The start of a new year is the time where everyone wants to be healthier, but most do not know how to maintain that healthy diet for more than a week. Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult to start, but easy to do once you get started.
There are many ways to be healthy on a budget in college. Here are some tips on ways to transform your diet into a healthier one.
Transition your diet
Most do not go from eating meat to completely vegetarian in a day, so try to think of switching to a healthier diet like the same type of transition.
Rather than going full-blown healthy diet immediately, give yourself a couple cheat days throughout the week or allow yourself one unhealthy snack a day. Once this gets easier, slowly narrow down the cheat days until you get to only one cheat day.
Keep that one cheat day available. Even if you don’t use it for a couple weeks, you will want to use it eventually. Whether it’s because of stress or simply a craving, it’ll be worth it.
Do not start by buying bulk
When people commit to eating healthier, they tend to buy large amounts of foods they have never eaten before and have only heard about how good they are for the body. This is bad.
When transitioning into a healthier diet, you must find which foods you like, sort of like and hate. If you automatically buy a bunch of the same thing, it can cause you to waste your money on things you end up hating.
Buy a variety of foods that incorporate things you know you like. This creates less of a risk of hating that food/meal you will be preparing.
Keep track of sales
It can get pricey when eating healthy, so using sales to your advantage is important. If you find something that is healthy that you like, then buy it in bulk.
If it is something that does not stay fresh for long, like meat, put it in the freezer and thaw it when you want to cook.
Focus on in-season fruits
Fruits are already expensive, so when they are not in season, their price naturally goes up because they are more difficult to get. If bananas are your favorite fruit, then you’re in luck; they are always cheap. The most popular fruits in season for winter are grapefruit and any type of orange.
When fruits you enjoy are not in season, the better option is to go for canned or frozen versions. Compare which version you prefer by taste and price. In my opinion, canned is better in general, but frozen is better for smoothies.
Keep it fresh
Every fruit and vegetable is different, but they’re all the same in the sense that they go bad quicker than you can eat them, especially when buying in bulk.
Learning how to keep these healthy foods fresh will keep you from giving up on a healthy lifestyle and going back to the all too easy frozen pizza rolls in the freezer. Some fruits stay better longer in the refrigerator, some at room temperature and some sealed in a plastic bag.
Keep things simple
When you tell people you want to eat clean or eat healthier, the first thing people attribute to their success is meal-prepping. Obviously, it works but transitioning from the McDonald’s drive-through to prepping all of your food for the week on Sunday is a huge change.
If you’re not interested in meal prepping, there is hope for you, even though every source says the best option is meal-prepping. There is another option: keeping everything simple. If you keep your meals simple and easy, there is no need for meal prep, except for lunches if you’re in class at that time.
Do you know how easy it is to make lettuce wraps? It takes at most five minutes, so you do not have to meal-prep. Plus, pre-made lettuce wraps tend to get gross. There are smoothie bowls, nuts, trail mix, etc. These all work for on the go, and for the rest of the time, eggs are not difficult to scramble up and a salad is quick to make.
The most time you will take when making dinner is cooking meat or fish. Plan out what days you have time to make that type of food, so you do not have to prep every meal at the beginning of the week.
Failure to stick with a healthy diet is inevitable. There will be days where you give up and indulge on something that you missed. The key is to not give up after this. Indulging is allowed. It is when you do not give into cravings that you end up eating too much. Allow your cravings to be fulfilled, but not too much.