The Meal Plan Challenge

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In a previous post I mentioned that food is an important determinant to my happiness. I think this is probably true for most people whether they realize it or not. And when I say that food impacts my happiness, I don’t mean just eating when you’re hungry to avoid getting cranky, it’s also not eating when you’re not hungry and even more importantly, eating the right foods.

Food is energy.

Eating right in college has been a challenge for me. With free pizza at every other event, the convenience (both financial and time-wise) of fast food and the fact that most college students don’t eat healthy, the struggle is real.

To combat the many factors against me I made a plan, a meal plan.

Every Sunday I look at the foods I have and come up with a schedule for when to eat what. I buy any missing ingredients to make the meals I want and then make some of the food in advance. 

So for example: say I have quinoa, some frozen green beans, Ezekiel bread, almond butter, apples and granola bars.

  1. I go ahead and cook the quinoa on Sunday and put it in the fridge, then for dinner once or twice that week I’ll have it with the green beans or a salad.
  2. For lunch that week I’l take a slice of Ezekiel bread with almond butter, an apple and a granola bar.
  3. I might also make some brown rice on Sunday and have it with some other veggie, chicken or fish. I make this decision in advance and buy whatever is necessary.
  4. About once a week I will go to dinner with friends.
  5. The weekend I don’t really plan for since I have more time I like to play it by ear.

As you can see, the schedule isn’t super strict. I just make sure I have dinner for at least 4 out of the 5 days during the school week, and lunch for all 5. I decide in advance what I will have, make sure I have the ingredients and do any “food prep” I can in advance.

This way I save time, money and energy. I also set myself up to make good eating decisions since I’ve already made them ahead of time. I don’t know many (okay, zero) college students who do this, but I do know that it is something Cameron Diaz talks about in “The Body Book.” And hey, if Cameron Diaz does it…might not be a bad idea.

Having said all this, this is my challenge to you: make your own meal plan each week for two weeks. 

Give it a chance and see how you like it, you may hate it, and that is okay. But you may also find that it makes your life easier by not having to worry about going to the grocery store during the week, you may also find (like I did) that it is easier to make smart food choices if you plan them out in advance. This is something that I’m excited to share with you, it has really helped me and I want to know if it can help you as well,  let me know how it goes! 

How do you stay on track during the school year?


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