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It’s back-to-school time and, as a student, you live a busy life. I know I do! Somewhere between back-to-back classes, late nights, due dates (and attempting to fit a fitness class in between breaks), the last thing you should have to worry about is what you’re putting in your body. Choosing—and living—a beneficial plant-based diet can be simple and easily achieved.
Here are some of my favorite tips and recipes that can help you embrace a healthy plant-based eating regimen, giving you that much-needed energy boost to sprint across campus.
Mixing up a filling and nourishing smoothie in the morning will keep you focused throughout your school day. I like to use a Nutribullet—you can quickly take the blender cup to class with you.
- ½ cup granola*
- 1 cup hemp milk
- 2 spoonfuls of hemp protein powder
- 3-4 leaves (purple or lacinato) kale
- 1 banana
- ½ green apple
- 2 ice cubes or a handful of frozen berries
*I like to use granola made with oats, dates, and sunflower seeds. I avoid granolas with added oils and sugar.
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, sip and enjoy!
Tip: If you’re not in the smoothie mood, steel-cut oatmeal served in your school’s cafeteria is a great option, too. Pair it with berries or a banana, and you’re good to go.
For lunch and dinner, the salad bar is your best friend. You can make your own salad and top it with some nutritional yeast, black pepper, and olive oil. Try pairing your salad with a plant-based soup or special the cafeteria is serving. And don’t forget to check out the plant-based options your school is serving—like vegan pizza and veggie burgers.
Have a kitchen in your dorm? Roll up your sleeves and make dinner! Living a plant-based diet can be a lot of fun when you’re looking for new recipes to try and improving old ones.
- 2 Siete Almond Flour Tortillas
- 1 spoonful of black bean hummus
- ½ cup of pico de gallo
- 2 handfuls of chopped kale, spinach or romaine lettuce
- ½ avocado
- 1 handful sprouts
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the tortillas on a large non-stick pan for 4 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove the tortillas and spread the hummus on them. Place tortillas on plate and add the rest of the ingredients (in no particular order). Fold and enjoy!
- ½ sweet potato
- 3 handfuls of your favorite kind of leafy green
- ½ of an avocado
- 2 tablespoons of hummus
- Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes and place into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes (or until tender). Remove sweet potatoes and let cool. Thinly slice avocado, and set aside. Place leafy greens, sweet potatoes and hummus in a medium-size bowl, adding the avocado on top. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Feeling hungry throughout the day? Some good mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks include fruit and veggies, such as carrots, celery, cucumber or plant-based yogurt (like coconut or almond yogurt). My must-have snack is a handful of blueberries with ¾ cup of coconut yogurt—it’s full of probiotics. Plus, blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.
After a long day of classes, I am usually in the mood for a sweet treat. My oh-so-satisfying plant-based dessert option is a few pieces of 72%+ cacao dark chocolate. If I’m feeling more adventurous, I’ll break up two dark chocolate almond butter cups and add them to ¾ cup coconut yogurt. Yum!
Eat better, feel better. That’s my mantra. It’s important to stay focused and plan what you want to eat for the week so you don’t get caught off-guard and indulge in something that might not make you feel good. Surround yourself with people who value living a healthy lifestyle. Get inspired about how much your body will appreciate the nourishment you give it!
Even if what you eat is not entirely plant-based, the most important thing you could do is add greens to your meal to make it more nourishing. Think of a plant-based diet as what you can add to your diet more than what you take away from it.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.