What I Eat in a Day – College Dining Hall Edition

I am … a creature of habit

 

Even when it comes to food.

So that means my menu day to day is exactly the same. In a way, it’s good because my stomach doesn’t get upset and my energy levels are consistent. Being a runner but also just generally a student, I demand a lot of energy to function.

Of course, as seasons come and go, my meals may look sort of different, but as of right now, this is what my three square meals + snack are looking while at boarding school (aka college dining hall).

 

BREAKFAST// I mentioned this in last week’s post, but I bring granola from home as it is less sugary than the ones served in the dining hall. My breakfast is probably the one that stays the most static as my main priority in the morning is about getting my homework done not what I’m eating.

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So here’s ¾ cup of granola (Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola) and lots and lots of almond milk (you’ll see soon that I love my almond milk. With banana sliced on top and some fruit on the side.

 

LUNCH// My lunch is my “carb-y” meal. This meal is what fuels me for my cross country practice later in the day. The combination is always a sandwich plus a side salad. However, there’s some variation as the salad bar toppings can vary.

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Here’s is a sandwich with two pieces of multi-grain bread with either a basil pesto or roasted red pepper spread with tomatoes and spinach. And salads … the combinations are just too much.

 

DINNER// Dinner is my salad and green meal. I go straight to dinner right after my cross-country practice so I’m definitely craving for something lighter and not too heavy.

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SNACK// This was discussed in more detail in last week’s post, but I usually snack on a granola bar and a handful of almonds in between my meals.

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HYDRATE// And of course! I gug at least 3 of my 32 fl.oz HydroFlasks on a daily basis. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!!

 

What is your go-to meal for the school year?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Eating Smart with a Busy Schedule

It’s been a couple weeks since school started, and I’m already experiencing the stresses of classes. The amount of homework, tests, and papers is overwhelming, and it’s difficult to maintain healthy eating habits. The thing that hurts me the most is definitely midnight smacking. Admittedly, food can be my way of relieving stress-at least temporarily. 

But here are some of the ways that have helped me avoid midnight snacking:

1. Log your eating habits. It feels satisfying to look at a log that you’re proud of, so less snacks=accomplishment!

2. Study in an area that prevents you from accessing the food easily. For example, a room on another floor with the door locked. Believe it or not, the various motions you have to do to get to the food might just take long enough for you to dissuade yourself from eating.

3. Brush your teeth before studying! You won’t be tempted to eat because 1, you would have to brush your teeth again which is annoying, and 2, when you’re (finally) done with homework for the night, you can go to sleep right away rather than wasting time in the bathroom. This is definitely the best tip that I can give because it has helped me SO MANY TIMES! 

Ok, I hope those tips helped! What is your method for reducing the temptation of midnight snacking?

Love,

Serena

Study Snacks from Home

Not only am a pretty passionate foodie, I’m a passionate snacker. Sitting in class all day long, hauling my massively heavy backpack around campus, plus studying well into the late late night, means I need something to nibble on to keep me energized and efficient. And of course, hangry is never a state that you or your friends want to see you in.

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ONE// Almonds

I have a love and hate relationship with almonds. I love their taste but I hate how they are so energy dense that I am allowed to only have a handful. Read: allowed. This means that I usually get carried away and have more than handful. My mom was very wary when I didn’t have her put a handful of almonds in separate ziploc bags so I could portion control and instead dump them in one ziploc. Hopefully, I can control myself better this year!!!

 

TWO// Granola

I am a huge proponent of eating breakfast. It keeps your blood sugar level in a much more manageable state but also fuels you for the school day ahead. My personal favorite is muesli (as seen in my obsessions from the summer). The dining hall at my school has almond milk but unfortunately has a very sugary granola, so I brought the granola from home. I portion controlled these beforehand so all I have to do in the morning is to just stick it in my bag on the way to breakfast.

 

THREE // Granola Bars

I love granola bars …. however, you have to keep an eye out on granola bars because some are not as healthy as they are rumored to be.

My personal favorites are the KIND bars that are sold in Costco. I recently found a new favorite (at Costco, of course) in the Kashi brand. They are similar in taste to the Nature Valley Honey and Oats bars but less thick so it’s much much easier to chew.

 

FOUR // Coconut Water

I’m all about hydration and there’s nothing more hydrating than coconut water. Again, I got these from Costco (guess where my favorite grocery store is???) and they are super convenient as they come in a 12-pack in the mini size instead one big bottle. You definitely get lazy to even wash a mug, so having the coconut water easily drinkable right then and there is always a plus.

 

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FIVE// Tea

I guess I’m going more towards study drinks than snacks, but I personally love tea. I don’t drink coffee (and don’t plan on drinking any in the future), but sometimes you need an energizing drink. Or sometimes, I drink tea to stop eating. The ginger tea (the two green ones on the left) and the red ginseng tea are both have a strong taste so they definitely suppress my appetite.

