If someone were to ask me to describe myself in 3 words it would probably be foodie, health nut, and fitness enthusiast in that exact order. Yes, I LOVE food: making it, eating it, discovering it. Growing up, however, I didn’t always make the best choices when it came to what ended up on my plate. But as I learned the biochemistry, physiology, and pathology that accompanied our meals, I started to make better decisions. My “meal prep Sunday” usually makes it on my social media which is always the topic of conversation for the next couple of days. One of the most common questions that I get, especially from my classmates is “Wow, how did you have time to make that?” Here are some of my tips towards eating healthy in medical school:
- Choose one day and clear 2 hrs: I generally like to spend one hour shopping and one hour prepping on Sundays. As you get more efficient shopping and cooking you’ll be cooking up a storm within that time frame.
- Make a list and shop for meals: To get the most out of my time and budget I like to look up recipes, make a list of the ingredients, and shop accordingly. I’ll use my study breaks or down time in the evening to look for inspiration!
- Crock pots are your best friend: Seriously though, most of my meals are made by my crock pot because I can study for my microbiology exam AND have chicken enchiladas for dinner.
- Don’t count calories, count ingredients: I have never been a huge fan of counting my calories just because it doesn’t fit with my fitness goals. I try to include vegetables of various colors, a source or protein, and whole grains in all of my meals. The proportions are not always perfect but with that mindset, I make sure to get all the necessary nutrients which is my number one goal.
- Treat yourself: There have been weeks when I just got tired of my meals because I got in the habit of making the same dishes for the sake of time. Don’t forget to listen to your taste buds! I have found that putting together a home-made burger or baking my favorite dessert does add variety from time to time.
Although I am a HUGE proponent of meal-prepping there are weeks when I get busy and just cook as I can or just order some pizza for dinner. Life as a medical student is not perfect or predictable. But with some careful planning and inspiration, it’s possible to achieve your fitness goals, that I can promise you! What’s been your experience with meal prepping? Leave your hacks down below.