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I would describe myself as an "ex-athlete", having done athletics for the bulk of my years up until age 18, culminating in very demanding training for my crew team (3+ hour cardio sessions and weights). After that, I decided not to pursue rowing in college, deciding to focus on academics. The last two years I played soccer and lifted weights fairly frequently, and stayed in reasonably good shape.

This academic year, however, I have decided to take my studies a lot more seriously and apply for a PhD program in the fall. As a result, I spend an average of 10-15 hours studying per day in the library, during which I have almost no access to healthy food. The only convenient place to get food during these hours is from the Café adjoining the Library which has generally unhealthy snacks. I can't cook in my apartment because it takes too much time, and because of a room-mate, my kitchen is unsanitary.

I have a schedule of working out for ~1.5 hours in the mornings 5 or 6 days a week, which I stick to barring illness. My main concern is the "kitchen" aspect of my fitness: although snacks and supplements are not good substitutes for healthy cooked meals, is there anything I can do to substitute (as best as possible) cooked meals during my long days?

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  • Half joking, but have you considered Soylent? – pushkin Mar 27 '16 at 3:47
  • Woah....like soylent green? Not for me..... – rrirower Mar 27 '16 at 16:37
  • I have not, but I haven't necessarily heard the best things. With that being said, I'm open to suggestions. – Alekos Robotis Mar 27 '16 at 21:34
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As JJ says, you need to have the kitchen clean to be able to cook/prepare healthy food, even if it's only once or twice a week.

On the bright side, it can easily be accomplished to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen and still eat healthy for the week, it just takes some prep time/planning, and possibly a little bit of $$.

I would spend a little money on a couple of implements, such as a crock pot (if you don't have one), and a decent automatic rice cooker. Then pick one or two days a week where you make food for the next few days. You can make a large batch of rice, and have it as a side/staple carb in many dishes and many ways. Easy to dump a cup of rice in a wok, add veggies and precooked chicken and have stir fry.

Take a look at your local grocery store. Often they have rotisserie chicken. You could have chicken one night, then take the extra meat, combine it with sliced bell peppers, tortilla, salsa and avocado for a wrap on the go, and then use the final leftovers in a salad or similar. Cook 5-6 chicken breasts on Sunday, and have them as go to quick meals along with prechopped veggies for sides. Crock pots make great "dump and forget" meals, you dump all the stuff in, set it on low and when you get home, voila. Dinner.

Eating healthy and smart on short time just takes some planning. Invest in a small softside cooler case, with a refreezable ice pack you can keep stuff cool and available for eating while away from the house.

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What you need is a bit of a lifestyle change but the first step, wanting to make a change, has been made by yourself and this should be your driver when being healthy is difficult and the café muffins call to you.

The most important next step is to fix this:

I can't cook in my apartment because it takes too much time, and because of a room-mate, my kitchen is unsanitary.

Tidy the kitchen, clean it, sort out a rota if you need to. You cannot eat on a sensible budget in a healthy way without cooking.

You need to take some time, each day, few days or week to prepare your food for the day. Get some Tupperware and plan out your meals using a calorie tracker (myfitnesspal or similar). Your meals should be ready to pick up from the fridge in the morning and should last you all day.

Lunch:

  • Chicken/Roast Veg/Rice (microwaveable)
  • Salad (rocket) & Cooked Steak
  • Chicken & Pasta (cold)

Many more exist, go look for them.

Snacks:

Look for a place locally that sells fruit and dried nuts/berries (UK have Holland & Barret, whole foods, Bulk Powders on amazon). Work out portions of them, tupperware them, and snack on those.

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