Trying to eat well at uni

One of my biggest struggles over the past couple of years is eating healthy foods when I’m in uni all day.

It’s so easy to just buy a greggs everyday, especially when all you’ve got is a shrivelly sandwich squashed at the bottom of your bag. It’s not very appetising, and even if you do eat it, it’s not exactly filling, so the temptation to snack is still there.

So over the last year I’ve been trying desperately to find ways to eat healthily on days I’m in uni, that don’t make me want to nip over to greggs…My main strategies have been trying to keep myself full, with semi healthy foods that stop me from buying things in town. And also, trying to be sort of organised, but that’s super hard. So here are some of my attempts!

Smoooooothies

In terms of breakfast, something I’ve read is that you should always have your breakfast within an hour of waking up, so on an ideal day I would be having fruit, greek yogurt and granola BUT ideal days don’t happen very often, and this is my second best option for a quick dash to uni situation.

So we got a blend active this year, and let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can easily just whizz up a smoothie if I’m running late in the morning, head into uni with it and I’ve got a nice breakfast on the go. Hooray!

Today I decided to throw in some spinach because why not? to make it a bit more of a green smoothie.

So first thing’s first I put in the orange juice (hand squeezed, so posh). I would say definitely to just buy already squeezed orange juice though because I used two oranges and got about a millitres worth because it turns out squeezing juice out of oranges is harder than you’d think.

I then chopped up an apple, two kiwis, grapes, frozen mango, spinach and then some ice to top it all off. It looked very aesthetically pleasing before I whizzed it up so I took a lot of photos of it.

It wasn’t quite so aesthetically pleasing once it was blended, I’m not going to lie.

I was slightly put off by the colour (so green) but it tasted really really good! Only takes 5-10 minutes and then you can take it on the go into uni. (Just don’t leave it anywhere once you’ve finished it without washing it because that’s minging. Speaking from experience.)

But look how happy I am with my smoothie. Aw. What a great day.

Another option I’ve been considering for a breakfast on the go would be granola bars, however finding recipes that don’t contain a tonne of sugar has been proving difficult…I’ll have to come back with that one.

Lunch
The first thing I did to get a nice lunch was to purchase a sistema cube lunchbox. It sounds so lame, but this box is honestly just so cool. It’s got three compartments, so if some foods are a bit sticky you can separate them. It’s also quite lightweight which is good when you’re trying to take in 500 books as well as your lunch and anything else you might need.

I think the main thing about eating well at uni for me was all in trying to stop snacking, or when I was snacking to make sure it was on healthy things.

My number one tactic for doing this is making lunches which are interesting and fill me up.

My go to for the “main” food in my lunch is generally a wrap, because they’re 500x more exciting than a sandwich. We have whole grain in the house, which is better for you and fills you up that wee bit more. I quite like to fill it up with tuna mixed with lemon and tomato – tastes super nice and definitely isn’t dry!

Another thing I’ll go for is a simple salad or maybe some cold homemade pizza. (homemade pizza can be semi healthy – it’s all depending on how you make it!)

Something I discovered a few days ago was the “mini frittata”. Basically to make this you sautee (fancy) some onions and peppers, and then chuck some spinach in there as well. Then you whisk eggs, egg whites, milk and cheese and salt and pepper and put them in greased muffin tins to make them. (Proper recipe at the bottom of the post.)

Please don’t ignore the greasing instruction though…do it properly to save you three days of scrubbing. Absolute nightmare.

I pretty much skipped the cheese and salt & pepper because I didn’t understand how to whisk cheese and I didn’t really see the need for salt and pepper…for some people it might have been too bland though, but for me it was just right!

These were so fab as a brunch, an extra at lunch or just as a snack throughout the day!

In the other compartments of my lunchbox I generally put some sliced up cucumber, carrots and tomato. I also made some apple crisps, which I’m going to talk about later.

Look how excited I am with my lunchbox. Seriously, the lunchbox makes all the difference for the lunch making excitement.

Snacking
As I said before, my main tactic to stop the snacking would be to try and fill myself up at lunch, but that’s not always possible, unfortunately. So doing things like bringing a tub of apple crisps really helps those cravings.

Apple crisps are super easy to make – just chopping up an apple and putting it into the oven, but I’m linking another example of this at the bottom of the post. They taste really sweet, which is good for me, because I like that in my snacks, but are also relatively healthy (despite the sugar part of that…)

Obviously this is all in moderation – too much of anything is bad, so eating a barrel of apple crisps probably isn’t a good idea, but a handful in the middle of the day really hits the spot.

Other things you could go for are some mini frittatas (love those things), oatcakes with peanut butter on them (not for me though, the smell makes me feel sick) or just some fruit to be honest. Fruit’s great.

