A Day in the Life of a Nutrition Student

Hi everyone, I’m Caitlin! I’m a sophomore at CCBC and my field of study is Health Science with a focus in Community Health. After I receive my bachelors, I will be studying to become a Registered Dietitian. I’ll be transferring to Towson University in the Spring of 2019. I moved to Baltimore, Maryland from West Virginia and loving every second of it. I come from a small rural town and now I’m chasing my dreams in such an amazing city.

During my off time, I find myself consistently looking up fun new recipes to make. There’s nothing better than putting on some Frank Sinatra and chopping up some veggies to prepare with dinner. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I also enjoy almost anything with peanut butter on it. Everything is better with peanut butter! Especially on bacon.. Weird? You should try it!

Check out my ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, social life, and fast food hacks

Finding balance

Balancing a healthy diet, school work, exercise, and a social-life is not easy, but there is a way of finding your own kind of balance. Everyone is different when it comes to prioritizing their healthy habits and it’s important to critically think what will fit into your busy schedule. Yes, you may be busy, but yes you can also make it all happen. It all comes down to the choices you make! As a student studying nutrition, I try my best to maintain a healthy relationship with all my priorities. I always find that a planner for my schedule (including my meals) helps me stay on track! Strategically planning my week ahead of time helps me become proactive and improves my overall performance.

How I start my morning

I wake up around 6:30 in the morning during the week. As I awake, I tell myself it’s going to be a great day! First, I make my bed to help myself wake up and it increases my levels of productivity to begin the day. Those two short minutes of making the bed give me a feeling of accomplishment before I head to the kitchen for my morning water and breakfast.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Eggs, avocado, whole wheat or Ezekiel bread are some of my favorite go-to’s. They are fast and easy to whip up before I head out the door to class. Avocado toast with an over easy, hard boiled, or scrambled egg on top takes me about five minutes to make. Adding in some sautéed spinach is a great option for added fiber and its delicious! If I’m feeling a little on the sweet side, protein pancakes are what I’ll make. I use 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, an egg, banana, cinnamon, and a dash of almond milk. They are easy and can be put in the freezer to reheat for another meal.


Preparing meals ahead of time

Preparation the night or morning of a busy day always helps me stay on track. Lean meats such as chicken and turkey have a refrigerator life-span of 3-4 days after being cooked, so a large batch made over the weekend lasts me most of the week. I’m not a creature of habit so I mix up my cooked proteins with different veggies and healthy carbs such as quinoa, brown rice, even zucchini noodles. Being a student, I have to stay on a friendly budget and it’s not only cost affective but helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Meal prep containers

Having the same meal every day gets boring, so why not mix it up? The meals prepped above are some great options that I enjoy. As you can see, it’s chicken that’s been mixed up with tons of veggies and some carbs or starches in all different ways. They are full of protein, healthy fats, and carbs to keep me satisfied throughout my day.

Managing a social life

As a nutrition student, my social life consists of attending spin classes, going to the gym, exploring Baltimore, and finding new restaurants to try with friends. I’m with a circle of friends that enjoy the outdoors and staying active which is beneficial for our health and well-being. If I’m not at work, school, or doing homework, being active with my close ones is always a great way of staying in shape. I like to come up with a schedule for my physical activity, so I can stick to the plan and it’s always fun to have my friends join! I’ve found it easier to contact my friends a week ahead of time and coordinate our work-outs accordingly to our schedules, that way we can socialize/catch up while staying fit! Some days don’t always work out for others to join, and that’s okay, I like to use exercise as a form of therapy as well. A great sweat and flow of endorphins throughout the body guides me into a great mentality. It also reminds me that food is my fuel for exercising so I like to make sure it’s all the right healthy foods for a successful workout. Nutritious food gives me the energy I need to stay physically fit.


Hacks for quick bites:

There are times when I need to grab food on the go or want to go out with friends for a quick bite or a coffee stop. These are some great options when ordering out…

Chipotle’s Mexican Grill hack:

Chipotle is one of my favorite fast options and I will order a salad (yes the base is lettuce,) ask for light brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole on the side. Chipotle tends to load up on portions so for cheese, sour cream, and guacamole I ask for those items on the side. Also, if I have plain Greek yogurt at home, I tend to skip the side of sour cream and put that on instead. The yogurt adds in some protein and the missing “creamy-ness” from the sour cream.

Chipotle bowl

Starbucks hack:

I’m a coffee advocate and run on caffeine, but on a limited amount of course. My go-to Starbucks order is a Café Americano. A Café Americano is a shot of espresso with water. It’s similar to a normal brewed coffee but gives me an extra little bit of a kick of energy with the espresso. I add a little bit of sugar-free vanilla syrup and a splash of coconut or almond milk in replacement of cream. It can be served hot or cold! It is light on calories and provides me with caffeine.

Chick-fil-A hack:

I eat fast food on a rare occasion and when I do, it’s probably Chick-fil-A. They hopped on the health kick as well and within the past three years, they added grilled chicken nuggets to their menu. Those grilled chicken nuggets are a game changer for me, I order the 12 count of grilled nuggets with a side salad (superfood kale salad) or a medium side of fruit as one option. Depending on the day, I’ll order the grilled chicken sandwich or the grilled chicken cool wrap. The grilled chicken sandwich is served on multigrain bun and the grilled chicken cool wrap is served on the flaxseed flour flat bread. If wanted to save some carbs for a different meal, I’ll go bun-less for the grilled chicken sandwich and they also provide lettuce wraps, but for busy days the sandwiches bread provides me with fiber and keeps me satisfied throughout the day.


Tracking progress

The only way you’ll see your moving forward is tracking your progress. Writing down thoughts and struggles throughout the day also encourage me for tomorrow. Reflection on the days-past makes it easier to put one-foot forward closer to my goals. I’ve found that moving forward can sometimes be uncomfortable but the only way to move out of comfort zones is to put yourself in awkward positions.

My friends laugh at me for ordering broccoli instead of fries as my side at restaurants, but I’m okay with that! I’ll reflect on my decision the next day and be happy I ordered that broccoli. That’s not always the case though, I love indulging in yummy foods with my friends but as I keep a log of my process, I know when I can treat myself. A juicy burger with a side of fries is my treat meal once a week, that combination is one of my favorite treats. I also love ordering numerous appetizers with friends like the picture below. If I had well-balanced plates throughout the day, I reward myself with yummy treats with friends!

Mussels and fries

Rewarding myself

As a nutrition student, I find it very important to reward myself for a long week of hard work. The rewards are what keep me so determined. A little bit of restriction is important for me, it provides me with a sense of appreciation for treating myself. I also love the way healthy food fuels me for a successful week, but balance is very important because if I didn’t have that burger every so often, I’d be doing myself a disservice for my hard-earned work… Finding balance as a student can be challenging but so very rewarding. That’s when the saying “Treat yo self” comes into play!

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