So it’s exam time. Do you:
Grab some warm beer and cold pizza off the counter and chase it with a handful of vitamins?
Follow your own food pyramid:
(I’ve sent you the picture of the food pyramid)
If you answered a, b or c, there’s room for improvement in your exam-time menu. All that stuff your mom told you is still important so it’s time to review:
Stay well hydrated. But be choosy in your beverage choices. That crimson bovine drink might give you an instant hit, but you can achieve the same thing with “good choices”. Caffeine and sugar should be kept to a minimum. Since too much caffeine can make you jittery, try to drink moderate amounts. Better choices include water, fruit juice, milk, and anti-oxidant-rich green tea.
Stock up on healthy snacks.
raisins and other dried fruit
low-fat cottage cheese
crunchy fresh fruits and veggies (add dip for the veggies)
frozen juice bars,
protein-rich nutrition bars.
toast spread with peanut butter, hummus or tuna,
a piece of cheese with fruit.
any fruit you like — bananas, apples, and oranges are easy to tote along with you since they don’t need refrigeration.
But don’t live entirely on snacks because they:
usually won’t energize you as much as a real meal. This is the time for frozen entrees, bean soups, peanut butter and cold cut sandwiches, ready- to-eat tuna.
You already know this but remember to choose meals and snacks that emphasize protein over carbohydrates.
Protein-rich meals and snacks keep your energy on an even keel. Snack on cheese, crackers and skim milk instead of crackers and juice. Top your pasta with grilled chicken strips. You can even scramble some eggs!
Make a sandwich on a wheat pita, whole-grain sandwich round or a wheat tortilla. Add in some protein – veggie burger, chicken breast or light turkey meat. Throw in your favorite veggies – spinach, tomatoes, red onions, peppers or alfalfa sprouts. Top it off with your favorite condiment – low-fat ranch dressing, hummus or mustard.
Get creative. Vegetables offer good carbs and fiber, nutrients and vitamins, which help fill you up and add nutrition to your diet. Hummus adds protein to a snack of red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and raw asparagus.
Need a big energy boost? Sprinkle some crunchy cereal (energy) on top of yogurt (protein). (Bonus marks if the cereal doesn’t come with a toy). You’ll feel full longer. Believe it or not, almonds and walnuts make an awesome snack. They’re packed with good fats, which help you stay full; fiber, and nutrients like selenium, vitamin E, and omega-3s. But be careful – it’s easy to overeat – just count out 24 into a container (1/4 cup).
Need a shopping list for your pantry? Visit the nearest market or raid your parent’s cupboards when you next visit:
- All types of fruit and veg
- Skinless chicken or turkey fillets (perfect for freezing too)
- Lean ground beef
- Fresh orange juice
- Sliced ham or turkey
- 1% or skim milk
- Low fat cheese
- Low fat yoghurt
- Low fat mayo
- Wholegrain bread, rolls, or wraps
- Canned tuna & salmon
- Diced, canned tomatoes
- Pulses & beans (canned is faster, dried is cheaper)
- Pasta & rice
- Baked beans
- Tomato-based pasta sauces
- Breakfast cereal e.g. porridge, Shreddies, bran flakes
- Olive oil
- Herbs & spices – to add flavour to food instead of salt
It’s a cliché, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. You’ve been starving your body and you need to fuel up for the day ahead.
Cereal or toast is quick and easy, but choose a low sugar/salt cereal and whole wheat bread.
Get a fruit portion in the morning by having a glass of pure fruit juice – not “cocktail”.
Porridge – is surprisingly tasty, and can be made in the microwave. Try it with honey and a chopped banana. Or cinnamon and dried fruits and nuts. You can cook a large portion (3 cups water/1.5 cups oatmeal) to last 3 or 4 days. Store it in a container in the fridge and microwave a portion every morning.
Other breakfast ideas:
If you opt for French toast you can cook it in a frying pan or in the oven. Paul loves French toast. I’m not a fan at all – but the oven version wasn’t half bad.
Cheryl Andrichuk is a UBC Alumna, who graduated with a degree in English all the way back in 1981. Her essays were typed on something called a “typewriter” – if you made a mistake on page 2, you had to re-type pages 2 -8. She also remembers signing up for classes by running from building to building to pick up actual, physical cards that allowed her to enroll in courses. She was present at the first Storm-the-Wall but didn’t understand the historical significance at the time.
She currently resides in Coquitlam with her husband, another UBC Alumn, and dog, Max, who has only been to SFU. She is currently working and writing her recipe blog, Start With an Onion.