Whenever I tell people I am a nutrition major they quickly become interested in what my diet is.
Do I only eat all raw fruits and vegetables? Do I bulk up on protein? To help you understand what a nutrition major may eat, I laid out a basic outline of my meals in an average week.
Just to make it clear, I am a strict vegetarian. But every nutrition major eats differently based off of our bodies and what we believe in. The most important part of nutrition is knowing yourself and what you know is best for you.
I am not a huge breakfast person. Instead, I opt for on-the-go meals. I either buy one of my favorite breakfast bars or I make homemade granola bars that are full of whole grains and have a balance amount of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. While I may not be a huge breakfast person, it is the most important meal of the day and I believe it is important not to skip.
Eating a nutritious lunch on the go can be difficult. One trick to having a healthy lunch is planning ahead. I usually have a sandwich or salad. Grab some greens, whole grains, and protein and you'll be good to go. Remember, the less packaged foods you eat, the less additives that go into your body.
Every Sunday I take the time to make a dinner that will last me a few days. In addition to saving time, this helps with portion control. I like to make quinoa or a corn pasta, vegetables, and some form of protein. This was my delicious beans and quinoa stir-fry with avocado from the other day. I like quinoa because one cup of dry quinoa can last almost a whole week once cooked.
Greek yogurt is one of my go-to's for breakfast. Not only does one serving size container have 10-14 grams of protein, but Greek yogurt also has plenty of healthy probiotics for our gut health. I like to toss some granola and fruit on top and eat it on my way out the door.
A way to lower your sugar intake is to buy plain Greek yogurt and add a drizzle of honey, rather than buy a flavored yogurt.
Although lunch is possibly the hardest meal during college to sit down and enjoy, I try to make sure I fuel my body for the rest of the day. It is helpful to plan the night before, so that you don't end up eating junk food. Ready-made salad mixes make for a great go-to and they can be incredibly versatile.
I am an avid sweet potatoes fan and I think every college student should have them around. I like to pop mine in the microwave for a few minutes and then place them on the stove to make them crispy. Sweet potatoes are a complex carb and pair well with tasty proteins like black beans. They also work well as a yummy snack like sweet potato fries.
While packaged bars are not ideal due to their high sugar content and artificial flavors, I buy one of the exceptions, KIND bars. KIND bars are made with all natural ingredients, contain plenty of nutrients, and can be a good source of fiber. My favorite KIND bars are the Apple Cinnamon and Pecan, or the Almond and Coconut.
One of the tastiest and easiest ways to get vegetables into your diet is to roast them. Roasting vegetables adds a rich flavor and a little crunch. I like to roast broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes for an easy lunch. Choosing whole vegetables versus a processed sandwich is a great way to eat healthier.
To celebrate getting all the way to the middle of the week, I like to make baked eggplant. My favorite way to make this delicious and nutritious vegetable is by roasting it with tomatoes, bell peppers, and a lot of mozzarella cheese. The more colors you can incorporate into a meal, the more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals you are likely to get out of each bite.
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a big bowl of granola drenched in almond milk. The granola provides some fiber and a quick source of energy, while the almond milk adds some protein and calcium. Topping the granola with fruit—dried or fresh—is extra tasty. When buying granola it is important to check the sugar content because of the heavy use of different sugars.
Trader Joes—the godsent grocery store for college students—has a great section of fresh and ready-to-go meals. Salads, wraps—and my favorite—spring rolls, are a quick way to get in some vegetables during your busy afternoon. Trader Joes has cheap produce and dry goods that can be made into tasty lunches, like homemade burrito bowls.
Thursday nights have become the new Friday and that calls for happy hour and half-priced sushi. Eating fish and seaweed are two great ways to get in your iodine and omega-3s. Eat the ginger that comes on your plate to cleanse your palate and help you digest your food. But be careful, that appetizer of tempura vegetables can have up to 23 grams of fat.
Fridays call for brunch after my morning classes. I usually order something protein-rich to get my weekend started right. My go-to brunch consists of eggs, black beans, and of course, avocado. A great excuse to get brunch with friends is that eating in groups has been shown to have psychological and physical benefits.
Why shouldn't I go ahead and treat myself one more time? Being a nutrition major teaches you about the importance of loving your body and being aware of what goes into it. I know that eating right makes me feel good about myself and helps me to become a successful student. I eat a well rounded-diet that includes foods such as this vegan sushi and peanut sauce.
To finish off a week of studying, homework, and dying in microbiology, I remind myself that there is more to life than school. I grab some friends and get a delicious dinner of eggplant and pesto pizza. It is all about eating right and allowing yourself to things you don't eat daily. Although, it is tempting to eat pizza everyday.
I feel incredibly blessed to be a student apart of a wonderful nutrition program. Knowing what makes me feel good and how to balance my diet makes me proud to be a nutrition major.