 

What’s your favorite study snacks? Any I should try out?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Canada Part 4: Quebec City

Check out Canada Part 1,2, and 3. This is the last in the series 😉

On the second day at Quebec City, we took a bus tour and visited the Old Port Market, Plains of Abraham, and Old Quebec. 


I finally bought some Canadian maple syrup! It may seem touristy, but I thought the syrup tasted pretty good!

Hiking the Plains of Abraham while eating an amazing croissant. Probably the best idea I’ve had…

Next, we drove to the Montmorency Falls and hiked all the way to the top!


Views from the top 🙌 plus a rainbow!

We hiked until dark and headed back to the Old City for dinner. 

We dined at Mistral Gagnant, a very authentic and homey French restaurant. The food was very decently priced and I would definitely suggest coming here for a pleasant experience!

Lamb with potatoes and veggies

This wonderful dinner finally concluded our stay at Quebec City and Canada. Until next time!

Love,

Serena

How to Avoid the Freshmen 15

Staying healthy in college is a major concern for those heading to college. While the Freshmen 15 may be a haunting threat to many, there are easy changes you can implement into your routine or tips you can keep in mind that might keep those extra 15 (or even more) pounds off.

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Now, I do want to preface that while weight gain is mainly considered as a bad and unhealthy thing, many might be surprised that people care a lot more about who you are and what qualities/characteristics you possess than how you look. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset of looking a certain body type and size, but guess what? Nobody cares as much as you.

Think of these tips and changes as long term, lifestyle changes for a healthier version of yourself rather than quick-fixes so you hit a certain number on the scale.

Just before I start, I do want to say, even though I am the one writing this post, I did gain about 30 lbs. my freshmen year of boarding school. I left the summer before freshman year with an eating disorder and a drastic 20 lbs. weight loss that happened because of my vulnerable 13-year self. However, I do attribute a lot to the buffet style dining hall, the wide availability of food (especially the bad ones), peer pressure, and stress eating. So don’t worry, I’ve been there too.

 

Once you sit down, stay down // This is one the hardest things for me to keep. It’s so easy in a buffet style dining hall to keep on going for seconds, thirds, and fourths. However, 99.99% of the time I stand up to get seconds, my stomach already feels full but my mind who denies it wins. So stick with your single serving. I think the most helpful tip for this tip is to eat slowly and really savor each bite in that single serving.

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Dampen the size, up the frequency // In the beginning of my freshmen year when I realized that the dining hall wasn’t open 24/7 (unlike the convenience of your pantry at home), I suddenly ate three very big meals because I knew I wouldn’t be getting in another snack/meal until the dining hall opened. This was such an amateur trick – instead of expanding your stomach, eat in moderate portions but eat whenever you’re hungry. This means that you’re going to have to keep healthy snacks at hand so even if the dining hall isn’t open, you’ll still have access to food. My favorites are apples, plums, bananas from the dining hall (just pick them up as you leave) or KIND bars and granola that I buy at Costco before coming to school.

 

Be picky //  I know when we were young, our parents told us to NOT be picky eaters, but here I am telling you to be. I mean picky in a sense of picking when to have your indulgences. Life is too short and precious to not eat those processed and fatty indulgences – so “schedule” when you’re going to have your indulgences and have them then and only then.

In a similar fashion, everyday at the dining hall, be picky about what choices you are making. That chicken breast look funny? Then don’t get it. The potatoes looking too oily? Don’t get it. We all know what’s good and bad for us, it’s just the matter of carrying out our inner-thoughts.

 

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Find a buddy // Everything is better with a friend….

This is so so true. Bring a buddy with you to the gym on campus or find a class nearby. Maybe it’s my Type-A personality, but whenever I have someone working out to me, I push myself to be better – to be better than them. But best of all, having a buddy helps to keep you accountable. Not only for working out, but eating habits. Serena is definitely my eating “mom” – she’s always with me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and tells me whether I can or cannot get a bowl of yogurt (#yogurtlover).

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MOVE // Just move!!! There’s something about endorphins and breaking a sweat that makes you feel so productive and energized. My personal favorite is running – I love going on runs after a long day of classes as a stress reliever. I know that not everybody loves running, so just do whatever makes you happy and active. Walk, dance, do yoga, play tennis, just anything that makes your heart pump.

 

Don’t be obsessive – life is too short // While all these tips are great to keep those 15 pounds off, don’t make these tips restrict you from having late night pizza or dessert with friends! Remember, everything in moderation!

 

What are your tips for keeping your weight in check?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Stretching 101

Happy Labor Day!

 

I hope that through the long weekend, you’ll be getting some much needed r&r. With rest in mind, I wanted to talk about the importance of giving our physical bodies rest: stretching.

 

I’m sure we can all relate that we hated/still hate the dynamic warmup and cool down stretch before and after every sports practice. I personally thought these were a waste of time so during my morning runs this summer, I skipped warming up and cooling down and boy, did it take a toll on my body.

