Integrative nutritionist, Jennie Miremadi, is rounding out our three part series on college wellness and campus survival with this guide to the ultimate snack kit. Grab her savvy survival tips for college-bound wellness babes — an essential guide to how, where and what to eat. Whether it’s a long day on campus or a marathon study sesh, stashing the right snacks can be a game changer for well-being. Set yourself us for success with Jennie’s do’s and don’t, and explore her other guides for total college wellness here and here…
DO: Snack Smart
Instead of grabbing unhealthy snacks that might be easily accessible in your dorm or around campus, create your own snack survival kit with nutrient-rich options that will fill you up and won’t spike your blood sugar. Some great choices include nuts, seeds, single-serving nut butter squeeze packets from Artisana Organics, no-sugar-added jerky and organic olive snack packs.
If you’re open to doing a little bit of prep, here are some other quick and easy snack ideas: strawberry almond coconut trail mix, chia seed puddings, cans of organic roasted chicken breast with lemon, salt and pepper, and half an avocado with lemon, salt and pepper.
DO: Cook For Yourself
If you go to college never having cooked before, it can feel overwhelming to have to prepare your own meals. Don’t let this deter you from eating healthy food. Start by making quick and easy meals that only require very basic cooking skills. Focus on delicious, easy-to-prep options like chia seed puddings, smoothies and simple nutrient-rich salads while you slowly learn how to make more complex meals.
A great way to up your cooking game is by watching YouTube videos that show you step by step how to make a particular meal or practice a specific cooking skill. Whether you want to learn how to roast vegetables, make cauliflower rice, or skewer your own chicken kabobs, there are YouTube videos demoing how to do it. If you pick one new meal to master each week, by the end of the school year you’ll be a pro.
Don’t: Go Overboard With Kitchen Gadgets
You need food storage containers to keep your food fresh and organized, and cooking supplies to help you prepare healthy meals. But don’t go overboard in buying kitchen gadgets! Stick with the basics — you can always add to your collection if you find that you’re missing something.
Cooking Supplies: Set up your kitchen with some basic cooking equipment, including a baking sheet, glass baking dish, cutting board, vegetable peeler, vegetable grater, can opener, pot holders, measuring cups, measuring spoons, cooking utensils and a set of knives. For cookware, try Green Pan’s ceramic non-stick pots and pans — they’re made without toxic chemicals and won’t release toxic fumes into your food. If you’re going to make smoothies and salad dressings, invest in a blender.
Food Storage:Stock up on Mason jars — they’re an inexpensive way to store nuts, seeds, grains and other pantry items. If you don’t have much space to store your food, consider getting some non-toxic, durable storage containers from UConserve or New Wave Enviro. If your dorm isn’t equipped with a mini-fridge, purchase one so that you have the option to store fresh food.
Don’t: Multitask while Eating
When you have a busy schedule, it can be tempting to multitask while you eat. But eating when you’re distracted can set you up to eat past the point of hunger because you aren’t focusing on your body’s hunger signals. Rather than eating during class, while you’re walking on campus, or studying for an exam, take time out to have your meal.
Put away your computer, your phone and your books, and find a place to sit down without distractions. Eat your food slowly and focus not only the taste of your food, but also on the hunger levels in your stomach.When your stomach is satisfied, stop eating. Remember that you can always go back to your food later if you’re still hungry. Discover more tips for mindful eating here.