Healthy food…worth it?



Scrolling through my Instagram feed after school, I see posts of delicious looking avocado toast, pasta dishes, and bright colored smoothies. To my surprise as I read the captions I see “a good snack that is only 60 calories” or “a good energy booster for the day”. I have never considered some of these foods to be very healthy but they are trending on social media and people seem to see benefits from them.

     My friend Sophie and I decided to test out these healthy foods all over social media, on a mission to if they are worth the trend. For the next week we will construct a menu of trendy, healthy foods and put them to the test. Taking into consideration the price, how long our meals take to make, and how we feel after the week. 

   To prepare for the next 3 days, we went shopping. The total was $140 for the two of us. 

Sophie Day 1 Breakfast

   The first meal was breakfast, Greek yogurt and granola. Hoping I would be full for the next five hours I gave myself a good size serving. Going to school filled up on Greek yogurt I wasn’t hungry until seminar. I watched my friends eat goldfish and chocolate granola bars and started to want some. However, I knew I had a healthy leafy green salad in my lunch waiting for me. It was hard to not snack throughout the day and I normally do, but overall I knew that eating healthy would pay off, rather than unhealthy snacks.

Liz Day 1 Breakfast

    Waking up at 7 am every day I don’t have time for breakfast. I dragged myself out of bed and went to the kitchen to start. Breakfast comprised yogurt with granola, one banana and a glass of milk. I quickly ate as I realized I needed to get to school. Eating breakfast had a positive impact on my day as I felt more energized than normal; however, I was more rushed.

Sophie Day 1 Lunch

   Day 1 lunch was a salad of spinach, lemon vinaigrette, sliced carrots, roasted chickpeas and unsalted sunflower seeds. For sides I had carrots, snap peas, and roasted chickpeas. Nothing was processed, no added sugars or preservatives, all healthy and almost straight from the garden. This meal made me feel more energized and healthier than my usual carb loaded sandwich and salty snacks. It is a tradition for our team to go out to eat after golf matches. The closest and fastest restaurant was Subway. Subway didn’t pass the test be in our healthy food challenge even though it is considered healthy, it is not organic. I brought my leftover lunch of carrots and snap peas inside and watched my teammates chomp on some subs. I was thinking of how I would do this every day, having to prepare meals before leaving the house. 

Liz Day 1 Lunch

   For lunch I had a salad with carrots and roasted chickpeas. The night prior I roasted my chickpeas and seasoned them how I like it. While this process only took 20 minutes, and they were good right out of the oven, by lunch they had gotten soggy and lacked flavor. Hoping my salad would fix my hunger I opened my container and poured vinaigrette on the lettuce; I was pleased how my salad tasted. My lettuce was crisp, and the carrots were flavorful. After lunch I was feeling better about eating healthy and was sure I wouldn’t be hungry until dinner. 

Sophie Day 1 Dinner

   Getting home late from golf and having tons of homework I dreaded taking time to prepare my dinner. I had whole wheat skinny Alfredo. I started to boil the water and turned it up on high, hoping my spaghetti could cook fast. It was 9pm; I needed to eat, shower and do homework. Instead of heating a frozen pizza or having someone else make me food, I kept with the challenge and cooked my own. The turn out of the pasta didn’t look appetizing, but honestly didn’t taste bad. Using Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream and butter, it separated only producing cooked noodles sitting in a clump of Greek yogurt. The perfect picture by the recipe looked nothing like my outcome. I still ate it and finally had the satisfaction of eating carbs for the day. 

Liz Day 1 Dinner

    I was excited and ready to start dinner.  “Skinny Alfredo” with whole wheat pasta  was my dinner. To prepare I boiled my pasta and started my sauce. Looking at the recipe I noticed that the ingredients were far from a traditional Alfredo sauce; however, I trusted the recipe. The sauce had chicken broth, water, and cheese to start. It looked and smelled delicious. The recipe then said to add two tablespoons of Greek yogurt, I hesitantly added the yogurt not knowing how it would affect my sauce. Suddenly, my sauce separated and became this mess of water and what looked like cheese curds at the bottom. After my pasta was done, I mixed the two together. The sauce did not stick to the pasta and just went to the bottom of the bowl. The pasta was flavored like water and salt. Not much of anything else for my tastebuds, reluctantly I ate all that was on my plate because I was hungry and felt full after my meal but not very satisfied on how it turned out.

Sophie Day 2 Breakfast

   Beginning of Day 2 I started off with a filling avocado toast. This is a super trendy food that can be prepared many ways. My favorite is on a whole wheat bun with avocado, red pepper flakes and a bit of sea salt. I was happy with this and I wasn’t hungry until lunch. I would want avocado toast over sugary cereal any morning. 

Liz Day 2 Breakfast

   For my day two breakfast I ate granola, peanut butter toast and a glass of milk. I was missing my morning cup of coffee that fueled me through my day. Feeling full but tired I sat in my first hour feeling like I could fall asleep at any moment. Coffee, an everyday drink for me, had to be taken out of my diet because it is not healthy. My body was missing the caffeine I needed to get through the day.

Sophie Day 2 Lunch

   Using my leftover avocado I made tuna and avocado wrap. The wrap was tomato basil and tasted great. We discovered this wrap on many trendy social medias and menus. It is often advised to use your leftovers to prepare other meals and not waste food. So I felt great eating lunch, with snap peas and carrots as my snack again. 

