Below is an article I wrote last year as a guest post for the Healthy UCD website (my college campus!) all about healthy eating when you have to commute for work or college. I got lots of great feedback on this one, so I decided to share it on my site too!
Commuting to and from college or work, whether by foot, bike, bus, train or car, can add an extra challenge to your diet and budget. Getting up with the larks and home in the dark can make food choices tricky, particularly when you’re tired at the end of the day. Cooking is often the last thing on your mind! Here’s some simple tips and recipes to help you optimise your nutrition for your commute and college day.
Meal Prep Magic
They say a good start is half the battle, and that’s where meal preparation comes in. A Sunday afternoon ritual for me! You can help take the hassle out of cooking during the week by doing a just a little bit of ‘meal prep’ on the weekend (or days off). For example, why not use an hour or two to prepare a big batch of food for the week? Easy recipes like a curry, dahl, or simple salad can be divided into a few portions and stored for the week. Or, to halve your cooking time on weekdays, slice, dice and store your veggies in advance, ready to go when you get home! The best place to start is a plan – for the recipe (s) you will use, your shopping list, and your time to cook!
Make Your Freezer Your Friend
Space to store food can be limited for college students and staff alike, especially if you share with big numbers of roommates, family or friends. The next time there’s a tussle for the shelves in the fridge, don’t forget your freezer. Batches of snacks like oat flapjacks and breakfast cookies (see the recipes below) can be easily frozen, as can lunchboxes of your bulk cooking. That way, you’re not being a fridge-hog, while maximising the food storage space available to you. It’s worth investing in a decent set of reusable food storage items, such as a lunchbox or two, and in different sizes, so you can pack and store meals and snacks. Most supermarkets sell good quality sets of these at reasonable prices.
Snack Attack Solutions
The commute to and from college can be a time when we find ourselves at our hungriest – maybe even ‘hangry!’ This is particularly true late in the evening, after the library or the gym, when lunchtime seemed like so long ago, and we’re still far away from our dinner. An early morning start means an early breakfast, and the ‘elevenses’ need for a snack is a well-known feeling to many of you I’m sure! That’s why it’s a great idea to pack 2-3 snacks for the day. Personal favourites of mine are pieces of fruit (e.g. apples, bananas, oranges), homemade trail mix, oat flapjacks (see recipe below) and/or a little pot of hummus with chopped raw vegetables like carrot or celery sticks.
Finally, here are some super simple recipe ideas you’ll find on my blog that are meal prep and snack friendly too!
- Sweet Potato & Chickpea Coconut Curry
- Banana Berry Breakfast Cookies
- Fuss Free Blueberry & Oat Flapjacks
- Homemade Hummus
Enjoy guys! Tag me if you try these tips and/or recipes out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!
Ciara 🙂 x