Trying to maintain good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle can be a daunting experience -let alone, having to do it while living abroad, on your own, with a tiny kitchen, a budget and studying full time.
The good news, though, is that it is not impossible!
Today, I will be sharing with you some of the tips that have made life easier for me.
First, let me start with some tips that I found very useful.
- Don’t stress and make it hard on yourself. Moving to a different country can be exhausting for your mind and body. The change in weather will make you crave more food, stress will make you binge eat sometimes, temptations to try everything that’s new will haunt you endlessly, and the lack of sleep will make you constantly hungry trying to energize yourself. It’s ok to feel all of this, and it’s okay to eat. Running around trying to settle down and finish all your paperwork and buy everything you need will make you burn those extra calories. If not, once things start to fall into place you will go back to your good habits and shed the extra weight, I promise.
- You’re going to find it so hard to find healthy and allergen-friendly options; and even if you do, they will probably be overpriced. But, don’t panic. It will take time for you to discover where everything can be found. Start stocking up your pantry one step at a time, rather than all at once. You will always find new hidden gems while you’re lost on the streets, or discounts here and there every once in a while.
- Finding time to exercise has been one of the hardest things for me. I just see it as wasted time, with everything I have to do. It’s also okay to feel this way, and it’s okay to exercise less for now. Focus on your responsibilities and studies, and give yourself the freedom to exercise whenever you have free time. Try to walk more often; whenever you have the chance, walk to the supermarket; whenever the sun in shining, discover a new area around you.
- I found it so tempting to try all these restaurants and cafes I have been finding online. But, obvisouly, most of them are beyond my budget. I know how stressful it is that healthy food is so expensive, whereas you can get a cheeseburger from McDonalds for less than a pound! They say good food is expensive, I wonder why junk food is so cheap… Dedicate a day, or two, where you can treat yourself to a good meal. You deserve it! This will not only allow you to try new things, but will also give you motivation to focus on your work during the week, and save money on unhealthy food.
- Plan your week. The best strategy I have been adopting is to plan my week ahead. Every weekend, I look for 3-4 recipes, write down the ingredients I need (trying to find some recipes that require the same ingredients), dedicate a time for food shopping, and dedicate a few hours to cook for the upcoming week. I then store them in containers, refrigerate them, so that my meals are ready for the week and I don’t have to worry about cooking anymore. I do leave some meals unplanned, just in case I ever had to stay out late and grab something to eat. If I end up with less cooked meals, I just cook some GF pasta with red sauce, or boil a sweet potato and have it with a piece of chicken and a side salad, which are things I always keep for emergencies.
I hope these tips have been useful for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a student or as a working person.
I was planning on including a few recipes with this post, but I realized that it is already too long for anyone to make it to the end, this is why I will leave the recipes part for my next post. Stay tuned!
And always remember, love yourself!