal, tea, nuts, dried fruit, all the good stuff. I also had a fridge and a microwave to keep perishables and heat up my lunch. Of course, when I have nothing but a backpack to bring to school every day those are no longer options so I have to reevaluate my choices based on lack of cooling/heating and more limited space.
So here are the things I am doing immediately, and some medium term goals that I will be pursuing to make my return to school also conducive for maintaining and improving my health!
1) I am biking to and from school every day. I live about a mile from campus, and 1/2 mile is straight uphill and the other 1/2 mile is straight downhill so it is a great workout going both ways! It takes me about 15-20 minutes so right there is 2 miles and 30-40 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
2) I am eating a healthy breakfast and packing a morning snack and light lunch. I have all morning and early afternoon classes so I have to leave fairly early and am on campus for lunch every day. I am planning on a piece of toast and a green monster smoothie at 7am in the morning, a small bowl of plain yogurt with honey and homemade granola for a morning snack, and a light lunch of leftovers, a sandwich, or some sort of homemade dip/spread and crackers with a fruit or veggie for lunch. Compact, easy, doesn't require reheating, portable. Today I had my slice of toast and smoothie, brought a container of greek yogurt and granola for a snack, and packed some whole grain pasta with homemade tomato sauce that I filled with shredded veggies for lunch.
*** I will do a separate post tomorrow with the recipes for my smoothie and granola with real pictures***
3) I am cooking and prepping in advance so that it is easy to have healthy food already portioned and ready to grab in the morning. I made granola last night, I packed leftover pasta in a single serving tupperware, I had my waterbottle for my smoothie clean and ready to go. I wish I could think of a way to prep my smoothie the night before, but I really like the texture from having all the frozen fruit, and I think if I prepped it and kept it in the fridge instead it would lose that nice milkshakey texture for me.
***Any ideas here readers on how smoothie prep might be shortened or done in advance?***
4) In the more medium term goal I am going to start going to the gym at school in between classes. I have a nice hour long break every morning that would be perfect for doing a 1/2 hour strength training routine to supplement my biking and dog walking. I need to figure out the best way to pack my exercise clothes in addition to my textbooks and get it all here on my bike, but I would like to start that next week once I get settled into a routine and actually KNOW where all my classes are!
5) I am allowing myself small treats as I go so that nothing seems overly painful or restrictive. I bought a bag of individual Ghirardelli chocolate squares that are in my freezer and I have one in the evening with a glass of wine so that I have a high quality, yummy treat while I am watching a movie or reading a book (or doing schoolwork as I will be starting now!) I really appreciate that little bit of sweetness and I am finding that when I savor it and enjoy it I am not running back to the freezer to bust open the rest of the bag like I might if I was just scarfing down a gas station candy bar!
So there you have it! And I have to tell you, I am feeling great right now...I have been focusing on eating healthy, eating moderate meals, enjoying my food, indulging in great seasonal produce (I just LOVE living so close to Georgia and getting the sweetest, juicy peaches for $0.50 a lb!) and working on treating myself with kindness, caring and appreciation every day.
Now I just need a LITTLE more sleep (but hey, falling asleep at 11:30pm instead of 3:30am is an improvement!) and a job and I will be set! If anyone has any other suggestions on easy to pack, healthy, natural options for snacks and lunches it would be greatly appreciated or fast breakfast options. Thanks y'all :-)