Eating the right foods to help you through University
Food – both your best friend and your worst enemy. From studying alone to partying in a group, getting a good and balanced diet is always important. Without a doubt, this chapter of your life is going to be one of the busiest and unorganised chapters of your life. Whether you live alone or commute from home, you are still responsible for your own wellbeing. Besides your life being suddenly filled with a hectic schedule, a bazillion books and money in your bank – your life is now undoubtedly filled with temptation. The temptation to skip “just this one” lecture, to have “just this one” all-nighter, and have “just this one” pizza delivered. What you must remember is that, once you give in to one temptation, you must do something to prevent the “just this one” becoming a habit.
So, what are the right foods for a student anyway? The answer is quite simple – if you avoid having too much junk and fast food, then you are eating the right foods.
Fast food is the most dangerous of these groups as it is everywhere, on every street in London – at all times of day. The temptation to eat fast food instead of good food is very great for students, because it is just as its described – “fast”. How it’s not described is the worst part – fattening and bad for your health. Try cooking foods that are simple and quick yourself, or make more than you need of dinners and save portions in tubs to eat quick on the go. This will lower the temptation for fast food, while keeping you fuelled for the day.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of giving yourself too much food. Pasta and rice are examples of food that are often looked at badly because they are bulky, starchy and not very nutritional. However, eating whole-wheat pasta or rice in the right portion sizes can be very nutritional and great for fuelling your day. Try making a spaghetti Bolognese with more of your 5 a day and less spaghetti – some people even use apples in this dish, with ‘spaghetti’ made from courgette or aubergine! So, get creative but don’t overfill your plate with carbs. You can always save a little for another meal if you make too much.
Something that is very common among students is that they think they don’t like something but have really never tried it or have only attempted a food type once or twice. This means many students will oppose salads or fish in general, thinking if they didn’t like it once they wont ever like it. However, there are many many different types of salads, with many different dressings and can be eaten alone or paired with a particular protein. Examples include a chicken Caesar salad, a walnut bistro salad and even potato and egg salad. Likewise, if you don’t like the smell or taste of tinned tuna, that doesn’t mean you won’t like salmon; if you don’t like battered cod from your local chip-shop, that doesn’t mean you won’t adore a sea bass. Salads and seafood are some of the most avoided food types yet are the most nutritional and precious for your body. Omega 3 oils and minerals are essential for your body, especially at such a demanding time. So, open your mind as well as your mouth when you eat and you will surely find your body and brain functioning at their optimum – which is what you need to get that 1st class degree.
Finally, a short message regarding general wellbeing: sleep and food go hand in hand. Avoid too much fatty or sugary foods and drinks in the evening and remember to sleep! Too many students burn themselves out or miss early lectures due to not sleeping. If your excuse is that you just “can’t sleep”, take a look at your food/drink intake in the evenings before thinking youre an insomniac.
We hope you have understood the issues discussed and what you can do to live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Remember not to give into temptation: plan your meals, cook your meals and shop wisely.