Dinner

So normally dinner isn’t so much of an issue for me, as I live in the restaurant of mum and dad – but last week I had the joy of cooking for myself. I had to be inventive to get away from the typical microwavable meals. My actual cooking skills are pretty limited, but my main tactic for eating healthily this week has been attempting to pack as many healthy things into a dinner as possible.
Tonight I made a creamy tomato pasta. (I know, that’s not even exciting or interesting in the slightest but I tried, okay!) To start this off I did some more sauteeing, so I put some onion and garlic in there and sauteed them. Then I added a tin of tomatoes, some chopped up pepper and some mixed herbs. Here comes the less healthy bit now…I saw online that too make your sauce a bit less tangy and a bit creamier to add some soft cheese. I was silly and forgot to buy the light stuff, but it made the sauce so much more tasty and smooth than normal. Obviously go for light soft cheese to make it a bit healthier…yeah, this could be a moment of me failing to eat healthier at uni, but most of it’s not too bad!

I then added a wee bit of pepper (no salt though) and lots of spinach! Can you tell I’d bought too much spinach this week, which is why I’ve been using it in every recipe?

I added my pasta to the sauce (culinary genius) put it in a cute bowl and there we go!

Other things I have made and are considering making are homemade pizza (so much tastier and cheaper than bought pizza, and pretty healthy depending on the toppings), omelettes, and soups (I’m particularly partial to pea and mint soup.)

As I said, my cooking skills are limited. Basically I just put as many veggies as I possibly can in there and hope it sort of tastes nice.

So this wasn’t really an advice post, but more of me stumbling my way through attempting to be healthy, but it’s hard and I’ve been trying my best! I think what I take it from it is more just focusing more on trying to get good things into food rather than calorie counting or anything like that – this feels like quite a positive way to eat well. The things are either fun or easy to make and I look forward to it, which is my normal problem with food.

And here are the promised links:

Frittatatata: http://www.rachelcooks.com/2013/09/25/mini-frittatas-spinach-red-pepper/

Apple crisps: http://missioncompetition.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/challenge-apple-crisps.html

 

Oxford Street Lush Product Reviews

So recently I’ve been getting a bit bored with this blog and have wanted to write about some things which are different from the typical reflective style I’ve been going for – I just wanted to blog about things I enjoy occasionally rather than getting into a deep philosophical discussion in every post…So I’m mixing it up a bit, and this post is basically about some things I bought from Lush this summer…it was so fun to write casually about this sort of stuff, so hopefully if you read it you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

This summer I was fortunate enough to visit London, and I was even more fortunate in that I was able to visit the Oxford Street Lush store. I really love Lush and all things bath bomb, so this was something I had been looking forward to for a really long time.

Just in case you’re unaware, the Lush store in Oxford Street is like it’s “flagship” store: it’s three stories high, and has a lot of limited edition products that you can’t get anywhere else in Britain.

As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to go there, and I saved up my pay for a couple of months so that I could buy a lot of bath bombs without feeling guilty.

Needless to say, that even though the amount of smells in there was a little bit overwhelming, I managed to leave with a bagful of things without too much of a scary dent in my bank account.

Guardians of the Forest
The first product to enter my bath was the Guardians of the Forest bath bomb, which I picked up because I liked the name, if I’m honest. The reason I used this one first was because it was my least favourite in terms of the smell, I didn’t think it would be that interesting, and honestly I wanted to leave the best till last.

I was so wrong.

The bath bomb, basically, is meant to smell like pine, I think, or trees at least, and is all about that leafy goodness.

So, Guardians of the Forest looked quite cool, because it looked like a tree, obviously. But the smell was quite strong and I wasn’t really sure I was up for that amount of tree smell in my bath, you know?

As soon as I put it in, however, the smell calmed down and it started fizzing beautifully.

It smelt like I was in a forest (a clean one) and also reminded me of winter, which is one of my favourite times of year, so naturally I really loved it.

The colours looked amazing as well, with lots of different shades of green fizzing out of the bath bomb.
Basically, it was super fun and exciting and pretty. It was also incredibly glittery, and you can never have enough glitter in a bath bomb if you ask me.

It was amazing, and left me feeling refreshed, glittery and happy. Basically, everything I look for in a bath bomb. Definitely would recommend.

Earth Eye Powder

So the next product I want to talk about isn’t actually a bathbomb but an eye shadow. These come in super cute bottles but are loose powders, which means they are a teeny bit messy, but they’re so gorgeous I can’t not mention it.

The shade I got it in was a nice shimmery blue colour which I think looks fab paired with some silvery eye shadows.The shades I was using today with it were some Barry M ones from the natural palette and the summer love palette. 

(On a side note, taking close ups of eyes is a super intense and stressful process. Just so you know.)

I made it quite light because I was just going into uni so wasn’t feeling like being super dramatic, but the good thing about this particular one is that you can use as much or as little as you like to make it as dramatic or subtle as you like.

