We are pleased to feature guest bloggers Carly Speno and Claire McCreight, who are Theatre Art majors at TCU and are also Fort Worth ROCKers! Learn more about Carly and Claire in their bio at the bottom of this post.
When people think of a typical college meal, they imagine something that requires little time and effort. Packaged, processed foods, late night eating, skipping breakfast, and coffee or fast food runs in between classes has become the norm. But who said your studies must take priority over your health during your college years? On a personal level, we rely on our bodies for our craft and work. We are theatre artists, which means long days, grueling hours, and intense physical demands that require us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and routine. We believe food as nutritious fuel should be a top concern among students in college.
What you put into your body will either create or sabotage your success: physically, mentally, and even emotionally. It’s of the same importance of what you put in your brain when you study. The body needs nutrients in the form of real, whole, foods, in order to function at it’s best. Too often, especially in college, we tend to treat our body like a garbage can, loading up on sugar, booze, and other junk that takes a toll on our health and energy levels. Many times, we don’t even realize the side effects that certain “foods” can have on our bodies, let alone recognize what the ingredients even are. Eating as many real, unprocessed whole foods as you can will give you more energy, brighter skin, a clearer state of mind, healthy working muscles, happiness... the list goes on.
When you want to create lasting habits, you must set yourself up for success. Having the things you know you need within easy access will help spark inspiration to work those things into your meals. For example, buying an abundance of greens means you must cook them up often to avoid waste. You might decide to steam them, make kale chips, freeze them to use in smoothies later, or make a marinated salad...and viola you got your greens in! Often, we want to be healthy but are discouraged when we look into the fridge and come up empty. Cue Chick-fil-a run. If you know you have tons of great, whole ingredients in your fridge, you’ll be excited to use them up and less likely to choose the grab and go option.
Some tips for meal prepping: Visualize your weekly schedule. Think about whether or not you have time to come home for lunch. Pick the evenings where you might have time to cook a more involved recipe. If you know you won’t have time to make dinner, put a recipe in the crockpot in the morning and have it ready for you when you get home! Personalize your food prep to your schedule so that you are always prepared.
Have an ongoing grocery list on your phone. Choose some favorite staple foods, and make sure you are always stocked on those. Some examples of our staples: sweet potatoes, eggs, Greek yogurt, greens, turkey burgers, chicken sausage, goat cheese, carrots, broccoli, whole/coconut/almond milk, frozen blueberries, avocados, apples, etc. Buying these foods in bulk will cut down costs in the long run. You can either grocery shop for ingredients based on recipes you’ve found and want to make during the week, or figure out your staple foods and create recipes based on these weekly (bi-weekly, monthly) shopping trips.
One of the best ways we share our lives with others is over a meal. Cooking is an art, a form of expression and a delight to us as much as theatre is. We love ROCK because of the community they have created for people to come together over quality, wholesome food. We want college students to see the act of cooking for yourself and for others not as a burden, but as a celebration. College is about connection, and what better way to connect than over amazing food? Please keep up with our foodie adventures on Instagram by following @clean_college_eating. And if you’re in the Fort Worth area, we’d love to share a meal with ya! :)
Claire: “My body loves healthy fats. In the past year, I’ve incorporated more and more grassfed butter, avocado, MCT, coconut, or fish oil into my diet. I’m addicted to bulletproof coffee in the mornings or homemade warm turmeric milk at night. I’ve noticed when I get enough fats, I think clearer (brain food!), stay satiated longer, crave sugar less, and suffer less from eczema.”
Carly: “When school picks up and my schedule gets extra intense, I tend to get lazy with meal planning and rely on other healthy foodies for inspiration! I love @minimalistbaker for her protein packed plant based meals and healthy desserts, @leefromamerica for her smoothie bowls, and @rachaelsgoodeats for all the color and variety in her creations. Food is meant to be shared and spread, and I love the health food community for this reason. We’re all in this together!
Claire McCreight, from South Carolina, and Carly Speno, from California, are two seniors at TCU with a passion for food and wellness. Both theatre students, they met freshman year and bonded over their love of grocery shopping and dark chocolate almonds from the Kroger bulk section. Having to be completely dependent on a school meal plan upon entering college, they decided to start a health food blog on Instagram to show students that they can still eat healthy while in college. Four years later, @clean_college_eating is still evolving and through this medium they hope to create spaces for meaningful meals and conversation.