My Packing for Dorm Life post has been, by far, my most popular on this blog. After four years, it still drives the most traffic to my site – 37% of you found Strong Like My Coffee by searching this topic or finding it’s link on Pinterest! After nearly half a million views, I quickly realized that my “Healthy College Girl” theme was resonating with a lot of my readers. Every single summer for the past four years, my blog’s page views sky rocket….the back-to-school preparation begins and my fellow healthy college girls seem to be researching healthy grocery guides, meal ideas, and tips for finding balance in college before heading off to school soon!
I did the same thing. Pinterest was just getting popular right before my freshman year at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I looked up dorm decorating ideas, ways to increase storage in tiny living spaces, tips on living with a roommate for the first time, and study tips. But what really interested me were the posts on avoiding the notorious Freshman 15, ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a social life as a freshman, and advice on fitness and nutrition as a busy college student.
After a couple years as a student-athlete, a lot of what I learned was through trial and error and experience. I navigated my way through campus dining and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Sometimes I made my own healthy salad and other times I gave into Temptation Station…AKA the dessert cart, which was stocked up on every type of cookie, pastry, and donut along with a soft-serve ice cream bar.
Some of the most important points I learned about prioritizing health in college:
- Getting enough quality sleep affects your academic performance, your athletic performance, and the nutrition choices you make throughout the day. Oftentimes when we are tired, we crave instant sugary snacks to boost our energy. Quality sleep keeps your brain sharp, your muscles repaired, and your energy levels more stable.
- Lose the “get my money’s worth” mentality in the dining halls. Quality over quantity.
- Pre-plan your “treat” days. Completely restricting certain foods (like that ice cream bar) will most likely lead to a total binge when you’re having an off day. Planned indulgences will keep you from feeling deprived without totally going overboard.
- It’s not just about diet and exercise; reducing stress is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. There are many stressors in college – roommates, finals, frat boys – which can have an impact on our motivation to workout and the foods we crave. Every finals week, I craved allll the sushi, macaroni and cheese, and frozen yogurt. :) Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer – one that I am still working on myself, one year post-graduation!
- Alcohol and abs don’t mix. Not to sound like a buzz kill, but alcohol consumption has a drastic impact on our bodies. Beverages contain empty calories of carbs and sugars, but alcohol also has an inflammatory effect on the body. Moderation is key! I definitely enjoyed my 21st birthday and a few fun nights downtown, but I also happily volunteered to be designated driver and substituted fruity water. Balance!
I continued to post content relevant to this theme for the past four years. As I noticed my page views beginning to climb again last week, I thought I would put together a “Round Up” of my favorite Healthy College Girl themed posts in one spot. They are in order of my personal favorite! Each link will open in a new tab :)
- 6 Tips for Navigating Through Campus Dining (Guest blog post for Quest Nutrition)
- Healthy College Girl’s Travel Guide
- Observations from a College Campus Gym
- Healthy Study Snack List
- College Girl Grocery Guide – dorm edition
- College Girl Grocery Guide 2.0 – apartment edition
- College Girl Meal Plan
- List of De-stressors
- Sweet Tooth Cures
- By the Time You Turn 22…
Hopefully you found something helpful here! It’s been a year since I graduated. Now that I’m living 1,000 miles from “home” with a brand new marketing job and real life responsibilities, I feel like I have to “re-learn” my own healthy habits. Post-grad life is mostly just figuring it out through trial and error. Figuring out how to balance the normal adult chores and errands, work, enough sleep, healthy meals, workouts, play time, and whatever surprises come up. Having a supportive family with similar goals certainly helps. Surrounding yourself with positive people is probably one of the most important components of your health.
Let me know what other kinds of content you’d like to see, or any healthy tips of your own! Tomorrow marks my two-month anniversary of moving to Idaho and we have an epic day adventure planned. Full recap on Monday! :)
Almost a year ago to the day, I took one of the best vacations of my life so far (what I justified as a “graduation present” to myself). As a country-lovin’ girl with a fascination for small town charm, rural areas, east coast beaches and southern accents, I excitedly planned a roadtrip through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. I still think about that trip at least once a week.
I’m bringing it up again because my mom and I finally started to save all of our pictures from the trip and put them into a scrapbook. We had started our day with a sprints/HIIT workout during sunrise, and after work I had a strength training/plyometrics workout with our trainer for Boise Elite Running. Suffice it to say, I earned my glass of Riesling, which I think heightened my sense of nostalgia over this trip. I may have ended the night by creating a new Pinterest board planning my next southern road-trip (now to decide: autumn or spring?!).
My mom and I planned a girls night to make dinner together, rent a redbox movie, and hang out together. The low-key girls night without workouts, errands, or social stuff was so refreshing since most nights here have been go-go-go. When the sun is out til 10pm, it’s hard to stay home. But then it makes the rare nights with movies and pajamas so much more appreciated! :)
We knew we wanted a healthy dinner so that we could splurge. The most difficult decision: wine or ice cream?!