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Just like my stubborn old self you may ask “Why is stretching important?” Harvard Health says: Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”

 

As a runner, I need to keep my muscles limber and loose but strong as well. However, during the summer, after I came back from runs that strengthened my legs, I would go straight into showering and carrying on with my day. This made my muscles gradually day by day become shorten and tight and weak.

 

Stretching involves more than just body stretching – it also includes foam rolling, muscle stick, and proper nourishment. Here’s my current routine of my stretching routine.

 

BEFORE WORKOUT// Before a workout, you want to get dynamic stretching in “as opposed to static stretches, which are held for 30 seconds or more in the same position (think toe touches), this type of stretching involves active movements that mimic your actual workout. … During dynamic stretching, you’re constantly moving, so it provides a cardio warm-up as well” explains Julie Mulcahy, M.P.T., a sports medicine physical therapist.

 

Sometimes, my quads feel a bit sore, so I might get in some foam rolling in before my practice.

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Now you may ask, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (which is a fancier term for self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points). Foam rolling can be done with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, tennis ball or even your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points of your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. (source: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/what-is-a-foam-roller-how-do-i-use-it-and-why-does-it-hurt)

 

When I overworked my legs this summer, I did A LOT of foam rolling. I did a total of foam rolling for 20 minutes – five minutes for each side and boy did that hurt. But it was definitely worth it.

 

AFTER WORKOUT// Post-workout is where you want to get your “static stretching” in. Personally, I love my post-workout stretches because they allow me to slow down my breathing and genuinely cool down. I don’t know the names of the exercises I personally love but here are some graphics of them.

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I also make sure to do a lot of foam rolling and muscle stick after the stretch. This is how I have it in my dorm for easy storage and access. The blue object is the foam roller while the gray is my yoga mat so I have a clean space to roll out on. The muscle stick goes inside the hole the yoga mat creates. There’s definitely no excuse for properly recovering your body even if you’re living in a dorm!

 

What’s your favorite stretch?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Canada Part 3: Montreal and Quebec City

Check out Canada Part 1 and Canada Part 2!

Montreal offers many attractions, and my family and I visited the most famous ones:the Notre Dame Basilicca, Jean Talon Market, and Mont Royal.

Notre Dame Basilicca: where Celine Dion got married!
A yummy dessert in the Jean Talon Market
Views from Mont Royal
 

Our first stop was Mont Royal, a park that is often compared to Central Park in New York for its location in an urban area, and it’s beauty. My family and I walked around the park for a couple of hours, and it was definitely a workout! There were numerous people running up and down the countless steps of the park. It’s a great place for marathon training!

We only spent one day in Montreal, I wish we could’ve walked around longer at the Jean Talon Market! There were numerous fruit and veggie stands with loads of samples. I couldn’t get enough of them!
Next, we drove a couple hours north to Quebec  City. 

We had dinner at the Table restaurant. 


I had a salmon tartare, which tasted amazing because I love raw salmon! I also ordered an arugula salad with raw tuna, potatoes, green beans, and olives. There was too much tuna for the amount of arugula! Also, the addition of the potatoes, green beans, and olives didn’t really fit. I also tried a bit of poutine, a dish that Montreal is famous for. Essentially, poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I didn’t think the poutine tasted very special. Maybe I just went to the wrong place to try it.

We spent the rest of the night strolling around Old Quebec, and we took pictures of the elegant and gargantuan Chateau Fromtenac, a grand hotel that was named a national historic site.

Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park)
Views from the Plains of Abraham

The Old City stole my heart, it was breathtaking, and my family decided to stay another night in the beautiful city.

More on Quebec City coming soon in Canada Part 4!

Love,

Serena

DC Restaurant Week @ J. Gilbert’s

One of my family’s favorite weeks is Restaurant Week.

It’s a great way to explore (expensive) restaurants in your area by eating a full course that you otherwise might never do.

So the day before I headed off to school, my mom and I went to J. Gilbert’s, a steakhouse near my house that is famous for their wood-grilled steaks, as it was one of the many restaurants participating in DC Restaurant Week.

I’ll leave the rest to the photos (although they are a bit dark because it tends to be that expensive, up-scale, usually steak house restaurants are dimly lit – so I apologize for the horrible lighting).

 

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This was the bread starter – it was DELICIOUS. The bread was so soft and buttery…ugh, can’t even explain it.

 

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Just for reference, here’s what my mom and I each ordered:

Stephanie:

  • Appetizer | Crab Bisque
  • Main | Flat Iron Steak w/ a side of Mac and Cheese and Asparagus
  • Dessert | Cookie Box (which is not shown because it was just cookies)

 

Mom:

  • Appetizer | Wedge Salad
  • Main | Ribs w/ a side of french fries and some sort of corn dish
  • Dessert | Dark Chocolate Velvet Cake w/ whipping cream and raspberry sorbet

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Don’t these look delicious? I am craving these now as I write the blog post haha

Have you participated in Restaurant Week before?

xoxo,

Stephanie