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

 

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