My whole life prior to college I had been as skinny as a stick. I was playing sports daily and eating the food my mom cooked for me, so it was never hard to make healthy eating a part of my life. Unfortunately, I expected the same results in college. The only issue was that I had stopped playing sports and started eating anything and everything that was cheap and sounded good. I eventually realized that in order to feel comfortable in my own skin again, I had to make some changes— a realization I’m sure many of us can relate to. 

Going to the gym soon became a new pastime of mine (and a very necessary one). However, what I struggled with the most was teaching myself how to eat healthy… while also enjoying it. It wasn’t necessarily the taste of healthy foods that I struggled with, it was more that I would get bored very quickly because I fell into a routine of making the same few healthy meals that I knew how to make.

In order to spice things up (no pun intended), I decided to start experimenting with my cooking and trying to find ways in which I could make healthy eating more enjoyable.

Prepare Mason Jar Meals

pickle, salt, herb, oil, garlic, vinegar
Bernard Wen

Mason jars are my favorite because they can be used for such a wide variety of things. One of my favorite ways to use them is to stuff them with food. You might have seen these mason jar to-go meals on Instagram before, but if you haven’t, I definitely recommend doing a quick #masonjarmeals Insta search for some neat inspiration.

Besides getting some Insta-worthy pics for your feed, preparing your meals in mason jars adds a little excitement to eating clean. It allows you to stack up practically any ingredients, or leftovers, and bring them with you to class, work, on a road trip, etc. They’re fun for salads, quinoa bowls, breakfast yogurt parfaits, and so much more. You can also use your mason jars to meal prep for the week, which for some people is the easiest way to stay on track with eating healthy. 

Experiment with Salsas

salsa, sauce, vegetable
Sara Tane

I have realized through this process of discovering new ways to eat clean, that adding some sort of sauce or salsa to a meal can make a world of a difference. Trying to eat a bowl of veggies has never been easy for me, so I had to find ways to trick my tastebuds into thinking the taste was great.

For me, Trader Joe’s "salsa verde" does the trick. I can now easily eat a huge plate of green vegetables and actually enjoy it, mainly because of how delicious the salsa is that I pour on top.

Yes, you have to be careful not to pick the ones that are loaded with fats and sugars because that would defeat the whole purpose, but there are definitely some great options out there that will add the missing touch to your healthy meal. If not, you can also always make your own.

Make Green Smoothies!

pickle, vegetable, cucumber
Jasmine Tang

Next time there is a local farmer’s market in your area, I encourage you to go stalk up on leafy greens - kale, spinach, chard, bok choy, etc. Then, use those fresh, nutrient-filled greens to make smoothies throughout the week. There are hundreds of delicious recipes online that you can play around with, or you can try mixing and matching different ingredients to create your own original smoothie.

I personally love adding fruit to my smoothies, or a splash of fresh orange juice, in order to make the taste even more exciting. Once you start experimenting, you’ll notice how amazing green smoothies really are. Not only can you make them taste delicious (and I mean that), but you can also use them as a meal replacement or as a wonderfully nutritious snack.

It’s one thing to eat healthy, but it’s another to actually enjoy it. Luckily, there are so many different ways to add a little excitement to your diet that will not only make your food more enjoyable, but will also keep you coming back for more. I’d say that’s a win.