Liz Day 2 Lunch

   Eagerly awaiting lunch I counted down the minutes until I could enjoy my food. I opened my lunch box and pulled out tuna and avocado mix on a tomato basil wrap, an apple with peanut butter, and carrots. My wrap was an easy combination of canned tuna, sliced avocado, and lemon juice. I am not a huge fan of tuna and was not pleased by the smell of my wraps. I took a bite, to my surprise my wraps were flavorful and delicious. The tuna had a lemony flavor, and the avocado was perfectly ripe and went well with the tuna. I ate everything in my lunch that day felt good after. I enjoyed knowing everything was in my food and that it was organic and healthy. 

Sophie Day 2 Dinner 

   I was pleased that chicken was our dinner as I often eat it during the week. However this chicken was very overpriced. For being organic I was charged $20.50 for three small chicken breasts. A negative aspect of eating healthy is how expensive it can be. I made grilled chicken with whole wheat garlic bread. To make me full and energized for practice, I made a green healthy smoothie. It is very easy to find a tasty smoothie recipe nowadays because they are super healthy and low calorie. By blending frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, spinach, almond milk, flax seeds.The hardest part of this process is craving snacks and not know what to eat. Finishing homework late at night after a shower and snacking on apples and peanut butter was a frequent scene for me the past 3 days. 

Liz Day 2 Dinner

   For dinner I had a veggie burger with kale chips and a cucumber tomato salad. Prior to my dinner I visited the Nature’s Market south of downtown Holland to gather my ingredients. I choose the organic veggie burgers, as they looked the most appealing to me. At home I grabbed a plate and got out my whole wheat buns and started to prepare my kale chips. Making kale chips was a first for me but I was happy to try something new. My burger did not take long at all, I seared it for five minutes then it was ready to be plated. This was a dinner I really enjoyed, following the box directions my burger held together well and tasted good. I ate my whole plate and felt like this was the most filling meal I had consumed this week so far.

Sophie Day 3 breakfast

   For breakfast I had a big bowl of Greek yogurt and granola. I have learned to love this meal. I’m left feeling ready for my day after I ate it. I could definitely see myself eating this for breakfast far after this challenge is over. Even if it is expensive. 

Liz Day 3 Breakfast

   Day three’s breakfast was avocado toast, a smoothie, and a banana. By day three I started to realize that eating a healthy breakfast was easy and it kept me feeling better throughout the day. Taking ten minutes of your morning dedicated to eating a healthy and a good meal is a great idea. 

Sophie Day 3 Lunch

   Having grilled chicken the night before, I had leftovers to eat for lunch. This reminds me of people who prepare their meals. Athletes or people who just love the gym only eat prep meals often grilled chicken, salmon, potatoes and other high proteins. No sugar, no carbs. In a container I had grilled chicken, sweet potato, carrots and cucumbers. It surprised me that I wasn’t wanting the cookies and potato chips my friends where eating next to me. Making sure I didn’t get hungry, I also made another tuna wrap with the leftovers. In the morning all components looked fresh, but when I opened my lunch at 12:21 It stunned me to see green and black mold all over my wrap. What?! I bought these wraps on 3 days ago! Wraps I have gotten in the past that haven’t been organic lasted me a week or 2. But 3 days? I had only used 2 of the 6 in the pack and easy they have gone bad. This occurrence proved that healthy food expires faster. 

Liz Day 3 Lunch

   I was most excited about day three’s lunch; a mashed sweet potato, grilled chicken and rice. This took some time to prepare but was easy. Before lunch I went to the microwave to heat my food, smelling the good aroma of the potatoes and chicken I quickly ate my food in satisfaction. How could this really all be healthy, I love mashed potatoes but always considered them to be unhealthy. Changing the potato and not adding salt made one of my favorite dishes healthy. 

Sophie Day 3 Dinner

   My dinner today reminded me of what a healthy meal really is. Many healthy meals are vegan and veggie burgers were a frequent item seen in posts. I purchased a pack of 2 Hilary’s world’s best veggie burgers. Being a huge fan of meat burgers, I didn’t expect to like this. Following instructions I seared my burger in a pan with oil. I could see the components of carrots, soybeans, spinach, and tofu. While that was cooking I washed some kale and massaged them in olive oil. Laid them on a pan and sprinkled with sea salt and a little garlic powder. Popped the kale chips in the oven for ten minutes at 350F. Once my meal was all ready, I was happy to have super crispy kale chips and a nice hot veggie burger. I used a whole wheat bun and put a tomato and lettuce on the burger. No condiments, no cheese. Cutting out some fattening ingredients can completely change the health value of a meal and it will still be delicious. 

Liz Day 3 Dinner

   After coming home from school, I knew I had limited time to make my dinner as I had work in an hour. Quickly looking at the food I had I looked up a recipe and made an easy stir-fry. Using carrots, snow peas, chicken and rice I could make a low sodium stir-fry that took less than 20 minutes. All in one pan I put together the dish, it was a quick, easy meal that made me feel good.

    In today’s society there have been many moves to healthier eating. Being two teenage girls we try our best to put good food into our bodies, while not stressing about our appearance. Through the past three days I realized eating well isn’t as difficult as some make it seem like. All you need is dedication and to be motivated to better yourself.