It may only seems like yesterday that you sent your little ones off for their first day at Kindergarten but this Fall it’s time for them to begin new adventures. Some are headed off to College or University this September and others have found jobs and are ready to leave the nest. It is with this in mind that I wanted to offer a little advice on eating well away from home.
Here’s the scoop, great minds and bodies are not fueled on macaroni & cheese, pizza, burgers and candy! When you eat ‘junk’ food on a regular basis, you begin to feel a little like ‘junk’. A wise person once said, “You are what you eat.” There is a lot of truth to that statement.
Food is our fuel. What we choose to eat affects how well we sleep, pay attention in class, get tasks done, and the strength of our immune system. Many young adults when leaving home for the first time will binge eat some of the foods that they wouldn’t normally have had access to on a daily basis simply because it is available. This can lead to unwanted weight gain, skin eruptions and digestive issues.
Here are a few things to ask them to keep in mind before packing their bags:
- If you are going to school and will be eating on campus, look up menus ahead of time. Having a chance to get used to what is offered will give you time to plan out your weekly routine a little before arriving. It might even mean saving a little extra cash. Perhaps your school has special features each day that are a value priced. If pizza is your most favourite food in the world, plan to eat that no more than once per week and opt for the veggie slice.
- Just because sweets and treats are available all day long doesn’t mean that you should eat it at every meal. Pick one or two days of the week to eat a dessert type item. Enjoy it earlier in the day so as to burn off that extra sugar.
- Become familiar with local grocery stores. Download an app on your phone that allows you to view fliers based on the postal code you enter. This way you’ll know what is on sale and even be able to price match at certain stores.
- Do you have a favourite home cooked meal? Make sure you learn how to cook it before you leave home. Making it yourself will give you that taste of home when far away or having a crummy day. Even if you are in residence and unable to cook, one of your new friend’s is bound to have access to a kitchen.
- Don’t have a kitchen? Find out ahead of time if you can bring along a kettle and a small personal blender. With these two simple appliances you can make hot drinks, (this will save you a heap of money if you like coffee, tea or hot chocolate), oatmeal, smoothies and guacamole. Will you have access to a microwave and fridge with freezer? If so, why not bring some frozen family favourites to school. Pop them in the microwave and you have a quick and healthy meal. Avoid purchasing store bought frozen foods as they are often quite high in sodium, fat, sugar and empty calories – even the healthy looking ones.
- Go every week to the grocery store and pick up a few healthy choices. Bananas, apples, pears, oranges and grapes make for a healthy and budget friendly snack and helps you get in your fruit for the day. If you have access to a fridge, stock it with carrots, cucumbers, peppers, baby spinach, healthy salad dressing, hummus, white cheese, milk and a little 100% juice. Pick up a box of whole grain crackers and raw nut butter. Now you have the makings of a few different healthy snacks – veggies & hummus, salad, cheese or nut butter & crackers and smoothies. Don’t forget to pack a cutting board, a small paring knife and a container to store your veggies in.
- Avoid the late night trips out for wings or pizza. Eating those types of food right before bed is asking for disrupted sleep, indigestion and extra pounds. Instead, try having those foods sporadically and earlier in the day. Completely denying those types of food may make you crave it all the more. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy once in awhile as long as you are eating healthy most of the time.
- Instead of late night snacking, have something mid-evening such as apple slices with almond butter, guacamole with pepper strips, a handful of nuts with blueberries or plain Greek yogurt with strawberries. Got a hot air popcorn popper? It is a great way to meet new friends! There is nothing like the smell of fresh popcorn to bring people out of their rooms looking for you!
This is an exciting time in your child’s life! There will be great days and their fair share of challenges. No one said being growing up is easy but it sure is an adventure – let’s just try to encourage them to eat well while you are doing it!
Quesadillas have always been one of my favourite meals and super quick and easy to make. Here’s my recipe for veggie & black bean quesadillas, print this off and give to your son/daughter before they leave. for school.
Veggie & Black Bean Quesadillas
Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes (chopped)
Shredded Mexican cheese blend
Refried black beans or whole black beans (or shredded chicken can be substituted)
Taco seasoning (see below)
High fiber tortillas
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a small pan, heat beans over medium heat. Add taco seasoning to beans, stir until mixed through and heat for about 5 min until beans are cooked through.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay tortillas out on the baking sheet. On each tortilla, spread 1/4 cup beans, 2-3 Tbsp cheese, and veggies.
- Fold tortillas over, and broil on low for 10 minutes or until tortillas are browned and crispy on top. Serve with salsa & enjoy!
If there is no oven available, these can be heated in a pan for 2-3 minutes each side until starting to brown.
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin½ tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper