Preparing food for just yourself is a skill.
All aspects of preparing food for one must be carefully thought through and this, like mostly everything else in life, will improve with practice. Here are some simple steps for successfully cooking for one:
STEP 1: Planning/Purchasing the food/ingredients
It’s most efficient if you plan what food you want to cook with before you drive yourself to the store and then proceed to aimlessly browse through the aisles picking up random foods that you will most likely not use before it goes bad. However, if going to the store and just winging it without a list is your style and it works for you, then keep doing you. For the rest of us, I highly suggest planning out a list beforehand. Also, because I’m obsessive about planning things and making lists, I organize my shopping list by food group (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein/Meats, Other) and as soon as I put something on my list into my basket I check it off the list.
PRO-TIP: The healthiest (and most-natural) foods are always located on the perimeter of the grocery store. Think about it. Fruits, Vegetables and Proteins/Meats are the most healthy and least processed and (almost) 100% of the time, the deli/seafood section and the produce section are both conveniently located on the perimeter and not hiding in any aisles in the center of the store.
The trick to buying food for one is getting enough food to feed yourself but not buying so much that it’ll all go bad before you get to enjoy it. I like sticking to similar foods for every meal (a fruit, two vegetables and a protein) – but more on this in a later post; be on the look-out for my Whole30 experience! You have to keep in mind that the only mouth you will be feeding is your own. If you find yourself waiting in line to check-out and are overwhelmed at how much food is in your cart or basket, you most likely have too much food in your basket!
STEP 2: ACTUALLY MAKING THE FOOD
The best advice I can give for this section is to keep it simple. I always plan to have enough meat to last you until the next time you can go to the store to replenish and enough fruits and vegetables to eat a few with every meal until your designated replen day. As a college student preparing food just for myself these next five weeks, I’ll try to regularly post things that I make and that you can make too! Here are a few examples:
STEP 3: TAKING PICTURES AND POSTING THEM BECAUSE YOU’RE PROUD OF YOURSELF
The title for this third and final step speaks for itself. Be proud of the food you made (all by yourself and all for yourself), that way when you finish eating it, you can always look at the picture and be proud of all you’ve accomplished. And let’s be real, did you even make and/or eat any of it if you don’t post it online somewhere??
Sample breakfast/snack – any variation or combination of fruit, yogurt and granola.
Sample lunch/snack/dinner – the middle picture: protein (turkey), two vegetables (tomatoes and broccoli) and some feta cheese to help flavor. the right-most picture: simple pesto pasta: pesto is just olive oil, basil, pinenuts and water.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment for me below!
As soon as my internet returns to working properly, I can post on a more regular schedule, but for the mean time I’m playing catch-up for the past few days that I wasn’t able to. So a few things since my slacklining experience (see previous post): I rode the morning Amtrak train back down to school, moved rooms in my off-campus house, and attended my first ever summer school class.
On the Amtrak back:
This event was deserving of its own paragraph – and you will soon figure out why. Every time I’ve ever ridden on the Amtrak train either down to school or back up to home, it has not once arrived to the station on the scheduled departure time and only a few times have made it to my destination relatively close to the time I was scheduled to arrive. So naturally, when the train was scheduled to leave the station at 6:06am, I told my mom it was okay to drop me off around 6:06 to avoid waiting an unnecessary amount of time at the station when I could be getting some precious beauty sleep. Well, for the first time in all of my train-riding experience the train actually left at the scheduled time. Luckily, I arrived at the station at 6:03, giving me three entire minutes to run (with my completely stuffed backpack and wheelie duffel bag over the overpass of the tracks and back down a flight of stairs to the platform, barely making it onto the train before the train’s doors shut closed and continued with its journey South. Below is a picture of the tracks from my train seat either somewhere in Maryland or Virginia.
On my sunrise run through downtown Williamsburg:
As you might have seen from my Instagram post, I went on a run before my first summer class. My school is in Williamsburg, VA, so I have the beautiful and historical downtown Colonial Williamsburg just blocks from my off-campus house. I chose to run through CW (Colonial Williamsburg) on my first run back to school and below are a few snapshots I took while admiring the peaceful and relaxing town early in the morning before all of the Colonials and tourists occupy the streets and tiny, historic shops. The picture on the left is the Governor’s Palace and its walls and lawn and the picture on the right is the rising sun peeking through the trees behind a shop on DOG (Duke of Gloucester) Street.
I’m apologizing now for my lack of blog posting these past few days – my roommate didn’t realize she had to activate our internet before she came later in the summer for her summer school. I’m currently next door at my friend’s house free-riding off of her’s. ANYWAYS….. SLACKLINING! If you’ve never heard of it, I’m warning you now if you watch any videos of people on YouTube, they make it seem much easier than it actually is. And for those of you who still are perplexed at what I’m talking about, a slackline is a 2-inch wide webbing, tied between (usually) two trees and the idea is to do yoga (slackline yoga), cool tricks and dismounts off of the slackline.
I first saw slacklining in the form of Slackline Yoga on Instagram (http://www.yogaslackers.com/) and because I always love a good challenge, I convinced my mom to buy one for our family. It arrived in the mail a day before I returned back to school for my summer session and so I was able to fit in a couple of hours of practice before I was shipped off. Note: although my pictures show me just standing/walking and sitting, please try slacklining for yourself before you criticize how little I was able to accomplish.
When I return home to Maryland in July, be on the lookout for more slacklining adventures and advancements after I get more practice and improve my ankle stability and overall balance. If you have any slacklining tips or easy tricks for beginners, please let me know; I’m always up for trying anything involving a new challenge!
There are many new and exciting races that many of you have probably heard about (or maybe even completed!); these include The Color Run (http://thecolorrun.com/), The Warrior Dash (https://www.warriordash.com/), The Spartan Race (http://www.spartan.com/), The Tough Mudder (https://toughmudder.com/), The Zombie Run (http://zombierun.com/) and the list goes on… If you haven’t heard of obstacle racing or any of these races until now, GO CLICK THE LINKS AND CHECK THEM OUT! Or even if you have, you can still check them out! Now maybe you’re wondering: why is this this girl getting so excited about all of this??
I was lucky enough to run the Warrior Dash recently and I highly recommend it to anyone up for a physical challenge and a fun time. In particular, the Warrior Dash is a little over 3 miles (depending on the location) with a dozen or so obstacles. If you are relatively athletic, you shouldn’t need to “train” to complete the race, although apparently it will make you less sore if you prepare for it in the weeks preceding it. Because it was four days after I came home from finals, I had’t specifically “trained” for it, but being a student-athlete and a relatively fit and strong person, I was able to complete it without any problems (physically) and wasn’t even sore the next day. Note: if you don’t want to participate in any of the obstacles, you are able to “opt out” and skip them to continue on with the running (or walking) you were doing before the obstacle. In my opinion though, the obstacles are fun and a part of the whole experience, so if you do complete one of these races in the future, I recommend you at least try all of the obstacles.
When you complete a Warrior Dash, free pictures are taken of the racers on the different obstacles and later posted on a website for sharing and viewing purposes. Some of the pictures of me are posted below!
Note how white and clean all of our shirts and skin look! When you pick up your registration packet, you get your number, a furry, red viking hat and a grey t-shirt with a cool Warrior Dash design. I completed the dash with my neighbors and in this picture I’m on the far left.
“High Tension” was the ninth obstacle in my Warrior Dash and required racers to swing across a pool of water by holding on to a cargo net. As you can tell from the pictures, I’ve already plunged in mud, so getting rinsed off by the water, even if it was aggressively spraying me, felt a little cleansing.
“Goliath” was the second to last obstacle in my race and YAY for fresh (and somewhat clean) water again! This obstacle required racers to climb up a wooden wall, across a wooden plank, while water is splashed up on/at you and then you are rewarded by sliding down a long slide into a big pit of water contained within a large tarp. After getting rinsed off during multiple stages of “Goliath” I began to wonder why all of the previous race finishers were covered head to toe in mud. I soon found out why……
The end to my first Warrior Dash! After I crossed the finish line, I was handed a finishing medal, which triples as a fridge magnet AND a bottle opener. At this point, there was mud in every bodily crevice I did and did not know existed. No photos were taken of me personally during this last obstacle, but if you want to get the picture of how a person can go from rinsed off and clean to head-to-toe muddied:
After getting my 3-in-1 medal, I was able to enjoy a nice rinse-off in the pop-up showers (while keeping my clothes on) and then headed over to the festivities. There was live music, beer for all racers over 21, a playground (where we took the picture below) and chicken legs and burgers.
I definitely would recommend The Warrior Dash for anyone who loves a challenge and doesn’t mind getting down and dirty (literally). It is a great atmosphere of participants and a good workout (and event to train for).
You are currently finding me writing this post at the conclusion of my sophomore year in college. I always heard my older friends describe their second year as a “slump” and couldn’t quite understand the true meaning behind the “sophomore slump” until experiencing it these past eight months. As a quick recap of my past year at school I had an exhausting (and as it seemed a never-ending) concussion in September – which took me out for the remainder of my hockey season and left me with lingering symptoms until late January, and in the fall my concussed self thought it would be a bright idea to take two math classes, a computer science class and a physics class. Needless to say, my spring semester was academically unfavorable. Then to top off my demanding course load this past spring semester, my legs were just flat-out overworked during our spring season, causing my compartment syndrome to flare up. The painful swelling only lengthened my list of reasons to join the bandwagon to refer to my sophomore year as the notorious “sophomore slump”.
I could complain all I wanted to, but that wouldn’t get me anywhere and it certainly wouldn’t boost my overall level of happiness. Although I still bitterly look back at these past eight months by identifying them as my infamous Slump, I am incredibly thankful for all of my challenges and struggles because (as cliche as this is going to sound) it has made me that much stronger. I won’t go into much detail right now, but keeping a positive attitude will truly go a long way. When I was still having post-concussion syndrome headaches several months after the initial blow to my head, I would go to bed every night praying to wake up the next morning headache-free. When I’d relentlessly wake up to the ceaseless headache I began to wonder if they would ever go away. WELL THEY DID! Regardless of how hard it was to maintain my happiness and positive attitude this past fall, I persevered and I am now able to happily wake up every morning 100% headache-free!
Recap of the first post:
1) The sophomore slump is not fictional; I have lived to experience it firsthand this past year
2) There are always benefits to the negative things in life – you just have to look a little deeper for it
3) ALWAYS KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. It will carry you far in everything you do (I promise)