My roommate and I decided to take on a challenge, a challenge for six days. She suggested that we eat nothing but homemade meals and snacks for six days straight. At first, it sounded easy and simple. But then I realized it meant no more lattes after my 8 a.m. class.
It meant no more quick trips to the C-Store to buy a granola bar between class and practice. It meant a meal from the Student Union was not an option. We agreed we would try to consume more water and stay clear of sugary beverages for those six days as well.
I thought the hardest part of the challenge would be preparing all the food. But that ended up being the easiest part.
I’ve always known food plays an important role in the social aspect of people’s lives. However, I didn’t realize just how big of a role it played in my social interactions, especially as a college student. Every time I want to catch up with someone or see my friends, we always agree to meet somewhere for dinner. The most difficult part of the challenge was realizing I don’t need to eat a meal from a restaurant in order to spend time with someone.
My roommate and I agreed to pack our dinners if we ate with someone else, just so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat out. It took a bit more planning, but it wasn’t impossible.
My friends were interested in learning more about our challenge and goals when I showed up to dinner with a dorm-made meal. They wondered why we would choose to take all the extra time to plan meals when we are all busy and struggle to find free time.
I know you’re probably thinking we did this challenge to lose weight. We didn’t. We didn’t weigh ourselves at all before, during or after the challenge.
Our focus was not at all on weight loss. We challenged ourselves to rely less on premade and processed foods and beverages, and rely more on homemade whole foods.
I found my inspiration from websites, which gave me recipes like roasted chicken with vegetables and spaghetti. As for snacks, I stuck to granola bites and fresh fruit between classes. We tried to shake things up so we wouldn’t get bored of eating the same meals for six days straight.
This challenge made me think more about what I put in my body. It pushed me to take a moment before making decisions in the grocery store, and because of it, I have become more aware.
My organizational skills have since improved as well. To plan proper homemade meals I had to be very proactive with my time between practice and my classes.
So many of us have trapped ourselves into thinking frappuccinos and fast food are a part of our everyday lives. But wholesome foods need to be a component of our lives if we care about our bodies. Monitoring what you put into your body can easily control how you feel.
After the six days, my roommate and I were proud of the meals we made and our commitment to it, even if it was for less than a week.
Rachel Astleford is a nutrition and dietetics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.