Midterms run together with hours of lecture, club meetings, and study groups and before you know the week has ended and you are feeling sick. You then realize that most of your week has been spent eating pizza from lunch lectures and drinking ridiculously high amounts of coffee (or diet soda, depends on your choice of caffeine).
Vet school can cause havoc on all parts of your life, but especially your diet. There isn’t a lot of time or money to invest in healthy homemade meals and when there’s free pizza constantly around it’s easy to go through a week and realize that you’ve eaten nothing besides coffee, pizza, and maybe the occasional bowl of cereal. In addition to that you don’t feel well and tell yourself you are probably catching that bug that has been going around the lecture hall.
I’m not going to tell you how to fit in the daily recommended servings of each food group into your diet. On a lot of days that isn’t possible for the average student, but here are some tips I have found helpful in eating “healthier” while surviving vet school.
1. Yogurt, fruit, and granola bars – light yogurt or a piece of fruit makes a great breakfast that is easy to grab and healthy for you. If you aren’t a big fan of yogurt (which is me!) try different flavors. I found that light vanilla yogurt with granola can make a yummy breakfast. Granola bars can also be a great source of fiber and/or protein and are a fast breakfast.
2. Freeze it! – Before the semester gets too hectic make some meals in mass quantities that you can freeze. Soup is a favorite of mind that is inexpensive to make and can be frozen and thawed easily.
3. Crock pot – I’ve discovered a crock pot can be a vet students best friend. Set it on low in the morning and come home 8 hrs later to find a home cooked meal waiting and an apt that smells heavenly. An even cooler tip I just found is that there are crock pot recipes online where you put all the ingredients in a plastic bag, freeze it, and then thaw it the night before you throw it in a crock pot. I’m definitely working on some of those over winter break to have handy for next semester. Even a busy vet student can pull a bag from the freezer in the evening and then throw it in the crock pot the next morning.
4. Plan ahead – When you have a moment over the weekend (yes even those can be hard to find!), plan out your week as far as your meals so that you know what you are going to eat when. This makes it a little easier to avoid eating tons of pizza or whatever cookie the coffee stand is selling for the day as the main staple of your diet.
5. Vitamins – Don’t skip your vitamins. Might sound like something your grandmother tells you, but if you do nothing else, try to include a complete multivitamin in your diet to give your body some of the vitamins it may not be getting from the foods you are eating.