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Back-to-School Roundup: Kickstarting a Healthy Semester!

I’d be a big liar if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of you collegiates heading back to school in these coming weeks. Ever since pre-school, I love being a student. Starting fresh new courses, with new groups of people, figuring out a new teacher with their new system. Learning a new subject, a new challenge. Not to mention making your own schedule for homework and study sessions in the comfort of your room. It sure beats the monotony of a desk job. Although there is that whole aspect of making money rather than spending money which is pretty nice.

Marketing Student Office Girl | Strongilkemycoffee.com Healthy College Girl BlogI’m trying to tell you to enjoy it while you can! Because even though you may feel overwhelmed or stressed with classes and exams (or worse, group projects) once you graduate and you experience bills, unexpected medical situations, 40-hour works weeks, commuter traffic and these weird things called “taxes” and “insurance policies” you will be as nostalgic for back-to-school days as I am right now. ;)

Super Bowl Sunday Study Snack (stronglikemycoffee.com)When I started this blog three years ago, I didn’t have a specific vision or theme in mind. My daily life has a pretty consistent focus on eating nutritious foods as well as finding balance with being a social student and a training athlete. Overtime, Strong Like My Coffee naturally evolved into a “health and fitness for college students”  blog (even though most of the content is applicable to anyone, college or not!).

Several blog posts from the past three years are so appropriate for this back-to-school season we’re in, so I’ve compiled a list here for you! *Each link will open in a new tab :)

Habits for a Healthy Mind (stronglikemycoffee.com)

 

What's in my lunch Stronglikemycoffee.com

Healthy College Meal Plan on College Fitness Blog Sttronglikemycoffee.com

Healthy Study Snack List from stronglikemycoffee.com

College Girls Grocery Guide for eating healthfully on campus from stronglikemycoffee.com

Healthy Food Collage on Strong Like My Coffee (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Healthy coffee alternatives (stronglikemycoffee.com)

While I’m writing this, there are several other points I want to hit on about setting yourself up for success in the first few weeks of school that are unrelated to health, nutrition and fitness. I’m thinking I’ll write a whole separate post on this later this week :)

In other news, I’ve been called an “expert” by a fellow blogging site. A few months ago, a PR and online media executive reached out for some healthy snack ideas to add to an article on a gaming website. The Empire City Casino online gaming site has a blog with a wide variety of content for it’s users, including this health and nutrition piece. I happily offered my insights and I’m excited to share a link to the finished product with you:

Power to the Brain: Stimulating Gaming Snacks

This weekend I visited one of my college buddies for a beach trip and had my first experience with surfing, acai bowls, and cold brewed coffee. Full recap coming up on Wednesday :)

XOXO

Healthy College Girl Meal Plan

I did a little “data digging” on the behind-the-scenes end of the blog this past weekend. The site statistics allow me to view some “analytics” around my readers (no, no specific names or locations…your identity is safe! Haha) like which pages get the most views and which search results brought readers to my website. Reading through the search keywords that lead people to stronglikemycoffee.com was surprisingly entertaining. Here’s a few of the completely random search results that brought readers to stronglikemycoffee.com …

  • “I feel like a pig” (I’m sorry you had to Google this. :( But I’m assuming it took you to my Farrell’s Ice Cream Post —-> Sunday Sundae and the Pig’s Trough)
  • “Can girls hike” (Ummm it’s 2015, girlfriend.)
  • “Snacks for a Coffee party” (I want to be your friend!)
  • “Fruit in Disguise” (I’m intrigued)
  • “Do I have to workout on Sundays?” Not sure that Google is the best source for that one!
  • More than one “Easy Diets” (Easy + Diet? Hah!)
  • And a surprising number of searches for “Pumpkin Bra

Out of the 26,000 search results in the past  2 years, 10% have been some variation of “healthy college meal plan” or “college diet for girls.” First: hate the word diet. I don’t follow any specific food trends or fad diets (unless someone has coined a fancy term for balancing-a-healthy-dose-of-leans-and-greens-with-equally-healthy-doses-of-graham-crackers-and-chocolate-pretzels). ;)

My daily meals and snacks are pretty consistent, full of fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Because so many “healthy college meal plan” searches lead to this page, (and I don’t want you falling victim to the Banana Girl Diet) I thought I’d share a breakdown of what’s worked well for me:

Healthy College Meal Plan on College Fitness Blog Sttronglikemycoffee.com

  • Everyday begins with a cup of coffee within 32 seconds of waking up.
  • 8:00am breakfast at the office:
    • Steel cut oats with half a banana, cinnamon, occasionally some blueberries, and unsweetened almond milk.
  • 10:00am snack:
    • Apple slices to quiet the growling belly
  • 12:00pm lunch:
    • Almost always a homemade yogurt parfait: non-fat yogurt with ½ banana sliced, almond slivers, strawberries, and whatever other fruits we have at home like nectarines, pears or mangos. Plus a crunchy snack like a serving of honey whole wheat pretzels, cinnamon graham crackers or ½ a protein bar like Quest Bars, Luna Bars, or Larabars.

Healthy College Girl Meal Plan | Clean Eating for College Students | Stronglikemycoffee.com

  • Afternoon snacks:
    • square of dark chocolate with an iced coffee.
    • Pre-gym snack: Rice cake with PBFit (powdered peanut butter, 55 calories for 2 Tbs.)
  • Dinner:
    • Salad (Greens, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, sometimes avocado, whatever fruit is in season, lite vinaigrette), roasted or grilled sweet potato circles, and a veggie burger (rotating black bean burgers, quinoa burgers, and garden medley burgers.)

Healthy College Meal Plan | Clean Eating for College Students | Stronglikemycoffee.com

  • Dessert:
    • (Unless we’ve gone to the gym pretty late, I almost always have dessert. I have a perpetual sweet tooth.) Could be a homemade peanut butter chocolate chip energy bite, square of Ghiradelli dark chocolate, or some dry cereal.
  • P.S.:
    • SO SO much water all day. Dehydration can have nasty effects.  I would say I drink about 75 ounces a day. (But sweat out about 40, hah!)
    • Limit alcohol. I love a fruity cosmo as much as the next college girl but the effects that alcohol has on the body keep me from regularly sipping the sangria. I save my alcohol splurges for special social occasions, and I always try to lighten the drink and sip lots of water to prevent its dehydrating effects!
    • I can’t drink my coffee black so I add in about a tablespoon of non-fat non-dairy creamer, but if you like your coffee sweeter, try stevia instead of sugar!
    • Restaurant calorie and nutrition information can be off by about 10% and typically include more oils and salt than you would add yourself. Packing lunches and snacks for the majority of the weekdays is the healthiest way to go, if you ask me!

Clean eating in college requires a little more effort, grocery shopping and washing/cutting all the extra produce. You can’t argue that packaged goods are more convenient but I think it’s absurdly obvious that our country is in a huge health crisis when you see the average size growing and growing every year. I wish we put more of a focus on the quality of nutrition and the impact it has on every part of our life! Eating healthy in college is like an investment in your future, and after you begin making a cleaner meal plan, it just becomes a habit. You start to no longer crave the icky fried foods and sugary drinks because you know they won’t make your body feel good.

Shrimp Salad from TK Bar (Stronglikemycoffee.com)Aaaand that’s a typical work day meal plan for me. Maybe that will be more useful for those of you googling “healthy college girl meal plan” I hope? I’m about to play tourist in Wilmington, NC and do some potential future-hometown huntin’….. can’t wait to share more later! :) I-40 California to Carolina | Stronglikemycoffee.com

 

XOXO Kenz.

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