Prioritizing YOU in Grad School

January 25, 2022

I’ll be honest, I am bad about prioritizing my health. It is Hard to balance healthy eating, exercise, graduate school, and a personal life. So for me the first thing that goes is exercise, the second being healthy eating (pizza is always a good idea). But my degree is not short term and 4 + years is a long time to be living like this. Not to mention I am setting the tone for my healthy adult life now! At 27, I am quite a ways beyond college and my metabolism is not what it was back then. So my New Years resolution is to build sustainable lifestyle habits! How am I going to do that? By building a detailed research plan. 
  1. To build any effective plan, initial research must be done. First, I bought a book about how someone else built their sustainable habits, call it a case study if you will! It is called Snack Girl to the Rescue by Lisa Cain, which I bought for $4 on Abes Books (an online small business bookstore). I recently found her blog, and really appreciated how down to earth she is, plus, she has a PhD in Genetics and us women in science need to stick together! I have also been building up my primary literature of recipes by using recipes from Slender Kitchen and Pinterest to save different ones. 
  2. Exercise is also very important so I decided I needed an accountability partner. I called my sister in for backup and we decided that together our goal would be to exercise three times a week. Even though we live in different states and have different schedules, we are going to schedule individual times to exercise that work for us and encourage each other to make time for that in our day. 
  3. As all grad students, my schedule is incredibly busy! So leftovers are my best friend. I choose between 2-3 recipes I want to make each week, make my grocery list, grocery shop for those specific items, and then make enough for leftovers for lunches/dinners throughout the week. This way, I don't have to cook every night, which saves me time, and I save money on food by not shopping randomly and buying whatever looks good that week. It's all about intention! Be deliberate with your food purchases and how many meals you prepare at once.
If you’re looking for meal ideas check out my go to’s below and a few of my favorite recipes! 
Breakfast options: 
  1. 2 ingredient bagel egg sandwich (feel free to add avocado!). To make my life easier before the start of the semester, I decided to make two batches of these delicious bagels and freeze them! This way I healthy bagels that I can now grab from the freezer and enjoy. PS - I like to mix the everything bagel spice throughout my dough to give it good flavor!
  2. Cereal: 1 cup unsweetened whole grain cheerios with a banana or mix in a small amount of granola (I add 1/4 cup to mine).
  3. I just started experimenting with making overnight oats - check out a recipe here:
  4. Scrambled eggs with veggies in them. My favorite ones to add are sautéed tomatoes, mushrooms, and kale. I add these in just a few minutes before the eggs to really get them cooking. 
My two ingredient bagels!

  1. Yogurt
  2. Sandwich on whole wheat bread, pita bread, or homemade bagel
  3. Leftovers from the night before
  1. Any fruit! I keep grapes around constantly so I can pop a few in my mouth whenever I pass the kitchen. Also apples, pears, and other berries.
  2. Gold fish! these are surprisingly pretty low calories for 30 + goldfish. I usually eat a handful or two with lunch or when I get hungry in the afternoon around 4pm. 
  3. Walnuts or other nuts 
  4. Healthy oatmeal bars: I usually make these in bulk and then freeze them. This way I can take a few out at the beginning of the week and eat them throughout.
Fast dinners can be stir fries with different veggies and seasoning. Sometimes I use teriyaki sauce but many times I just season it with my favorite seasonings such as oregano, salt, garlic and/or garlic powder, parsley, and paprika. Cooking is a time to be creative so I typically add whatever I am in the mood for that evening. I also cook mainly with olive oil which gives an excellent flavor. 

For another idea, I'm planning on making this Chili tonight (can't wait!):

In addition, I only cook about 3 dinners a week and make extras for leftovers. This gives me more time to focus on my studies while having a healthy meal around. You can also freeze part of your prepared meal to give you something to eat on a busy day in the future!

  1. Weight Watchers fudge ice cream bar
  2. Dole chocolate covered banana slices 
  3. frozen berry mix with a sprinkle of sugar on top. 
I hope my sustainable lifestyle ideas are helpful to you. But please know, I do not claim to be a nutritionist or health expert. I hope by starting this conversation we can all help each other reach sustainable lifestyle goals!


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