It's been a longgg weekend. 46 hours of dancers standing and for me 24+ hours of working to set up Penn State's largest student run philanthropy, THON. Why do we do this? We do this FTK [for the kids]- those kids that suffer through cancer. Results? We raised $10.6 million dollars! It is unbelievable what we do. But the hours of work really is an offset to my diet, especially since I usually choose to sleep in between my shifts than eat! And at the Bryce Jordan Center- where this dance maraTHON (get it?) is held, there aren't many healthy choices, let alone gluten free and vegan friendly! So, when I'd get home I would have to strategically plan my eating patterns.
For one, as I alwayss stress this, and will throughout the blog, always always always pack healthy snacks from home. For me, I would pack a granola bar, a bag of nuts, and sometimes I would pack a little salad and then dressing on the side. At the BJC, they had a subway, so I would always buy some of their apple slices (which are prepackaged, hence no contamination!) and either add them into my salad or, if I packed a side of peanut butter, I would eat the apple slices with some peanut butter! So when you know you are not going to be in an environment that is vegan and/or gluten friendly, always find out what is available to satisfy your diet and bring the condiments to jazz up your meals!
Now, for my in between shifts where I had plenty of time to be able to eat, digest, and get some sleep, I would make a good meal! You probably are looking at this wondering how I might've had the time to make this. WELL it only took me 5 minutes! This method is a common method I use when I am on-the-go, whether it is in between classes/meetings/studying. What I do is I buy some really yummy Microwave Meals and then steam up some frozen veggies! These two are staples in my freezer. I always have a huge bag of spinach and a stir fry veggie mix stashed in my freezer. As for my microwave meals, my favorites are from Amy's Bistro and Helen's Kitchen.
The one above is Helen's Kitchen Yellow Curry with Basmati Rice and then I steamed Spinach and a Vegetable Mix of Snow Peas, Broccoli, Peppers, and Water Chestnuts- DELICIOUS. Then, I just incorporated soy sauce into my steamed vegetables, added some red pepper flakes, mixed it into my microwave meal (after it was cooked) and BOOM I have a meal in 5 minutes!
For the one below, for a heartier meal I used Amy's Stir Fry Bowl (the original), then I steamed up some spinach, added some flax seeds to the top of it and mixed in some balsamic dressing to both my microwave meal and spinach and topped it off with GF baguette which was toasted under a broiler for 3 minutes. simple! And this took me 5 minutes as well! And lemme tell ya- these meals taste GOURMET (for microwave meals and frozen veggies!)
The only thing you must be wary of is the sodium content; I trust Amy's and Helen's Kitchen because they have lower sodium, but you shouldn't add any extra added salt! I usually would rather make my meals with fresh vegetables, but sometimes when you are on the go like this, a healthy microwave meal with some fresh veggies is the better way to go! For me, I know that if I have a busy day and I don't do this method, I'll either 1. starve myself until I get home late at night or 2. eat fast-ish food. The problem with this is that if I eat late night, I'm eating late, and eating a LOT more since my sugar levels are lowlowlow. And, if I eat "fast-ish" food, I'm eating larger than my portion sizes- and also risking myself of any contamination with gluten and/or any extra additives! Even if it's a salad- they put sooo much more salad dressing than necessary! So I honestly say, try this method- jazz up those microwave meals and you'll find yourself in a much healthier situation than you think!
"When they say 'We are Penn State' this is what they are talking about"- Joe Paterno 1926-2012.