Simple Changes for Healthier Eating

If you’re a 20-something college student like me, healthy eating probably isn’t always your number one priority. Which is totally fair- at this stage in life there’s a lot of things that are easy to prioritize over something like your diet. But healthy eating is so important, especially in your 20s, because it sets the foundation for the eating habits and the relationship you’ll have with food for the rest of your life.

I’ve talked about counting calories and my personal fitness journey on the blog before. Today, I’m going to be sharing the tips and tricks I’ve discovered along my health and fitness journey that help me eat cleaner. I’m no health expert nor extreme fitness guru; I’m just someone who has learned some things along the way and want to share my advice with you. Let’s get started!

Simple changes you can make for healthier eating

1. When In Doubt, Leave It Out

This means that if you’re making a meal and could possibly get away with leaving out a less-than-nutritious ingredient, do. For me, this was cheese. I used to put cheese on everything, especially in my pasta and on my avocado toast. Recently, I’ve started eating some of my most frequented meals without my beloved parmesan and feta- and you know what? It still tasted great. (Disclaimer: I definitely still eat cheese. I just have made it a habit to leave it out whenever possible.)

2. You Don’t Have To Eat The Serving Size

This one really changed the game for me. I’ve always been the person to eat at or above the serving size- especially for things like pasta dishes or bags of chips. My favorite meal to make at home- one I will actually swear by- is the avocado toast I mentioned earlier. The serving size for the loaf of bread I use came out to about three slices per meal, so that’s what I ate. Never thought much of it, until one day I realized that the part of the meal that is so fulfilling (the avocado and whatever I put on it) could really all fit on just two pieces of toast. That sliced my calories- and my bread intake- by a third! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can really add up.

3. Fruit. Lots of Fruit.

If fruititarians were a thing, I’d be one. I eat a lot of fruit, especially recently. My favorite thing to do with any meal is to cut up a big bowl of fruit, specifically 10 strawberries, 20 grapes, and a cup of watermelon. (Pictured above!) I try to eat this with every lunch and dinner I eat at home, A) because I love fruit, and B) it helps fill me up for only 150 calories extra. Add my regular entrée of avocado toast or pasta on top of that, and I’m looking at around a 400-450 calorie meal that keeps me full for hours. Thanks, fruit!

4. Find a Low-Calorie Dessert You Genuinely Love

Your sweet tooth doesn’t always have to be satisfied by a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream at the end of the night. For me, something that changed the game was finding low-calorie dessert options that curbed my sugar cravings put didn’t put me at a 600 calorie surplus by the end of the day. Fruit is sweet, but it just isn’t the same, so my go-to dessert items are Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses (usually 2, 40 calories total), or Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues (I cut myself down to 1 a day, 22 calories each).

5. Eat at Home.

Make going out to eat a social thing only. If you can eat at home, do. As I’ve been living in Austin, I find it almost impossible to go out to eat alone. I would much rather go home and spend my time cutting up the nice fruits and veggies I bought and make a healthy meal for myself in my own home. I love going out to eat, don’t get me wrong- there’s something about a good brunch that I can’t make myself- but I reserve it for when I’m going out to eat with family or friends.

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Do what feels right for you. Adjusting to a healthier diet was an important change for me, and I’ve found that it was 100% worth it. I don’t feel sluggish anymore, I no longer need a nap to make it through the afternoon, my skin has cleared up- the list goes on. But listen to your body and your needs! Everyone is different, and that means everyone’s dietary needs are different. If you have any technical or personal questions about your diet beyond what Google or I could answer, I urge you to contact your doctor or a dietician to find a nutrition plan that’s right for you.

-K

JuiceLand

I’ve never really been much of a smoothie person. Other people in my life have loved them and sworn by them- my sister is a big fan of classic strawberry-banana smoothies and my dad can’t live without his green veggie mix. But I never really had the urge to buy one or try a new one- until I started seeing JuiceLands all over town during my summer in Austin.

Their Barton Springs location piqued my interest first. (Coincidentally, this is also their flagship store.) I see it when I drive home from work that way, and it always looked busy. I was intrigued, and looked them up. Turns out, there was a JuiceLand location only 2 minutes away from my barre and pilates studio. Score!

After class on Thursday, I decided to stop in. For what it’s worth, smoothies are supposed to be pretty healthy (at least compared to something like a milkshake,) so I didn’t feel guilty treating myself after an especially grueling pilates class.

As some of you know, I’m a creature of habit and very rarely branch out and try different foods. I decided to challenge that, and order something I wouldn’t usually try (but still looked tasty.) Enter: the Raspberry Hooray! Made with pineapple, banana, and raspberry, it wasn’t too far from the norm for my conservative palate, but was still different enough for me to be proud of my adventurous spirit.

Spoiler alert: It was so good. I slurped it down in under 5 minutes, and felt completely refreshed. With the small clocking in at only 293 calories, it made me feel good, too.

JuiceLand has around 25 locations in Austin, and 3 each in the Dallas and Houston areas. Can they come to Norman next, please? I’m feeling like I might get addicted to these this summer.

-K

The Simple Joys of Avocado Toast

A meal that I was really into this summer that I kinda forgot about over the course of fall semester is avocado toast. While this meal is often stereotyped as “basic,” I promise it really does live up to the hype.

My preferred way to eat avocado toast is what is pictured above: mashed avocado on thinly sliced white bread, topped with salt/pepper and feta cheese, with roma tomatoes on the side. The fats in the avocado make it so filling, and I’m easily satisfied for hours afterwards. For me, the game changer is the feta cheese: I put feta on just about everything, so it would make sense that I would put it on my toast, too.

Eggs (scrambled or fried) are also egg-celent (ha, ha) sides to add to your avocado toast. You can easily put them on top for a fresh taste combination or keep them on the side to enjoy separately. When I’m not in a rush, scrambled eggs are a breakfast favorite of mine because they’re just so easy. I haven’t mastered fried eggs yet, but maybe soon.

When I’m feeling particularly spicy, I’ll add hot sauce to my avocado toast combo. My personal favorite brand is Louisiana Hot Sauce, but any hot sauce will do. I find that the heat from the hot sauce balances with the avocado and feta cheese and isn’t too overpowering. (But I’ve also been eating Louisiana Hot Sauce daily for 3 years now, so maybe I’m just used to it.)

How do you eat your avocado toast? I would love some suggestions!

-K