Sabrina Noury

Ever since I was a kid, I was a picky eater and liked the worst foods for me possible.  Until college I had a steady diet of mac & cheese, pizza, and bagels.  My diet the first two years of college included much of the same, with the occasional 'new foods.'  It wasn’t until I was in my first college relationship eating around someone who hadn't known me my whole life, that I realized how bad my eating habits were, and that I needed to eat healthier.  While we're no longer dating, I appreciate now how he insisted I try new foods.  I used to brush off the comments from friends and family that the way I was eating was unhealthy and would cause problems down the road.

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But now I realize I don’t need someone pushing me to try new foods to actually change my diet.  It took a long time, and constantly not feeling well before I realized how important healthy eating is.  This led to my next problem: how do I eat healthy on a college budget when the food at school is not the healthiest?

I have a love/hate relationship with the dining options on my campus.  There are definitely healthy options, like the salad bar, which I now take full advantage of, but since it's a college campus, there are also unhealthier options.  This led to me cooking on my own to get full healthy meals I would enjoy (because let’s be honest, I’m still a little picky).

On my campus, we have a store called Dutch Treats which is basically a corner store with food.  This made it easy to use my meal points on items like pasta, dressing, and sauces so I wouldn’t have to spend ‘real money.’  Before I go grocery shopping, I always look at my list and mark down the things I can get at Dutch so I won’t buy them at the grocery store.  This also works for drinks and frozen food, so the only thing I really end up getting at the grocery store is fresh produce, meat, and random things like bread crumbs that the Dutch won’t have.

One of the first things I realized when shopping on my own in the store was that I was shopping only for myself.  Whenever I went grocery shopping at home, we had to keep in mind there would be 4+ people at any meal, so we buy appropriately.  I was buying foods at school like I was still cooking for 4+ people, even though it's just me.  Now when I shop, I base my quantity off what I will actually eat in one meal (or two if I want to meal prep for lunches during the week).  There usually isn’t a single chicken breast you can buy, so when I buy meats, I'll only buy one or two kinds of meats and switch up the recipes.  For example, one night I’ll have cheddar ranch chicken, and another night I’ll have lemon pepper chicken.

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I have a love/hate relationship with the dining options on my campus.

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One thing I didn’t think about right away, was how am I going to cook this?  I love the videos on Facebook showing how to make recipes.  I find it super helpful because I cannot possibly screw it up. Nobody’s perfect, and my meals don’t always come out right, but the videos make me feel like I’m on the right track and if something doesn’t look right.  I also needed to figure out how I was going to cook the foods.  Prior to freshman year, my mom got me kitchen supplies.  Truth be told, I never used them before now.  Other things I didn’t have (like a pot to cook rice) I had to buy.  Amazon was perfect because I didn’t need state-of-the-art cooking wear. I just needed an $8 pot that would be able to boil water.

Lastly, I learned cooking alone is not always fun.  A lot of my friends like eating home-cooked food too.  We go grocery shopping together and where it might seem like a waste to get a whole box of pasta for myself or open a package of chicken breasts when I am only going to eat one, I like to invite friends to share with me.  It cuts down on the costs of ingredients you would have to buy anyways, while enjoying a meal with a friend.

As someone who has always struggled with being a picky eater and trying to eat healthy, these simple guidelines have made all of the difference, and I hope they wil for you too.

 

Sabrina Noury is a junior at Hofstra University pursuing a degree in Publishing and Editing.  She has also published a Young Adult book called Silent Luna. You can follow her on instagram @Sabrina_Noury and find Silent Luna on amazon.

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