Student life can be so much stressful at times that you can even forget to eat or turn to the fast food solutions and frozen meals. Snacking on processed food full of saturated fats also doesn’t help, while cooking is something you see as difficult and demanding. After a while, you may notice you gain some weight or have a shortness of breath, and even with all the exercise you do, you simply can’t lose the love handles.
The importance of food to our lives is something we do neglect when we have a lot to do and simply don’t have the time to add one more thing to our list of duties. However, science thinks we must. Based on the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the study they published shows a high presence of “food insecurities”. This means that they don’t have access to healthy foods because it costs a lot.
This fact leads to another research performed by the team from Oregon State University and Oregon’s Benton County Health Department. They examined 354 college students from 19 to 24 years of age and based on their findings 59% of them had food insecurities. In students, food insecurities lead to anxiety, anemia, obesity, oral problems and even hospitalization.
However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will require some effort and dedication on your part. If you simplify your diet, you can easily create a meal plan which will suit your budget and time. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to do that.
Say hello to vegetables and fruits
A great thing about vegetables and fruits is that you can prepare foods very easily with them and still get most of the macronutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are a healthy and simple way to start your day. With so many recipes online, you will certainly find the ones appropriate for your budget.
They can also include vegetables and fruits at the same time, as well as skimmed milk, low-fat Greek yogurt or vegan replacements for dairy products. Vegetables like sweet potato, green beans, and carrots are perfect to prepare in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt. Pumpkin, broccoli, and cauliflower are, also, perfect for soups and puree.
Don’t neglect the protein
Chicken breasts and fish are a great source of protein and other nutritional values. Fish is also important for the omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the cardiovascular system. It’s important to know which meats are good and bad for you before you simplify their preparation. Choose the tender cuts instead of the ones with fat since that will save your cholesterol levels and your figure.
Preparing the meat and fish is not hard. The simplest ways are often the best. You can wrap the fish in aluminum foil with olive oil, salt, and lemon and bake in the oven. Steaks are done in 10 minutes, while chicken breasts are tasty when cooked and turned into a salad. Vegans and vegetarians can replace the meat with tofu, mushrooms, lentils, eggplant, potatoes, and cauliflower, to name a few.
Pay attention to the macronutrient ratio
Macronutrients are types of food we consume the most. A body needs these nutrients in order to create energy for everyday functioning, proper development, and healthy life. There are three primary macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat and you decide the percentage of overall intake per meal based on your expectations.
Based on the True Protein blog: “By manipulating our intake of certain foods, we can manipulate the quantities of protein, carbs and fats that we consume to enhance our sporting performance, body composition and active lifestyle.”
For example, if you want to lose weight you will decrease the carbs to 10-30%, and increase protein to 40-50%. For bodybuilding, carbs should be high 40-60%, while fat will be the most decreased to 15-25%. If this is too complicated for you, you can download one of the apps, like My Fitness Pal, for your phone which will help you keep these in check once you calculate the proper ratio.
Crabs are important and instead of excluding them, eat the healthy ones. This means that sweets are out, and oatmeal is in. Whole fruits like apples, bananas and strawberries are an excellent replacement for processed sugar products. Nuts, whole grains, and legumes are also among the healthy carbs. Chia seeds are excellent for pudding and easy breakfast ideas. Moreover, the best thing is that with these good carbs you can easily make something healthy fast.
Use simple recipes
Simplifying your diet also means that the recipes you use don’t include too many ingredients and preparation of food. A simple meal of chicken breasts and bunch of veggies prepared in the oven for 30 minutes will be more satisfying than slaving away at the stove for complicated preparations. Also, don’t be afraid to add something of your own to each recipe since that will make cooking more fun and rewarding.
All in all
Don’t be afraid to change your dietary habits, since that can have quite a positive effect on your quality of life. Of course, you can eat something not so healthy from time to time, but don’t turn it into convenience or habit. A healthy life is important for proper cognitive processes, as well as for mental health and reaching academic accomplishments.