I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis

bad grad student eating habits

Posted in tips by Rae on 30 June 2006

I’ve developed some very unhealthy habits while writing my thesis. I stay up late (usually until 2 or 3 am), get up late (around 10 or 11 am), and I eat terrible food. One of the great ironies of the past month or so is that I watch cooking shows while eating fast food. I love to cook, but like most of my favorite activities, cooking has fallen by the wayside while I write my thesis.

But there are options out there for quick, tasty meals. I’m in a somewhat more difficult position because I’m a pescitarian (mainly vegetarian with some fish, but no shellfish because that’s not kosher) but my husband’s not. Here’s a quick run-down of the food we’ve been eating for the past two months and what we think of it.

Fast food: This includes Qdoba’s (Mexican fast food), which is good but heavy on the beans. That may not be the best option for someone dealing with a lot of stress and not enough sleep. I like their grilled veggie burritos and cheese quesadillas. We order a large pizza once every few months because that’s all we can handle. If it were pizza from Lombardi’s, we’d eat it every day. As it is, we’re a bit far from SoHo. And we are so over Sonic, where I ordered their egg sandwiches, served all day, and their tater tots. Uber unhealthy, and really not that tasty. I was so desperate for new food that I even tried Burger King’s veggie burger one day. It tasted like everything from Burger King: gross. We finally ordered Chinese food the other night. I always end up with a huge container of lo mein. I’ve had three servings and the container is still full. How much of this stuff can one person eat? Beyond the unhealthy, not-consistently-tasty factors of fast food eating, it gets very expensive. Grad students=poor. Even when fast food is made with fresh ingredients, it usually gets old fast.
Frozen food: My sister recommended Bertolli frozen skillet meals for two. My sister, who also loves to cook and eat, is to be trusted in her food opinion. So, my husband went to the grocery store to find said frozen food. They have a nice variety of meaty meals, but only one meatless option. I tried that one option, which I probably won’t buy again. Who puts huge chunks of raw garlic in a pasta dish like that? My husband has yet to try the chicken meal he bought, but it looks promising. My husband also bought a frozen, meatless lasagna. It’s a bit big for two people, so my guess is that we’ll get really sick of it and won’t be able to eat it again for a very long time. Which is fine, because there are special circumstances and normally I’d just make the lasagna myself. My husband bought several different kinds of frozen chicken dishes and frozen wings, which he especially likes. I have my pseudo-chicken nuggets by Quorn that taste very similar to the real thing and are just like the real thing when dipped in honey. I also have frozen stuff by Amy’s, but I’m really sick of it all. It’s always either bland or too dry. I’m even sick of the Amy’s mac and cheese (which I didn’t think would ever happen). So, there are both good and bad frozen options out there. Don’t be afraid to venture into your grocer’s freezer section. It will save you money, time, and probably an aching stomach.

Ready-made deli food: This is a good option for special occasions. It’s less expensive than eating out, and you can take the food home and have a nice, full meal. This is what my husband and I often do for Shabbat dinner and date night (which happens to be the same night). It’s too expensive for all the time, though.

Since my husband and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary tomorrow, we might actually spoil ourselves and go to a restaurant. We’re having a hard time deciding which one, though…


5 Responses to 'bad grad student eating habits'

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  1. Brett said,

    I had to laugh — I’m writing this at 3:26 AM just before I head off to bed, and that’s early for me! So I totally know what you mean, about food too — I’m not much of a foodie, but I am finding that as I’m eating too much bad fast food lately, I’m gaining an appreciation for easy-but-good food … so thanks for the tips (although I don’t think any of the brands reach this side of the planet!)

  2. Rachel said,

    Thanks for your comment, Brett. I got into bed at about 2, which is on the earlier side of normal. I went to bed around 4:30am the night before last and was in terrible pain all day yesterday. We abuse our bodies and our bodies abuse us right back!

    When I lived in Estonia last summer, there was only one brand that I could find there that we also have here in the US: Coca-Cola. But there was so much good, ready-made (and by US standards, very inexpensive) food there, I gained 7 pounds in two months. What’s particularly odd about that is no matter how much fast food I eat here, I don’t gain any weight. Perhaps it’s something in the water?

  3. tina said,

    I’m chuckling to myself too – just got back from an d unhealthy mexican food restaurant cause that is all that is open this time of night. Sigh…. grad school is good for the brain, definitely not good for the body! if my husband didn’t cook veggie, it would be morning* black bean burgers and chik nuggets 24-7. And maybe a baked potato thrown in for good measure.

  4. Rachel said,

    There were a few weeks a while back when I ate little more than Taco Bell tostadas every day. Now just driving past a Taco Bell makes me nauseous.

    I didn’t mention it in the original post, but I have one food addiction that is particularly bad: sunflower seeds. There are mounds of shells around the house, not to mention my tongue always feels a bit raw from all the salt. I buy the reduced sodium kind so that I can eat more, kinda like smokers buying light cigarettes and smoking more than usual. At least I don’t smoke, though.

  5. Linda said,

    RAchel, I know you guys are on a budget, but it is so worth a trip to the Fresh Market on Thomasville once every so often. They have wonderful, but not really cheap, prepared veggie foods and an excellent range of frozen stuff. For me, I still like Amy’s mac and cheese, crispy around the edges if you please.

  6. Rachel said,

    That’s one of the places we go for ready-made, deli food. That’s probably the least budget-friendly store in the area. Everything looks so good and I always leave with more than I intended to buy!

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