As business school students, we all feel the time crunch that comes from having to juggle classes, homework, club events, and the job search. The last thing on our minds is our health and maintaining good eating habits. In this Show Me Your… Skylar Flax-Davidson (MBA 2013) is showing off her favorite recipes and healthy eating tips.
“The Most Important Meal of the Day” (and my favorite!). We all know how important it is to eat breakfast but we often skip it because we don’t have enough time. DON’T SKIP IT! Make it a priority to eat breakfast AND make it healthy.
Easy Breakfast: Instant or regular oatmeal topped with any of the following:
Nuts (walnuts are a personal favorite)
Craisins or raisins
1 tbsp. of Tennessee honey. (Eating local honey is supposed to help with allergies)
Medium Breakfast: English Muffin Sandwich
1 English muffin (use whole grain or whole wheat muffin with approximately 100-150 calories)
Pam or 1/2 tsp. of butter
1 tsp. of cream cheese, hummus, or guacamole – your preference
Optional: slice of tomato
Toast the English Muffin
Take a small frying pan, grease pan with butter/Pam and heat on med-high.
Wait one minute for pan to warm up (pan will start to glisten when ready).
Crack the egg directly into the pan. Let white of the egg begin to go from clear to opaque and then take a knife or a fork and lightly break the yolk, allowing it to spread out. I break the yolk to make this dish easier to take on the go. Wait until the egg is completely opaque and then flip over. Wait one more minute for egg to fully cook.
While the egg is finishing up, spread English muffin with cream cheese, hummus, or guacamole and add a slice of tomato if you have time. Mash the egg in the middle and you have a hearty healthy breakfast on the go.
Tip #1: When you are going grocery shopping it helps to have thought out what lunches and dinners you want to eat the next week, and getting the same thing each week also helps create an easy routine.
Lunch is the hardest meal to plan for during business school. I stick with sandwiches or salads since they are the easiest to pull together and bring to school. I have included meatless lunch ideas – Americans usually center their meals around meat, but there is evidence that animal fats should be eaten in moderation. Also, try to use a quality whole-wheat bread for fiber.
Some of my favorite sandwiches are a combination of a flavorful cheese, fruit slices, lettuce, tomato, and oil and vinegar.
Cheddar and Apple Sandwich
Parano Cheese and Pear Sandwich – this one is delicious with white balsamic vinegar
Tip #2: Sunday nights = Prep Night. Reserve time on Sunday nights to pre-prepare some meals for the week. For example, you can pre-cut veggies for Monday night dinner with enough leftovers to be frozen and reheated for Wednesday night. Even if you only have time to make lunch for Monday, at least you are starting the week off on the right foot. As Tim Vogus likes to say, “Small Wins!”
I highly recommend keeping healthy snacks with you during the day. This will help you fight the urge to eat pizza and also give you something to keep your blood sugar up. When your blood sugar crashes you experience cravings for candy and other unhealthy items. You can pre-emptively fight this!
Trail mix – look for mixes that are unsalted, with fruits and nuts. Try to avoid the chocolate mixes, but I understand if you don’t. J Another option that is cheaper and gives you more control over what you are eating is to create your own trail mix. Buy all the things you like the best and keep a small bag of your favorite mix in your backpack or locker so whenever a craving hits you can grab a handful instead of candy. Another healthy snack is rice cakes with peanut butter (protein and energy).
Fruit – I also like buying fruits that are easy to pack and eat at school – cut up peaches the night before if you prefer peaches to apples, grapes are a good option, and bananas are always easy.
Yogurt – Yogurt is a great snack but a lot of yogurts on the market are full of sugar. Check the labels before buying. Greek yogurt is more expensive but has more protein so may be worth it. Yogurts should be low or non-fat to avoid extra calories. You can look for alternative ways to flavor plain yogurt. My favorites include: Sliced up banana, granola, and/or raisins. I love sweetening yogurt with honey.
Meatless Tacos & Stir-Fry’s are my go to. I know meatless anything sounds weird – but go to the freezer aisle and check out Morningstar’s Meatless “Crumblers” – they will make your life so much easier and you will be pleasantly surprised at the taste (you won’t even miss the meat!). All you need is a small frying pan and 8 minutes. Toss the Crumblers in the pan, sprinkle cumin, pepper, and salsa on top of the Crumblers and let it cook until fully heated through – and that’s it. You can use to fill tortillas or top nachos (microwave tortilla chips a few seconds with shredded cheese and top with Crumblers). I sometimes heat up tomato sauce with Crumblers and presto – spaghetti Bolognese.
Stir-Fry’s are also great because you can basically throw together whatever is in your fridge to make a delicious meal. I try to keep onions, red peppers, and carrots so I can always throw together a healthy easy meal. Simply chop up your choice of vegetables, throw them in a hot pan with olive oil, add teriyaki sauce and eat over brown rice. Make extra and it can be eaten for lunch or dinner the next day.
Tip #3: Frozen veggies are super quick and easy and actually keep their nutritional value (unlike canned veggies). There are bags of stir-fry veggies available in the freezer section or you can buy individual bags or boxes. I keep corn, peas, and carrots in my freezer and throw them into everything – tomato sauce, stir-fry, tacos. It is a quick and easy way to get some veggies into your diet. WARNING: watch out for sodium count. Extra salt is typically added to frozen veggies – read the labels.
I hope that by showing you a few of my favorite meals I was able to inspire you to come up with your own healthy fast meals. We are all busy but eating healthy is crucial to staying healthy. With the stress and busy schedules we have, none of us can afford to get sick! So spend a few minutes at the beginning of the week thinking about food and meal-planning. It will pay off. Creating healthy eating habits now is important and will help us be successful in the future.