Healthy lunch for students: what to eat on the way back to school?
Today’s article and video are intended to answer precisely this question, whether it is you or your children who have this problem.
Students need a balanced diet
The truth is that student life can become very busy and even stressful.
On the one hand, there is all the academic work to do, on the other hand, you are away a lot, and you end up not controlling what you eat very well.
Months on end eating sandwiches or fast food quickly results in a lack of energy, intellectual fatigue, and often – unfortunately – initial symptoms of various intolerances.
That’s why I decided to make this video, to show you what is important to guarantee in terms of food and even lifestyle if you are a student and you are in college.
And to make sure that what I say is relevant, I called my best ‘client’ to share with you what the real challenges of a college student are: my daughter Inês!
Watch the video here (in Portuguese):
What are the main challenges in terms of food as a student?
In the video, Ines talks about her meals at university:
For breakfast, the problem is the lack of time.
In the case of snacks, it’s really not wanting to eat industrial pastry products, to avoid bread and sweets.
In the case of lunch, it is more complex. Eating in the canteen becomes boring and it’s not particularly nutritious either… But there’s also no availability to cook every day.
So let’s take it step-by-step:
Quick and easy breakfast
In general, it’s very important not to skip meals.
I know it’s tempting to sleep a little longer and then run off, but doing it repeatedly will limit your ability to concentrate and learn. The brain feeds exclusively on what we eat, so if we don’t eat it doesn’t work 100%.
So the idea is to find a balanced breakfast that doesn’t take long to make or until it’s done!
For example overnight oats, a smoothie whose ingredients are already pre-prepared, or even two eggs already cooked with salad, which you can even eat on a wholemeal roll.
It’s also true that any of these alternatives can be transported, but the ideal would be to eat at home, with some calm!
Check out these recipes here on the blog:
Orange Dream Smoothie
20 ways to eat eggs
Healthy and practical snacks
While sweets are to be avoided, I see no problem in eating a bagel from time to time, especially if you do not feel intolerance to gluten. The worst thing is the fillings that are available, which are always processed, very salty, and of little nutritional value.
Therefore, what I advise you to do is to take with you one or two homemade cereal bars. You can do it on the weekend and it lasts all week.
Check out these recipes:
Ginger and Oatmeal Bars.
Chocolate and Sesame Bars
Another solution that I also like a lot is the combination of a piece of fruit, like an apple, and one or two tablespoons of almond or peanut butter. Even I do that in the middle of the afternoon.
Watch HERE the article and video about Healthy Snacks
Besides what you eat between meals, another precaution is to drink water.
Hydration is not only good for the whole body, but also for the brain itself. You’ll see, during a long class, when you think you’re not listening anymore, take a few sips of water. You’ll see how you wake up instantly!
It works better than coffee, which ends up giving you a sugar-like energy breakdown.
I’ve always done that in long meetings… Well, then you have to go to the bathroom, but that’s human!
Read my article on the importance of drinking water – HERE.
Lunches to go
So the goal is to waste a minimum of time cooking and to make 5 lunch boxes that are not all the same… Mmmm, challenge accepted!
As I think it’s important even at your age to have a high consumption of vegetables and not abuse saturated meat and fats, I’ll show you how to make a vegetarian dish, along with a chicken dish, and how to adapt the two to 5 meals with different personalities.
Two basic recipes, which combine to make 5 different lunches!
So, the first is a lentils stew, which is prepared as if it were Bolognese…
It takes onions, garlic, diced carrots, boiled lentils, and chopped tomatoes.
The second is roast chicken – here I chose the breast because it is more practical to roast and also to adapt.
The menu of the week: healthy and easy lunch boxes
- Monday: roast chicken breast with salad and asparagus
- Tuesday: lentils bolognese on roasted mushrooms, with feta
- Wednesday: chicken wrap with pesto, carrot, and lettuce
- Thursday: quinoa salad with lentils and broccoli
- Friday: chicken couscous, with vegetable cubes and seeds
These meals will bring you the fundamental nutrients to have energy, to be 100% attentive, to do sports, in short, everything that can come up in the day!
How to prepare every meal?
See all the recipes HERE.
Cooking time is relatively short because you do everything at once:
– the chicken in the oven, along with the mushrooms and other vegetables you want to bake;
– on the stove, your lentils steaming, and your quinoa cooking.
– the couscous is made outside the stove, practically alone.
– the rest is garnishing and you can buy it semi-prepared to buy time.
The organization in the kitchen is like this:
While you heat the oven, you cut everything;
While you roast the chicken, you do the rest;
The couscous takes just 10 minutes;
The quinoa bakes in about 15 minutes.
In an hour you have made your 5 varied, tasty, and healthy lunches!
And of course, you can adapt: where we use chicken it can be another protein, even tofu when you want vegetarian dishes. And the lentils can be replaced by any legume. Or mincemeat, of course!
What about you, what do you think?
Now you know what is important in food when you are a student and you have a clear idea of how to prepare healthy and tasty lunch-boxes for a whole week, without hours and hours in the kitchen!
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