Now that the holiday season is behind us, if you’re looking to clean up your diet and start making healthier food choices, the start of the new semester is the perfect time to do so. After all of the unhealthy meals of the holidays, January is the ideal month not only for a post-holiday cleanse, but for a diet change, eliminating some bad eating habits to start the semester feeling great. While setting the intention for healthy eating is easy, deciding what to eat that’s healthy yet satisfying in a moment of pure hunger is not. So here’s a guide for one day full of healthy meal and snack options to help you with your healthy start.
8:30 Breakfast- Plain Greek Yogurt with Honey, Granola and Fresh Fruit
Even though its cliché, starting your day with the right breakfast is essential. Choosing the wrong breakfast will leave you with a mid-morning pang of hunger, which you could be tempted to satisfy with an unhealthy option. Instead, opt for a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, which has more protein than regular yogurt, healthy probiotics, and no added sugar like fruit-flavored yogurts. Adding honey is the perfect way to sweeten it since honey is extremely good for you, and adding granola not only gives it the perfect crunch, but makes it so much more filling. Add a handful of berries or a banana on top to get in some of your daily fruit, and you’ll be starting off your day on a healthy note
11:00 Mid-Morning Snack- Trail Mix
Trail mix is the perfect snack to toss in your bag as a health snack in between classes or at the library. You can make your own or buy a pre-made mix at the store, but the best thing about trail mix is that it can encompass whatever ingredients you like best, making it not only healthy but satisfying too. For the perfect trail mix mixture, add any type of nuts or seeds for protein, dried fruits or raisins for something sweet, and even pieces of chocolate if you need an extra pick me up!
1:00 Lunch- Protein-Packed Salad
A salad is a perfectly versatile canvas for lunch since it allows you to make something healthy, but can include whatever ingredients you like, and can be changed up each time you make it for variety! Start with a bed of whichever lettuce you prefer, add vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados (or you can even stray from the traditional salad vegetables and add things like corn, green beans and broccoli), then add at least one ingredient with significant protein, such as canned tuna, chickpeas, hardboiled eggs, quinoa, or sunflower seeds. After you have your vegetables and protein you can then add whatever toppings you in the mood for, such as feta cheese, edamame, or croutons.
3:30 Mid-Afternoon Snack- Apples with Peanut Butter or Roasted Chickpeas
This time in the afternoon is when most people experience a drop in blood sugar, and usually opt for a caffeine fix. While caffeine is certainly called for at this point in the day, make sure to have a healthy snack along with your coffee so that you wont feel the urge to snack on something unhealthy right before dinner. If you prefer something sweet, having apples with peanut butter will satisfy your sugar craving, while the peanut butter will give you great protein to see you through the end of the day. If you prefer salty snacks, make a big batch of oven-roasted chickpeas with spices at the beginning of the week, and keep a small container in your bag. Chickpeas are great for protein but also taste delicious and crunchy when roasted.
7:00 Dinner- Minestrone Soup with Pesto
While healthy dinners can come in various forms, depending on personal preference, one great option for a healthy dinner is a vegetarian Minestrone soup. Minestrone soup is perfect because you can load it up with lots of vegetables, such as spinach, tomatoes, carrots, onion, celery and zucchini, and you can also add a potato to give it some volume, and beans to make it filling. By adding pesto at the end, it gives the soup endless flavor so you won’t even know you’re eating something healthy! And, if you need a little something extra with your soup, you can always accompany it with a whole-wheat bread roll.
Photos courtesy of Pinterest