One of my all-time favorite meals is roasted root vegetables, no matter what time of year. Chopping up the butternut squash is so time-consuming (and slightly dangerous for my fingers) but so worth it. The rest is just chopping up sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, onions, apples, brussels sprouts and whatever else you want to throw on the pan. We mix the veggies with a little bit of olive oil and some marjoram spice, garlic and pepper. Roasted at 425 degrees for 50-ish minutes and they come out so warm, caramelized and flavorful. My mouth is watering!
Have you seen Hello, My Name is Doris? We LOVE Sally Field, especially from the old show Brothers & Sisters. This wasn’t my favorite movie but it was still cute. Some parts were so awkward that it was painful to watch, where you just cringe for the main character. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10 stars, so we had to add an episode of Friends before we went to bed to end the night on a funny note. :)
Nothing super special about our leisure girls night in but sometimes it’s just what you need. Especially when we’re balancing out such adventurous weekends…..cliff jumping and paddle-boarding are on the agenda for the upcoming weekends. We are living more in Idaho than we did in 20 years in California!
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be meeting a friend I made through the running club in a nearby town for a trail run before work. I love driving when it’s so quiet out and running through the sunrise. The first five minutes after the early alarm clock goes off are the worst but thankfully a pot of coffee is waiting for me. And the feeling after a good run through nature is indescribable; you just have to experience it for yourself.
Hope you have some fun plans this weekend & I’ll catch ya back here Monday!
It’s Thursday, which means another throwback blog post! :) Last week I experimented with the “Thirteen Things Thursday” but it didn’t fare so well. I was excited to share this article as “thing #1” but only 18 readers clicked on it…..less than 2%. (yes I see stats!) And so, #TBT returns :)
Originally posted on: June 25, 2014
Ever have one of those days where one workout just doesn’t seem like enough? ;) Yeah I’m guessing it’s pretty rare. Cross country, track and summer training introduced me to “Double Days.” Yesterday was one of those days.
Double run = double shot cappuccino.
Run #1: My high school teammate Matt & I covered just over 5 miles around the neighborhood in the misty morning June Gloom. It had to be quick becuase I’m on the road to work before 7am!
My training goals right now require more than 40 minutes a day, which is all I can fit in the mornings. Solution: add a second round after work. A double run day means a 5:00am five-miler and a 5:00pm five-miler. (And a 2:00pm iced coffee from the shop next door!)
Run #2: took place in the air conditioned LA Fitness cardio section while watching the College World Series. Two words: Baseball boys. Or three words: College baseball boys. (I take advantage of treadmill sessions to watch whatever news or sports are on to stay up to speed!)
Performing 2 workouts in a 12 hour period can require a bit of extra motivation and fueling. Morning is the easiest time for me to run, on an empty stomach with cool air. Evenings after a couple of meals and snacks, the hot sticky air and some exhaustion from the previous effort needs some preparation:
Motivation: What is the purpose of your second workout? Sometimes I need to finish my mileage for the day. Other times the second run is a “Shake Out” run to start eliminating lactic acid from the morning’s more taxing workout. Somedays it’s to burn off the unexpected chocolate pretzels I splurged on at lunch ;)
Set yourself up for success with a different route from the morning, some music or entertainment, and remind yourself that sleep is only a few hours away!
Fueling: After your morning run, it’s important to put some protein and carbs into your morning meal to kickstart recovery before Round 2! Running “double” does burn a substantial amount of calories, like my ten-mile total yesterday. But consuming your “extra” calories in between runs might hinder your evening effort. Give your body at least 2 hours to digest before the second run. Hydrate all day long to replenish what you lost from the morning and prepare to sweat it all out again!
Protein Snack: Quest Bar Crunchies
My lunch hour yesterday took me to GNC to make a beloved Quest Bar stop. I stuck with my favorites: White Chocolate Raspberry, Cookies & Cream, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. (Sweet tooth much??) Which were immediately devoured in the form of: Quest Bar Crunchies!
The bars are so versatile because of their soft chewy texture.
*I promise this is not an endorsement, I am just a loyal customer ;)
Quest Bar posts a bunch of fun and low-sugar recipes on their web pages, and the simplest one is definitely the cookie crunch. Break up a bar, bake at 350 for 8 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
Like tiny cookies, best devoured hot from the over. (I also love mine with almond milk and a spoon, like cereal. Ridiculously good cereal, not that shredded wheat crap.)
I used 3 different bars and split the pan with my mom an dad. We couldn’t choose a favorite flavor! One bar is about 180 calories, 2 grams of sugar and 3 grams of net carbs with mega protein.
So good I could eat double :)