Living a healthy lifestyle is always possible, even when living in a dorm. I have lived at the UNF Fountains for the last two and a half years, and I have certainly learned a few tricks of the trade to make healthy eating simpler.
The first step, for me, is organization. Take advantage of the mini fridge allowance at UNF! Purchasing a nice 4.5 ft refrigerator is a great way to make healthy eating a priority. The more you can cook and prepare, the more likely you are to be fueled and prepared for your busy day. I absolutely adore my mini fridge, and it has made healthy eating much easier. I have the Frigidaire Mist model that I got locally at Lowe’s.
When organizing my refrigerator, I try to make things as appealing as possible! Generally, if food looks pretty and appealing, I am more likely to eat it.
- I keep perishable items on the first and second shelves, so I am sure to eat them before going bad. This includes dairy products, fresh berries, ready-to-grab veggies, bread, and prepped meals.
- In the drawer, I keep the rest of my fresh fruit and veggies. In order to better see what I have available, I take items out of plastic bags when I can, so I can keep an eye on what is fresh.
If something looks like it’ll go bad soon, I clean and prep it and then freeze for later. With a busy schedule, I don’t always eat in my dorm, so I like to stay on top of perishable goods. Towards the end of my shopping week, I just throw whatever leftover veggies and protein I have with a simple bowl of rice or quinoa, to prevent waste.
If you are living in the fountains, there are tons of kitchen cabinets available to keep your dry goods. If you don’t have access to kitchen cabinets, there are still ways to stay organized. One of my best purchases was an 8-cube storage shelf from Target. I grabbed a few cube storage bins as well, and I keep snacks and bars in that shelving unit too. The most important thing with snack storage is making things accessible. No one wants to be caught in a study session without snacks! Keeping dry products in a quick and easy location help you pack smart choices for your day of work or class. And, if I'm running late or forgot something back in my dorm, Outtakes always has fresh and nutritious snacks on hand!
After you are completely organized, you’ll need to put these yummy ingredients to use. For this, meal planning is an absolute life saver. Every weekend, before grocery shopping, I collect my thoughts and plan out a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. After gathering all the ingredients, I dedicate time on Saturday or Sunday to prep most or all of the dishes I will be making. Some of my favorites are prepping baked sweet potatoes and roasted veggies. These can be added to so many dishes, or just used as a snack! When they are already prepared at the beginning of the week, I don’t have to cook after long days of class and work. Other great meal prepping dishes are large servings of grains. These, similarly, can be added to any meal to bulk it up or make a good base layer.
Sometimes, even with meal prepping, I come home and need an extra ingredient! Thankfully, Ozzie’s in the Fountains has some pantry staples and pre-packaged salads, wraps, and noodle dishes that are perfect meals on the go.
For more information on how UNF Dining can help you live a healthier lifestyle, contact Yemila Lowry, Registered Dietitian.
As always, Stay Healthy Ospreys!