Being out on your own for the first time in your life can bring about substantial changes in the way you live. Healthy eating habits instilled in you by Mom and Dad can quickly fall by the wayside amongst new experiences and potential homesickness — but they don’t have to.
Going out to the grocery store can be a hassle when you’re busy with school. For many, the solution to this inconvenience lies in making trips less often and stocking up on items that have a long shelf life. While a longer shelf life may not necessarily indicate unhealthiness, it certainly does limit your options when it comes to fulfilling your daily requirements of fruits and veggies.
Canned and frozen fruits and veggies will only get you so far. Just like any food, eating too much of one thing can get stale, and you could find yourself omitting these mainstays because you’re bored. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Think you can stomach a monotonous meal plan? Just remember, only eating those other items with a long shelf-life — like pasta, Chef Boyardee and canned soup — doesn’t equate to a good diet either.
Obviously, buying fresh vegetables is the best route as far as taste and healthy decisions go, but this option is inaccessible for many reasons. You might find that you live in a food desert — meaning that you live in a location where fresh and healthy food is either scarce or not easily accessed — or you might lack a reliable means to transport groceries, which can mean that a grocery trip is a much more difficult task and easy to neglect when other priorities start piling up.
Storing fresh goodies is another challenge. Like any perishable item, fresh vegetables and fruits will only last so long before going bad. Optimally, you can avoid this issue by buying small amounts that you can finish before they expire, but this requires more frequent visits to the grocery store.
One means of combating this is by knowing the proper ways to store all your fresh items. Some basic tips are to put potatoes in a cool, dry place, store lettuce in the crisp- er drawer of your refrigerator and keep tomatoes on your countertop.
Other techniques to make the most of your produce include wrapping your avocado halves in plastic wrap, freezing overripe bananas for cooking and removing any mouldy items so the mould won’t spread.
Putting off going to the grocery store or cooking a proper meal so that you can spend more time on assignments or studying may be a short-term solution, but the effects of not eating right will eventually catch up with you, impacting your ability to work and increasing tiredness and stress.
While you might not be able to solve food insecurity is- sues for all, with a bit of time and care, you can carve out a semi-functional system for yourself.
There are a lot of barriers in place that make getting groceries a less-than-easy task, and overcoming them is a process. Remember, very little in life is worth sacrificing your physical health and overall well-being. With these tips in mind, make it a goal to nourish your body regularly so that your mind might make it to finals.
Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Public Domain Pictures