As a busy college student, you may feel you just don’t have the time to prepare healthy food. Not paying attention to healthy eating could affect not only your physical well-being but your academic performance too. Your brain needs the right fuel to function optimally. Here are some tips to help you eat healthily even if you have a busy schedule.
Know what a balanced diet means
Your body needs the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to function at its best. Eating a variety of foods is important. A good rule of thumb is to eat one or two servings of fruit or vegetables per meal together with protein, grains, and some healthy fat.
Try a breakfast consisting of two slices of whole grain toast with slices of avocado, lettuce, sliced tomato and a chopped egg.
Add a fruit or vegetable to every meal
Aim to eat about two to three cups of vegetables and a serving or two of fruit every day. It can be hard if you don’t add them to every meal you eat. At breakfast, you could add chopped fruit to your yogurt or have a fruit smoothie.
Taking lean protein, like chicken or salmon, and adding tomatoes, carrots, and other ingredients can make a delicious salad. Add some whole grain crackers to scoop up your salad, and end off your lunch with an apple or banana.
For dinner, you can roast some veggies to go with your lean chicken, beef or fish. Cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, green beans and other roast veggies are delicious and nutritious.
Drink more water
You need water for so many bodily functions. If you don’t drink enough water, you get dehydrated. You may feel lethargic, have headaches and lack concentration. Cognitive function declines, and your brain doesn’t work efficiently when you’re dehydrated.
Keep healthy snacks on hand
If you get hungry during the day, your choice of snacks can be your undoing. It is easy to go for sugar-laden or carb-filled snacks that make you feel good quickly. The trouble is that the energy boost they give you doesn’t last. Snacks like nuts, seeds, popcorn and rice cakes are nutritious and will keep you going until your next meal.
· Rice cakes topped with some nut butter make a satisfying snack.
· Roasted chickpeas are a good source of protein and contain fiber.
· Fresh fruit contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which boost your immunity.
· Nuts or seeds keep well in a watertight container and will provide you with some protein and healthy fat.
Healthy fats feed your brain
Not all fats are good for you, but healthy fats feed your brain. Foods like fatty fish, nuts and seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which your body needs. You need to be careful with foods containing saturated fats like butter, dairy and fatty meat.
· Salmon, tuna and trout are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
· Avocados are very high in fat, but it is good fat that can help to lower bad cholesterol levels. They also contain many vitamins and minerals.
· Almonds, pecans, cashews and peanuts are all good brain foods. Brazil nuts contain selenium which can reduce your stress levels.
Eat protein-rich foods for amino acids
Your body uses amino acids as building blocks.
The amount you need in a day will depend on factors such as your age, weight and body type.
· Eggs are a great source of protein and also provide B vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. The yolks are a source of vitamin D which can decrease your stress levels.
· Skinless chicken breasts are full of protein.
· Lean red meat is a good protein source and contains iron, vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
Remember to eat a variety of foods and incorporate fruit and vegetables in every meal. Take your water bottle and some healthy snacks along in your backpack. Don’t avoid all fats because your brain needs healthy fats, and make sure you eat enough lean protein. Tips like these will help you to eat more healthily even when you’re a busy student with a full schedule.