Who’s excited for back-to-school?!? Whether you’re starting your first year of middle school, your last year of grad school, sending your little ones off, or teaching any of these aspiring stars, this bustling time of year charges in on so many of us without restraint.
Even though my summer was filled with academics as well, fall semester ushers in a new level of busy. Although a little daunting, for me it’s almost a thrilling high. I get to live out all the pursuits that have filled my college dreams, and then some (innovative research, volunteering with patients, reaching out to new and future students as an ambassador, teaching fitness–BEST JOB EVER–and taking classes in subjects I love…for the most part). It must be the idea of productivity that gets me so pumped. I’m ready to GO and DO. Anyone else?
I’ve finished one week of a new schedule, and while loving every second of it, I remember again why the beacon of a semi-restful summer is such a relief. Being busy is exhausting.
Thus, in the spirit of stimulating productivity, and considering the mental and physical fatigue that goes along with it, I’ve decided to start a new blog series to help ensure that your diet doesn’t get bulldozed over with convenient junk food, tasteless pre-packaged meals, or a loss of variety, quality, and/or nutrition. Because, believe it or not, it is possible to have homemade, delicious, healthy meals worked in to the busiest of schedules. And I hope to give you a little insight on how and inspiration so that you can make a plan that works for you.
To do this, I will occasionally post a “snapshot” explaining what I ate on a given weekday and how I prepared it, along with reflection on exercise, healthy habits, and life in general. Again, this is intended to INSPIRE, not prescribe. I understand we all have different dietary and exercise needs, access to foods, budgets, and time restraints. But I still want to give tips, ideas, and recipes to help with meal-planning and spark feel-good habits that will help you live your life to the fullest. Leave a comment/message with feedback, and let me know what you want to see more or less of as the series develops!
I got this Wednesday started with one of my favorite g0-to formulas for an easy, healthy, filling breakfast. You’ll find out soon that breakfast is HUGE for me; it not only wakes me up, kicks off my diet, and energizes my morning, but it really sets the tone for my entire day. I greatly value my time sitting down to breakfast when I can read scripture, be thankful, and mentally prepare for my day.
Here we have:
1) 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese with a handful chopped peach and fresh cherries, topped with about 25g Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Raisin granola, and a the tiniest drizzle of honey.
2) 1/2 of a whole wheat bagel (Look for brands without additives or words you can’t understand; and if they are super thick, it’s easy to shave off some of the top with a bread knife to meet your carb/calorie needs. I love these from Cobblestone.) toasted and topped with 2 tsp natural peanut butter, thinly sliced banana, a light sprinkle of cinnamon, and about 1/4 tsp honey. I like to put it back in the toaster oven for a minute after topping the bagel to melt the peanut butter and just start to caramelize the banana. SO YUMMY!
3) Twinings Breakfast Blend tea (with a packet of stevia and splash of lemon juice)–a new kind I found that I love even more every time I have it.
(about 400 calories total)
I’m loving my schedule this semester because most days I can bike back to my apartment for lunch! But on days I may get stuck on campus, I pack it the night before or in the morning just in case. Here I had this Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad with a small side of Beanitos White Bean chips, which I’m currently crushing on.
(about 300 calories total)
For my afternoon snacks I usually rely on bars like this Squarebar. (Chocolate Crunch is my favorite!) As with any packaged snack, look closely at the ingredients and nutrients when making your decision. These are great for an extra boost of protein. And, per usual, a second cup of hot tea (yes, even in Florida in August) with a little 1% milk as I study, check emails, and try to re-energize for the last push before evening rolls in.
(about 230 calories total)
No fitness classes to teach on Wednesdays, so I went out for a long evening run/jog all around everywhere. Every time I think I’m tired, I end up at (the top of) the Swamp and realize I actually have all the energy in the world. Amazing what that Gator spirit can do!
After a long, tiring day, it’s nice to have a quick, fuss-free dinner, but at the same time I NEVER want to sacrifice taste, creativity, and nutrition. So this marinated salmon, potato, and veggie dinner all roasted up on one pan is perfection.
- Whenever I find sustainable/wild king salmon, I marinate single servings and freeze so I can thaw out individual portions for easy dinners! This one is Maple Balsamic Dijon, roasted about 8 minutes at 425º as the potatoes finish up.
- Dijon Herb Roasted Baby Potatoes
- French green beans tossed with a little EVOO, salt/pepper, garlic, and lemon, and put in at the same time as the salmon.
- A multi-grain roll, because I still love good carbs for energy.
(about 470 calories total)
One-Minute Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!! Because this really is quick enough to have on a weeknight. Plus a small glass of milk.
(about 250 calories total)