Ultimate Nutrition Made Simple: Cooking In College
As the end of the holiday season approaches, there is always a busy transition phase with heaps to do. And as unsettling as this phase can be for everyone, it is especially so for those moving away from home to head off to university—not only is there loads to take care of, but there is no one to shop or cook for you… meaning it’s easy for good nutrition to go out the window.
Investing in keeping yourself well-nourished is important for your mental performance (in classes) as well as your physical capabilities—both on the pitch and at parties! Check out these tips to help you stay well fed and at the top of your game.
Optimal nutrition is a key part of any training plan for ultimate. To start your own plan, check out the Ultimate Athlete Project!
1- Adjust your mindset—mind your body!
The only person responsible for what and when you eat is you, so take responsibility for shopping and cooking (if possible) as wholesomely as possible. Remember that preparing and having food on hand is a lot easier and cheaper if you plan ahead (yep – make lists, use coupons, find stuff on sale) and re-use or re-invent cooked leftovers.
When you do eat out, try to keep away from refined highly-processed foods and do not be shy to ask for a doggy bag—servings are often way too large and will taste great the next day!
2- Dabble in simple and awesome cooking methods
Invest a little time (and money) on some materials that you can cook with. A simple nonstick grill pan, a 2 liter pot, and a magic wand (like this hand blender) can go a long way. Some cooking suggestions follow:
- Go for grills – You can grill just about any solid ingredient and make it taste great! Plant foods such as sliced zucchinis, mushrooms, and eggplant are easily grilled over a little olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and eat hot or cold. They’re great in salads, sandwiches, in scrambled eggs, with pasta, rice, sprinkled with cheese…
- Wrap it – Whole wheat wraps are very versatile and are great warm or cold. You can use them as a pizza base or to wrap up any ingredient you would normally put in a sandwich. For a quick and tasty warm wrapped treat, simply place some cheese and tomato in a wrap, fold it in two (so it looks like a taco) and grill each side until golden (you can add oregano or any other spice to your taste). Try replacing the tomato with slices of banana for a sweeter treat!
- Cream it – A handheld blender can be used to make warm or cold meals. Here is a very easy tasty soup recipe that tastes great hot or cold: add 1 sliced zucchini (w skin), 2 small onions and a pinch of salt to 1 liter of water. Boil for 20 min. Add a bunch of fresh coriander (optional) and boil for a further 2 mins. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and a little butter (butter optional but tastes great) and blend until creamy smooth. Serve or save for later (lasts 3 days in the fridge).
The blender is also fantastic to make smoothies or smoothie bowls. The easiest smoothie I know of consists of one frozen banana (freeze overripe bananas without the peel), 1 cup milk, and cinnamon blended up into a creamy drink. This is an excellent option after a UAP workout!
3- Share and socialize
For most people, it is way more fun to cook for more people than just themselves… and food often tastes better when enjoyed in company! It’s also normally cheaper to buy food in bulk for more people. So unless you really enjoy the solo food experience, try to find a food buddy (or buddies) to share your shopping or your meals with.
Enjoy your improved nutrition!
As with everything in life—training, working out, studying, working, nutrition—remember that it is what you do most of the time that counts, and this means that consistency is key! And if you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick with it… so try to make food-related routines (and all your routines) a positive experience. Bon appetit!!!
Want more nutrition advice?
Sofia C Pereira is an Integrative Nutrition health coach whose highly-personalised approach is based on the premise that each one of us is the best specialist on themselves.
Sofia de Campos Pereira, PhD, Health Coach