I recently read Mark Bittman’s article on healthy eating in Runners World’s January edition, and I can, quite honestly, say I learnt nothing. It is a wonderful article, full of common sense advice and nifty tricks and ideas. Thing is, most of the advice wasn’t very new to me.
Mark advised readers to take a back pack with them running, and stock up on fresh produce that way, rather than buying in bulk less often. I, have no choice – I have a bike, and no car – so my backpack and I make frequent trips to the shops. I run low on food fairly often, and then it gets to serious scrimping. No sugar filled, salty explosions of pre-bought sauce for me. On these days, I often end up mixing ingredients like tuna, chopped tomatoes and frozen vegetables in a saucepan – adding a bit of cous cous if i’m feeling low in the energy department, and that’s dinner in a five minute bish-bash-bosh.
When I cook, I tend to make extra – for example, if I have a stir fry with lentils, kidney beans and peas – i’ll save half and pop it in a lunch box to take to campus the next day. I won’t buy a sanwhich (no doubt brimming with additives and nasties) because, well – I can’t really afford it. You’ll also notice the lack of meat in the above meal. As Mark advises, lots of vegetables, beans and pulses slip into my diet. I eat chicken a few times a week, but kidney beans, tofu, tuna and other options are a whole lot cheaper.
As for Mark’s advise on not filling up on energy drinks and energy bars – dream on! A banana dipped in a healthy serving of peanut butter is my post workout meal – it’s better for me, and it will cost me a fraction of the price.
So, here’s my re-worded version of Mark’s article (without the wonderful recipes, however, which I must say look a treat to replicate): Eat like a student. Not the ‘pizza and take away’ breed, but the genuinly health conscious, truly money conscious, energy expending student who wants a decent, filling meal on a budget; you’ll find yourself filling up on all sorts of cheap, nutritious vegetables and beans in no time. However, this advise should be applied to your food life alone, don’t regress completely. E4’s selection of Scrubs, Friends and other TV treat repeats will not further you’re progress in any area of your life.