The Hungry Student

Being a college student can be fun. There's definitely it's privileges, like making your own class schedule, being able to add your professors on social media, or going to the bathroom without asking while wearing a hat. It is important however, to remember the responsibility side of it. Being an adult entails getting a job or two or three, paying for tuition and textbooks, taking care of and paying for your cabin/apartment/dorm/house/wherever you live. You are also responsible for making appointments, managing your own time, and budgeting enough money for bills, laundry, and groceries.

One of the things I miss about growing up is having lunches packed for me to take to school. It was so easy to eat healthy when there was always oatmeal, cereal, eggs, pancake mix, and so much more around the kitchen. I'd come home after school, have an after-school snack, and my mom would usually make dinner in the evening. What I'm finding now is that eating is expensive! I can't even imagine what it's like for people who eat out all the time. I find it hard just being creative enough to come up with a meal that includes protein, fiber, vitamins, fats, and the other healthy things people need to eat to function properly. It's even harder when you also have to shop for and get the things for those meals, and use them all before they go bad.

What I've found to be very helpful are those cute little foodie infographics about easy meal things or fun food facts. They're great inspiration, but it doesn't take all of the struggle away from having to plan ahead and decide what you'll be eating that week, pick a day to go grocery shopping, and find things that are cheap and also healthy. One thing I've started doing to save money is look in the discount bin for any dented cans of fruit or vegetables. Frequently if a can gets dented, they mark it down to like 79 cents even though the food inside is still perfectly fine. Canned food lasts a while too, so even if you don't get to it right away, maybe the next time you want to make something with green beans you won't have to pay the full price because you already bought it on sale.

My plan for this semester is to try to start preparing more meals for myself ahead of time. It should be pretty easy to sit down one evening, come up with a grocery list, get a bunch of foods, and make a week of meals. What I miss from my youth is having food readily available. In high school I heard a friend say that they opened their refrigerator looking for food, but all they found were ingredients. But it doesn't have to be that way. Cooking can be fun and if I am successful in preparing more quick meals and snacks, I think I'll probably feel better and function better at work and in my classes. I recently read that lack of calories can lead to laziness, forgetfulness, grumpiness, and wow can I relate. So although it's a little late to be making a new year's resolution, it's not too late to make a plan that will help me eat healthier and be happier this semester.

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