Whether the school year is just approaching or already in full swing, it's never a bad time to think about how you can be on top of your nutrition. The better you eat, the better you work, and the better you sleep! With the change of your schedule during back-to-school time, you might feel lost on how to keep on top of your eating habits, or where to even begin. We're sharing top tips from nutrition experts on building the basics of staying on a healthy eating regimen during the school year.
1. Eat breakfast
"Breakfast" we will define as the first meal of your day. How you start your day is largely going to determine how the rest of your day pans out. Eating a high quality breakfast with good quality protein will keep your cravings under control, and your energy and mental focus stable throughout the day. Examples of healthy breakfasts include eggs, a homemade protein shake, a yogurt with berries and almonds, etc. Avoid sugary cereals or granola bars as they will spike and crash your blood sugar leaving you hungry and lethargic shortly after. If you're in a pinch, try one of these healthy grab & go options!
2. Pack healthy snacks
On the go or out of the house for long periods of time means you might forget to snack between meals, leaving you feeling lethargic and/or starving by the time it comes to your next meal. Never leave the house without some snacks on hand. Always make a point to keep some snacks packed in your bag before you go, such as protein bars, portioned nut packs, or fruit.
3. Pack your lunch!
Bringing lunch from home can not only save you money, but tons of unnecessary calories. Save eating out for the weekends and it will make a huge difference. If you are bored with the typical pb&j or turkey sandwich, try something you’ll look forward to eating such as one of these fun options!
4. Find Replacements for Stress Eating!
A stressful school year means more of a tendency to stress eat. One strategy is keeping a food log to make yourself aware of stress eating tendencies. The key to overcoming emotional eating is to identify other ways of coping with the stress. You can check out our article on 100 things to do instead of stress eat here!
5. Navigate the dining hall/cafeteria wisely
If you can not prepare and bring your own lunch and are relying on a dining hall, learn to navigate it like a pro! Choose options with ingredients that you can see (such as using the salad bar or opting for a sandwich, and avoiding fried foods, foods covered in sauces/cheese/etc). Try to make sure your plate includes some sort of veggie or fruit, a protein, and some healthy fat.
6. Look at it as an opportunity
You can either let the craziness of the school year sweep you up into another year of poor habits, or you can look at the school year as an opportunity to work on your eating habits! It is a perfect time to work on planning and preparing for healthy eating and fitting it into your schedule.