They say you are what you eat, right? Eating healthy can be a challenge for students because of lack of time and money to spend on quality food. After a long day of studying or treating patients, it would be nice if we had a personal chef straight from Whole Foods to cook us dinner. Sadly, that’s not the case and we have to do our best to make healthy eating a priority in our busy dental school lives. After eating too many frozen dinners in college and not feeling so good afterwards, I decided to try to find easier ways to make healthy food while on a time crunch. Here are some of my tips and favorite recipes!
1. Keep. It. Simple.
Some of my favorite dinners are what I call “the healthy bowl,” which I eat 2-4 times a week. It consists of a small salad, a sautéed vegetable (such as brussels sprouts, peppers or mushrooms), quinoa or rice, and a source of protein such as steak, salmon, chicken, or tofu. So simple but oh-so-good. It has your veggies, your grain and your protein with so many variations that it never gets old. Time-tip: Make a couple servings of quinoa the first time and then you have a quick fix for your healthy bowl the next time.
2. Got a sugar craving?
If you’re trying to eat well, dessert can really pack on the fat and calories. But there might just be a solution! For starters, have you ever realized how sweet fruit is? Stop eating refined sugar for a couple weeks and then have grapes or apples after dinner and you’ll be amazed by how naturally sweet they are. Fruit is the healthiest dessert. Try mashing up a frozen banana. Natural fro-yo minus the yo! For those who love to bake, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to get your banana chocolate chip fix. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the tricks such as substituting apple sauce for eggs and oil or using honey instead of sugar. Those are excellent substitutions but what if you didn’t need any of that? Remember: Let’s keep it simple. Below is a recipe for 4 ingredient banana oat bars.
Heat oven to 350.
2 large ripe mashed bananas.
1 teaspoon vanilla.
2 cups oats.
¼ cup chocolate chips (chocolate never hurt anyone)
Optional add-ins: chopped walnuts, ground cinnamon or dried dates.
Make sure there are no large banana chunks. Pour in lightly greased 9×9 pan and bake for 30 minutes or until edges start to crisp. Enjoy with milk and savor the taste of an amazingly healthy, simple dessert.
3. Listen to your body
One of the most important things in life is to listen to your body. Whether it’s to tell you you’re injured, tired or hungry, just listen! After eating something like a healthy bowl, ask yourself how your body feels. If it feels good, that means you gave your body what it was asking for. Your body knows when it gets the nutrients that it needs and when it does, you might feel more energized and be able to go for longer periods of time without eating!
Looking for more? Still don’t think eating healthy can be that easy? Well here’s my last suggestion: purchase a healthy eating cookbook. “Thug Kitchen” is not your average cookbook. It’s a vegan cookbook (which can always be modified by adding meat or dairy products) that provides healthy recipes and helpful cooking tips. Be forewarned, this book uses some choice words in the recipes that might just make you laugh out loud. This book makes cooking simple, easy and fun.
If foul language isn’t your thing, “The Runner’s World Cookbook” is composed of tons of healthy recipes, indicating which ones are good before and after a workout. This cookbook is not vegan so if you like meat and cheese, this book has some fantastic meal options that’ll make your body feel great!
~Kelly Carney, Marquette ’17