August is here and we all know what that means… School is right around the corner. As an incoming college freshman, I wouldn’t expect myself to have advice for people going through things for the first time as me, but schooling will be a little different this year.
I spent my senior year of high school taking online courses at my local community college in order to get a few credits ahead and ended up with much more experience than expected! Now that courses will be online for the foreseeable future, I might just have the tips and tricks that returning students need!
But before we get into the nitty-gritty of online courses, what are we going to do about our diet situation? And no, I don’t mean taking part in a fad diet, I mean the entirety of our diet and how we curate our meals for our busybodies.
Working from home has been my strong suit for a while now as a lifestyle blogger and taking courses online last year has definitely given me a leg up for this year. Before, people would question why I enjoyed working from home and doing online schooling and ostracised the idea of carrying on in that way. Now it seems to be the safest and most logical option for those with the opportunity to do so.
So other than creating a workable space, what steps should we be taking to instill success in our days working or learning from home? Eat well and maintain a nutritious diet, dedicate time to study, and give yourself enough downtime so you don’t get frazzled.
- Oatmeal bowls with fresh fruit
- Egg omelets/ egg sandwiches
- Granola and Greek yogurt with fruit
- Breakfast sandwiches/ loaded bagels
Find one type of meal to stick with throughout the week with different variations so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating leftovers all week. Start your morning with protein and experiment with flavor combos—try going fruity or sticking to a classic PB+C combo!
Click here to be taken to my Instagram where I tell all about the flavor combos and best tips on how to achieve awesome breakfast bowls! Make it a meal to get excited for and go for variety first thing in the morning. Even if you like to keep things simple and prefer cereal over oats or yogurt and granola, it doesn’t have to be plain! I dress mine up with fresh fruit as often as possible and finding one with dried fruit or nuts in it is always a win for me.
While it is argued that breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day, it is the first!
This gives us the opportunity to start our morning off well with good food and give ourselves the energy to be productive.
Don’t let a single cup of coffee fuel your busy work schedule when you could have a delicious plate of food with it too!
- Hearty sandwiches
- Pasta dishes
- Salads (main or side)
Lunch should be filling enough to fuel your afternoon chores and push you through the busier part of the day. Let your lunch energize you and make it something to look forward to! There are so many delicious, filling foods that allow you to mix and match throughout the week while reusing the same prepped ingredients!
Salads are a great way to empty out the rest of the fridge and use up veggies before they can go bad, but sometimes we can’t get to everything! Pop your veggies in the freezer for later and save chopped fruit for smoothies. Thanks to my freezer, I’ve got a whole fridge full of smoothie ingredients left and I’ve got plenty of veggie options prepped in the freezer for quick and easy use.
I’ve done my fair share of meal prepping before and learned very early on that there are aspects that I don’t enjoy. It’s a great way to maintain meal organization throughout the week and save time cooking good food, but to some degree, it limits food freedom. I tried many “closed” prep meals which I eventually stopped, but when prepped in a way that allows you to pick more or less food depending on the day, it works very well.
I have found that shredding all the lettuce you will want for salads or chopping the ingredients you need for different meals and saving those in containers is more practical than prepping the entire meal and saving portions of it in containers. This allows me to grab more food when I’m hungrier and waste less on days when I haven’t found myself with hunger pangs. It is important that while eating your prep-style lunches you are not limiting your normal consumption for the sake of aesthetics.
- Pasta dishes
- Homemade pizza (again!)
- Chicken breast with two sides
- One-pan wonders!
Alright, I know we’re supposed to be adults now, but that doesn’t mean dinosaur chicken nuggets are off the table. Adulting is hard and finding a way to keep dinner something to look forward to can be hard, but not impossible! Draw the line that separates a “lunch food” from a “dinner food” and stick to what you have in mind, or mix and match as you please.
For me, dinner is usually my biggest meal of the day and it is usually separated into food groups. Sometimes it’s one main dish, like pasta with garlic bread and meatballs. Other times it’s a side salad with a piece of steak and some rice/veggies on the side.
My main concern is to avoid eating the same thing more than three times a week. Leftovers almost always taste fine if properly put away and we all love saving food instead of wasting it, but there’s something that’s just plain unappealing about having the same food(s) so many times in a week.
Reusing side dishes like salad/rice is a good way to eat a variety of foods while experimenting with main dishes. You also won’t spend as much time prepping and cooking and could even save a few bucks in the long run!
The key to dinner is variety. Don’t make it something that’s boring to make and boring to eat!
Make your plate something to look forward to; something that lets your night come to a good end but keeps you fueled for whatever life throws at you in the afternoon.
- Banana Bread
Just because it’s tough being a student and managing our finances doesn’t mean we can’t have something to satisfy that sweet tooth! There are plenty of ways to do so while spending less time and money than it takes to get your favorite pint of ice cream!
These are some of my signature sweets which can be found in the fridge at any point in time!
You’ll never need for a specific reason to make them, but they make a great treat for those little moments when you’re proud of yourself or your circumstance. Even if it’s just for the sake of reaching for your biggest craving, having homemade sweets is a must-have.
Plus, it’s oftentimes more fun to make your own creation and then devour it with pride that you made it in the first place. It keeps the cost down and keeps stress cravings at bay, so I say go for it!
So those are just a few of my usual meals which keep me happy and full through a busy work schedule, school starting back up, and running the blog. Of course, having the blog makes things a little easier and keeps me busy in terms of staging my food, but it’s important for everyone to prioritize their meals.
Here at The Untamed Optimist, I am always open to requests! If you’re a student wondering what to make with certain foods or how to save a few bucks eating like royalty, leave a comment below! I also stay active on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts (@TheUntamedOptimist) where I interact with so many of you on a regular basis.
It’s also where you can find some hidden gems that might not make it over here as an official recipe. You can expect another post about food freedom in the near future as I just started a new journal and already planned the whole post while brainstorming one day!