The modern college student has schedule that is incredibly demanding. Students need time to study, attend class lectures, complete assignments, and of course to sleep – but where is the time to eat?
From experience, eating at all throughout the college week is a challenge. Practicing a clean diet is a whole different story, especially when the nearest fast-food restaurant is within walking distance from your last class. Not to mention, eating on a student’s budget makes it exponentially difficult.
So the choices are lazily narrowed down to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, McDonald’s or whichever free-food event is happening on or off-campus.
Finding a nutritious meal during the day is a virtual impossibility, especially if you are a student that has purchased a meal plan. One consequence that is promised by eating a cheap diet like the one mentioned above is diminished energy.
Enter the alternative – a student path to eating clean. This path is comprised of information gathered from a student practicing a clean diet of her own.
Cherry Lau, student at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), practices what she dubs as a modified-paleo diet with a vegetable forward approach. She also is the founder of her own website: studio-snacks.com. She uses the website to post recipes, give insight and practice her art. Lau credits college for help in adopting her modified approach to paleo eating.
“The thing that happens in college is you need to learn to feed yourself, so I’m away from home, I live in a dorm, I need to get it together,” Lau explains. “In these four years I noticed how much I really enjoy food and sharing it with others, so I started where I lived.”
Identifying where to get your food is paramount to starting; since students are operating with limited funding this task takes some planning. In the city of Carrollton there is not an abundance of choices; however, options do exist.
The local farmer’s market, Cotton Mill Farmers Market, meets every Saturday on Rome Street. Although they are out of season at the moment, they still meet for an “impromptu” market on Saturday mornings from 9:30-11 a.m. Regular meeting times are 8-12 p.m. on Saturdays; these hours ironically begin the weekend of April 18.
The most challenging part of planning is done, so now that you are at the market, what do you buy?
“Start liking eggs – I think that eggs are a nutritional power-house, they are so easy to make and extremely versatile. You can cook eggs from breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks,” Lau says. “Also getting into a habit of making soup is a wonderful habit, especially throughout the winter’s cold mornings.”
Making soup can be one of the most therapeutic activities, not to mention drinking it. Another added bonus to cooking soup is being able to prepared large batches at once. One could also take it a step further and cook batches in advance for the week. Soups store well in the freezer, and are not hard to heat once prepared.
The soups themselves can be store-bought; however preparing them with leftover ingredients from your own food makes this an even more cost-cutting tactic.
Lau’s adventure in food storage is an interesting story to say the least. The only refrigerator she depends on is a miniature one. But her secret weapon is a recommendation for students that have a little more space in their living environment.
“Invest in a chest freezer,” Lau says. “You may need one if you’re going to eat this way, I actually only have a mini-fridge but I am able to function well because of the capacity of my freezer.”
For those with not much room to play around with, making ends meet with what little freezer space you have already can suffice. This helps with storing meats, soups, certain vegetables and several other foods.
It is not the easiest thing – to eat clean while at school. But, for those that desire more from themselves, an investment has to be made in the self. Feeding the body correctly is the first and most important step towards becoming the person you desire.