What are the benefits of a healthy eating lifestyle? What is actually “healthy”? What are the options available for students?
In the last century, a rise in technological developments have allowed us to become more aware of what are the specific things we consume on a daily basis as well as the consequences these can bring to our physical appearance, performance, and behaviour.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, some of the major benefits of following a healthy diet are the following:
- Increase in productivity -> boosts long term energy
- Enhances mood -> by reducing stress levels
- Regulates weight
- Living longer
- Combats disease
- Can actually save money! (I’ll show you how below!)
Nowadays, there are many different views on what is “healthy”. Some say you should become a vegetarian, and others say you should follow a free-from-carbs or smoothie diet. All of these movements are assumptions from people that have not necessarily been proven true. However, the British Nutrition Foundation states that a healthy diet should be compromised of a balance in proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Many of these macronutrients can be found in processed as well as unprocessed foods; however, they suggest to avoid processed foods, including unsaturated oils.
The key is to try finding the most natural options that surround you. During exam periods, anxiety levels rise, people have less time to cook, and therefore often opt for buying that ham & cheese sandwich at the Market Place.
Here is what needs to be changed, as some specific foods have shown to improve cognitive performance.
- A study ran in Northumbria University by Prof Kennedy has shown that eating dark chocolate is mentally beneficial for challenging tasks, thanks to the chemically component Flavanol, which can also be found in fruits and vegetables.
- The UCLA Brain Research Institute states that consuming omega-3 fatty acids improves learning and memory.
So…if exams period arrives and you’re up for trying a different method that could significantly increase your performance and mood overall, look at these options for eating on campus:
COMIDA on campus not only offers wraps but also salad boxes that you can mix with any available source of protein.
Pret a Manger offers a variety of healthy snacks that include nutritional values. Instead of buying an expensive water bottle or a sugary drink though, we recommend you to always bring your own bottle and fill it in with water at the Guild 🙂
The Market Place has now extended its lunch options to not only those boring sandwiches (that are in fact pretty unhealthy) but to a variety of salads. If you’re looking for snacks, the rice cakes are always a good option (filling and healthy!).
A second and cheaper option is to cook at home. There are many webpages and social media blogs that give us ideas of how to cook healthy breakfasts, snacks, and main dishes. These links can be found in “Useful Resources”.
These are some pictures of the food I cook at university:
For breakfast, you can go for many options:
- Smoothie bowl (frozen banana, frozen mango, vanilla extract, soya yogurt), chia seeds, coconut, and berries
- Wholewheat blueberry pancakes: 1 egg, brown flower, baking powder, blueberries (add as they cook – don’t mix with batter)
- Porridge with a sliced banana and cocoa powder
For lunch or dinner,
- Grilled salmon (*omega-3) with soy sauce and peas (put all in the oven or frying pan but use coconut oil – peas are frozen, with sweet potato & paprika mash and tomato
- Paprika chicken with spinach, roasted almonds, and some cheese
- Asian noodles with teriyaki or soya chicken with broccoli (idea from cookingclassy.com)
Most of these meals don’t take long to cook. The only thing you need to do is plan a groceries list ahead! Glowing foods are all around you; it’s all about opening your eyes and play with them!