By Youmna Benmaymoun
No one nowadays can ignore the fact that healthy eating habits are important for energy and long-lasting health. Although healthy eating is important, most people find it difficult to adapt to a lifestyle of organic and fat-free foods. There are a great amount of studies that reveal something new everyday. With so many options, people end up lost between what to believe, what to eat and where to begin this so-called healthy-living. The plethora of new healthy food brands that have seen the day in the last few years, have set their prices very high, taking advantage of people’s strong wish for healthy food. As a result, we find ourselves lost between questions about what would benefit our bodies (and therefore minds), what we learn about this subject and what our wallets allow us to do. As students, being short on time and even shorter on money adds up to the perfect combination that makes us give up the fight for healthy food. We choose to settle for pizza, french fries and maybe a banana every once and a while because they are easily accessible to us.
In this article, I gathered the best tips that will allow students to take charge of their health:
1- Before anything else, stop believing everything you read: As a first recipe, try reading less but better. It is so easy to get lost between quality and quantity when reading about healthy habits. Keep in mind that magazines and websites want to sell so they have to come up with chocking headlines and use big words to attract young enthusiastic audiences. Therefore, look for trustworthy sources that can provide you with good answers to your questions and still take such information with a grain of salt.
Beware of extremists who put a red flag on everything or invite people to venerate habits like juicing or such.
2- Eat real food: If there is one rule to go by, it would be this one: say NO to processed food and a big YES to whole real food. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and cereals, etc. will provide you with the nutrients your body needs to be able to concentrate fully on your assignments and survive periods of exams with grace. You will be amazed of the power of real food on your body. However, since we don’t have that much time to spare as students, try coming up with a strategy that will allow you to consume at least 5 vegetables and fruits per day. For instance, you can make it a habit to eat two fruits in the morning before leaving your place and having a soup as a starter for your dinner. Wait, but where can we get that soup? Is what you are probably now asking yourself? Well, check the next paragraph.
3- Know that making healthy dishes is not time consuming at all: Most people think that clean cooking is hard while it is the most simple thing in the world. Try this soup recipe for example: 1 zucchini, 1 carrot, 1 tomato, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, a couple of parsley and celery branches, salt and pepper. Peel the vegetables, chop and put them with the rest of the ingredients and a tablespoon of sesame oil (or whatever oil you use for cooking) in a pot. Cover everything in water and let it cook for 15 minutes on a steady fire. Once it’s done, blend it and bam, there is your soup. If you want to save even more time in the next day, double the ingredients and split the result of your work in two. The next day all you will have to do is to heat your soup and enjoy it while preparing for your next class.
4- Snack intelligently: whether you like to spend the whole day nibbling or you just feel like having snacks between meals, try nuts such as cashews or walnuts that won’t spike up your blood sugar like a chocolate bar would. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against chocolate, but rather against what random bars have besides chocolate. If you can afford real chocolate, then you will be having one of the best snacks there is. Remember rule number 2? Eat real food!
5- Moderation: One of Oscar Wilde’s most famous sayings is “everything in moderation, even moderation”, so live by this rule. Ditch your moderate habits from time to time but do always come back to them. Eat healthy but never deprive yourself from that fried Brie that you like so much. As long as you don’t use it as a base for all your meals, then you are good.
6- Be happy: Finally, make sure to manage your stress levels. As Voltaire said “I decided to be happy because it is good for my health.” Stress can make you hungrier than usual and vulnerable to types of food that will temporarily elevate your mood only to make you crave more of it later.