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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Nutrition mixed with chaos

Photo by Zanaia Joshua
The Food Pantry offers students healthy choices like these bags of vegetables.

As a student, mom, and someone who works two jobs, I understand what people mean when they say their life is “chaotic.” Chaos is all around us, and at times in our lives it’s inevitable. However, I wholeheartedly believe that having a chaotic life doesn’t mean your nutrition and diet needs to suffer. Living a chaotic life, while focusing on your nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. So, here are some simple ways to combat the urge of grabbing a burger and french fries to fill your stomach on a busy day.

One key concept of healthy living on the go is planning ahead. Making sure you set yourself up for a successful day starts with preparing meals and snacks ahead of time. These meals and snacks don’t need to be complex, simple foods hold just as much nutrients as gourmet foods! So, what are some easy snack ideas for on the go? Start by washing and cutting up your favorite fruits and vegetables. You’re more likely to grab them if the leg work of prepping them is already finished. Have to go containers of your favorite healthy dips ready to grab with your fruits and vegetables. Adding a dip such as hummus or Greek yogurt ranch can help spice up your fruits and vegetables and make them more enticing.

Some more easy snack options are beef jerky for a good source of protein or even nuts for protein and healthy fats. An even easier source of protein is keeping some premixed protein shakes on hand. Many shakes these days taste very good and can even help curb a sweet tooth. If you are looking for more of a meal, feel free to make a sandwich. Use a whole grain bread and load your sandwich with lots of vegetables and meats to keep you full throughout the day. Use dressings and spreads sparingly as they tend to be high in fat and calories.

We all know that some days you just want to splurge and not bring your own food. Splurging doesn’t mean you have to make unhealthy choices! You will find that many fast food restaurants now carry more mindful meal options. Some great go to options are places that have lean, grilled proteins on their menu. One of my favorite on the go meals is grilled chicken nuggets. Getting the nuggets grilled omits the breading and grease that comes along with deep frying. Don’t be afraid to add some low-calorie sauces such as mustards or any fat-free dressing. Spice up your meal by getting sides. Many places offer side salads, fruit options, and some even offer a seasonal side which is typically focused around current season fruits and vegetables.

The last part to ensuring a smooth day of eating is hydration! As simple as it sounds to drink water, many people lack hydration during the day. For those of us on the go it is easy to want to grab for caffeine such as coffee and sodas. Although the caffeine may make you feel temporarily better, over the course of the day it is causing your body to become dehydrated which in return can make you feel worn down and tired. Making sure you set yourself up for hydration is important. Bring your favorite cup along with some ice-cold water. Some people find staying hydrated to be easier with flavor. Feel free to add fruit to your water to add flavor and keep it interesting. Some brands even make “sodas” now that are made with probiotics and are low in sugar and calories.  The options are endless!

As the school year progresses, I realize each day the impact of preparing my nutrition ahead of time has on my chaotic life. Preparing to set yourself up for success can feel intimidating, but once you get into the groove of it you’ll realize the benefits of living a nutritious lifestyle. There is no denying that we live in a world full of tempting foods, but when you think about eating at places other than your kitchen table; you have to plan ahead to refrain from those non-nutritious on-the-go meals. With a little planning and preparation, your chaotic life may seem a little less chaotic.

For March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has set the focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The 2024 Theme for National Nutrition Month is Beyond the Table. Click the link to learn more about way to celebrate!

Brianna Erikson is in the Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Program. A special thanks to MATC’s Office of Public Health for this content.

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