It was also a lot more blue and silver in real life, I just want to point out, but I couldn’t quite get the camera to pick it up!

So I’d really recommend them because they have a lot of pretty shades and they’re just really nice. Only downside is that they’re really expensive, but as I said earlier, I’d been saving up for a while for this trip so wasn’t that bothered!

I really love it so I wanted to give it a shout out because I know I’m not alone in being a little bit skeptical about Lush make up.

Intergalactic
Finally, the intergalactic bath bomb. My first reaction was that there were no words, but luckily for you (or unluckily depending on whether you care about this stuff or not) I’ve managed to come up with some since.

So intergalactic had this amazing minty smell which I absolutely adored from the minute I picked it up.

This bathbomb was so good that I think it’s surpassed the dragon’s egg, twilight and even guardian’s of the forest in my list of favourite bath bombs. That’s really saying something.

I put it in the bath thinking it was going to be nice because I loved the smell, but it was more than just the smell.

The colours were amazing, and it was, dare I say it, even glittier than the previous one.

It meant my bath was pretty much stained with glitter for a while, but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got the beauty and the smell of the intergalactic bath bomb in your bath.

See that? That’s all glitter. All of it. From one bath bomb. AMAZING.

I need to stop gushing.

Thankfully, the intergalactic bath bomb isn’t just available from Oxford Street, it’s been recently brought into the Glasgow stores – thank goodness because it means I don’t have to wait until my next trip to London to use it!

And that’s all I wanted to talk about today (because I’ve not used anymore of my Oxford Street things) but I hope this was mildly interesting, even though it was completely different to what I normally post! :)x

Fight or Flight

I think I did a good deal of staying in my comfort zone while growing up.
                It was quite a wide comfort zone, however. I had a fair amount of friends because I didn’t just have school – I had church friends and SU friends as well, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go elsewhere for that. I had lots of things to do at church and a couple of hobbies that I had started when I was young (piano from p4, drama from p5, guides from p6) and so I didn’t have too much spare time. With the spare time I did have I was quite content reading as much as I could and writing as much as I could.
                I never really had to stray out of the comfort zone I was in, because I had everything I needed and wanted in it. I guess that’s why it’s called a comfort zone.
                However, the time came for me, as it does for everybody, when you have to get out of your comfort zone. It started with going to weekends away or camps on my own, and eventually built up to going to university.
                Meeting people has always been my big issue. I really hate feeling like I’m on show, although I’m definitely not alone in my dislike of that. When I meet new people, I can feel very conscious of everything I’m doing and saying. That comment when I was trying to be too funny, whether I was too loud, too quiet, too annoying. There’s a stage before the comfort of friendship where I don’t feel like I’m being myself.
                So putting myself out there, and meeting new people, was thoroughly out of my comfort zone as I began to try new things.  
                Uni was one of the biggest steps I’ve ever taken in terms of getting out of my comfort zone. It might not seem like it, because I stayed at home, but for me it was a massive thing. I had to meet a lot of new people, try and get good grades, and work out if I had chosen a good course all at once. It was absolutely terrifying and I wasn’t sure at the time if it was the right thing to do or not.
                (In hindsight, it totally was.)
                Recently, I’ve had to go further and take some different, but important, steps out of my comfort zone in terms of trying to find out what I want to do after uni.  
                And what I want to talk about in this post, is that part of me that tries to stop me taking these steps.     
                This part of me loves the comfort zone. It’s in the name – it’s comfy and warm and happy and content.
                You see, and I hope I’m not alone in this, whenever I do something different, there’s a voice in my head that says:
             
   ‘You don’t have to do this. You could easily just not do this and be completely fine.’
             
              The phrase ‘you don’t actually need to’ is the one that sticks in my mind the most. Because it’s true, if I didn’t go for that internship, or send my story into that magazine, or make that phone call, then I would be fine. I would be happy, I would still have uni, my friends, my hobbies, my family. All the things that make me happy would still be there. I wouldn’t lose anything by not doing them.
                But the way I see it, this is my brain putting up that well known ‘fight or flight’ mechanism – and it wants me to run away.
                The issue is, the things I’m trying to do, which are outside my comfort zone, are things which would be good.
                They would be good for getting me a job in the future, or for increasing my confidence and experience. I would enjoy them in a way that’s very different from the things I do now.
                I don’t have to do them.
                But I do want to.
                And you don’t get a career by sitting in your comfort zone. You don’t get published or meet new people or grow up.
                You have to fight for things like that, rather than run away from them. And even though I would be perfectly fine if I just chilled out in that comfortable place I’m in, I would never get to do anything that I dream about doing.  

                In the past couple of months particularly I’ve learnt that even if I have doubts about something, I need to learn how to fight my way through them. I need to replace that voice in my head telling me that I can easily just give up before I even begin, by saying that these things that I want are worth it. And if I fail – I’ll still be as fine as I would have been if I hadn’t tried.