So last week was the dreaded finals week. Finals week is rough at any school, but since I go to a school on the quarter system (aka trimesters disguised by a different name) our finals week is like a normal semester school’s finals week on crack. It’s ridiculous. Students I had no idea even went to my school all of a sudden figure out where our library is, claim a seat (hopefully near the window at least), and remain there for days on end. Students stop washing their hair or caring about what they wear. DU apparel is seen all around. Wow DU kids have a ton of school spirit, look at that sea of oversized DU t-shirts, sweatshirts, & sweatpants.. Nope, not school spirit. It’s just finals week & picking out this sweatshirt required the least amount of brain energy.
Anyway, the Monday morning of finals week rolls around (which happened to be the most beautiful day out) & while most students are sitting in the library trying to remember their student ID passwords so they can access the ten weeks worth of power points their professors have posted to blackboard over the past quarter, I’ve decided to take a slightly different route. I’m standing in my kitchen with all the first floor windows open, blaring an episode of The Fat Burning Man podcast, & cooking up a ton of good food to fuel me through my finals for the remainder of the week.
While some may have view this is a waste of time – “Honestly Shannon, the school library does serve salads..” or “Why don’t you just suck it up & survive off of that canned fish your always eating & raw veggies or something. It’s just one week.” Yes, it’s just one week but there is no way am I going to be eating anything served at the library or be forced to survive off of canned sardines & baby carrots all week.
The way I see it is that while it may just be one week, and while I could easily survive off of salads & sardines for the entire week, why would I? When I’m eating optimally I’m able to preform optimally (both athletically and mentally). I’m given all the energy I need through the food I eat – I’m able to stay more alert in class, focus better while studying, and power through 3-4 hour study sessions without a problem.
If you were training to run a marathon and tried to create the ideal conditions to fuel your body throughout your 12-week training period – making sure to eat a large nutrient-dense breakfast, include plenty of protein and quality carbs in your post-workout meal, and get a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night – then would you really do the exact opposite when it comes to the weekend of the race? For me, the entire quarter is like a marathoners training period & finals week is like the race-day period. If all quarter long I’ve been eating a certain way, and providing my body with good quality foods then you better believe that’s exactly what I’m going to do during finals week.
But the problem with finals week is time – I can’t spend much time preparing/cooking my meals because the majority of my time should be spent studying. So to combat that problem I decided to spend 2-3 hours on Monday afternoon preparing big batches of a few simple recipes to eat throughout the week.
Here’s what I made:
- About a dozen chicken legs (they were on sale at Whole Foods for $6!)
- A batch of bacon
- A shredded brussel sprout dish
- A ginger zucchini soup
- A batch of my mushroom-kale meatloaf
- A pack of four rosemary turkey burgers
I also washed/cut up some celery, carrots, and sugar snap peas to have as quick snack/lunch options & made sure to stock up on avocados & olives for quick sources of fat. My main plan though was to have the majority of my meat/protein pre-prepared for that week to save cooking time & so that a meal could be easily thrown together with some easily prepared veggies.
Oh & finals week was quite the success! I was able to focus on my studying for the entire week without having to compromise my nutrition goals. And now I’m celebrating the end of the quarter staying with one of my best friends in San Diego for Spring Break who not only lives less than 30 minutes away from the beach but also happens to have the most incredible house I’ve ever seen. Pictures & updates from our