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What you eat affects your body in many different ways. Different kinds of foods have the power to make our bodies well (or sometimes unwell!) But did you know that the foods you eat can also affect your mood? Research has unearthed a number of different foods that can help you if you’re feeling depressed; in fact, certain foods can also help you to prevent the onset of depression.

In this article we shall discuss 5 foods that can help improve your mood and get you feeling better.

1. Brazil nuts

Did you know that low levels of the mineral selenium have been linked to increased rates of depression, irritability, anxiety, and tiredness? This where Brazil nuts can help. They are one of the best naturally occurring sources of selenium. Experts recommend having them as a mid-morning snack. As far as the quantity is concerned, three Brazil nuts are all you need to get your recommended daily requirement of selenium.

2. Oats

Oats also contain selenium, and have the added advantage of increasing your mood and energy levels. This is because they have a low glycemic index (GI) – foods with a low GI are metabolised gradually and they slowly release energy into the bloodstream, which keeps overall blood sugar levels stable. This is preferable to high glycemic foods which will provide you with a quick rush of energy but later leave you irritable. Half a cup of porridge made with oats is a great breakfast to start your day. You can add honey and almonds for extra pep!

3. Bananas

Consuming one or two bananas can do wonders for your mood and even health. After all, bananas are packed with an amazing array of nutrients. Among them, tryptophan, carbs and vitamin B6 play a role in improving your mood. The carbs help the brain in absorbing tryptophan which is then converted into serotonin with the help of vitamin B6. Serotonin is a hormone that boosts your mood and also helps you sleep better.

4. Lentils

Lentils are complex carbohydrates which means that, like bananas, they will boost the production of serotonin in the brain. This leads to less anxiety and a calmer state of mind. Lentils are also a good source of folate; folate deficiency has been linked to states of depression and mania. Lentils are rich in iron, which gives your energy levels a boost. All in all, half a cup of lentils in a day will keep you happy. Consider adding them to your soups or stews.

5. Dark Chocolate 

You may have noticed that people tend to reach for a bar of chocolate whenever their mood is low – and there is a reason for it. Eating dark chocolate contributes to your well being in a number of ways  and can give a boost to your mood too. A study conducted in Switzerland discovered that consuming a small portion of dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed. But, of course, you need to stick to the quantity mentioned to get the benefits. Too much chocolate will lead to weight gain and that is not going to be great for your mood!

This article was contributed by guest author Tanya Sen.



Image by 089photoshootings, pixabay.com

Some students feel like they have to pull off some kind of culinary alchemy on a shoestring budget. Others tend to come up with a boatload of excuses, including lack of time. Well, you should know that eating habits have a great impact on your academic performance. They can make your systems run like clockwork and keep your mood soaring high. The key to harnessing the power of a wholesome diet is to know its staples; its main building blocks. With that in mind, you can go ahead prepare meals that are mouthwatering and healthy at the same time.

Time to step up

Like it or not, food has a major role to play in your student life. It affects everything from mood and confidence to cognitive abilities and overall health, supplying your body with fuel and energy. Studies show that students who eat healthily are less likely to fail literacy and other tests.  They can avoid running out of steam as well as the peaks and valleys of energy throughout the day. So, there are no excuses!

There are numerous money- and time-saving tips to check out, but the real problem is often that students’ cooking environments are uninspiring, to say the least. It pays off to invest in your kitchen, as cooking can become a thrilling adventure instead of a chore. To boost the functionality, comfort, and visual appeal of the area, consider appliances such as a quality Bosch microwave and high-grade cookware.

In nutritious balance

You have probably heard about the importance of balanced meals, but what does that really mean? Well, first off, fruits and vegetables are the mainstay of healthy nutrition; the go-to sources of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and carbohydrates. Hence, they should compose at least half of your daily menu. A rainbow-colored food palette does the trick. Think in terms of apples, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, lentils, etc.

Let us start gathering nutrient pieces with a protein, the cornerstone of a healthy diet. To get ample lean protein, introduce something like chicken or turkey. Red meat with fat trimmed off is particularly good, so have an occasional pork chop or beef cut. In case you are a vegetarian or simply prefer not to consume meat, opt for non-animal sources such as quinoa, meat seeds, tofu, and beans.

Furthermore, include dairy products to get your share of lactose, lean protein, calcium, and other vital nutrients. A cup of low-fat milk or yogurt is thus an excellent addition to your breakfast. Strive to consume whole grains that are a natural source of fiber, magnesium, copper, selenium, protein, vitamin B, zinc, iron, etc. You will not only get necessary nutrients, but also keep your blood sugar in check.

Last but not least, fat, despite its reputation, is not to be overlooked either. In fact, healthy fats are critical to the normal functioning of the body. Some of the best foods in this regard are dark chocolate, nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and chia seed. On the other hand, steer away from the saturated and trans fats one typically finds in junk and processed food.

Avoid the sugary grave

Students, like all mortals, need to include various liquids in their diets. Coffee is seen as a natural ally, but going overboard is not advisable, especially when it comes to sugars and creamers. Also, beware of sugary snacks and drinks. Commercial juices and sodas are loaded with sugar and offer zero nutrients. Stick to organic and sugar-free alternatives. Likewise, healthy snacks in the league of fruits and nuts must be prioritized over their sugar-laden counterparts.

An initial sugar high is simply not worth it as the effects quickly wear off and leave you feeling tired and craving more. Besides, the long-term consequences are dire for your body. Remember that the best diets are nutrient-packed, varied, and also flavorsome. So, do not shy away from culinary experiments. Throw some herbs, exotic delicacies, and spices into the mix. Implement new dishes and meals to prevent appetite loss and tackle academic challenges with flying colors.

The best of both worlds

Scientists have identified a strong link between nutrition and academic performance. In light of the mounting evidence, it is of the utmost importance to strike a fine dietary balance to maximize health gains. Get into the art of planning and figure out meals that are both wholesome and cater to your inner hedonist. Ensure the proper functioning of your body and brain, feel motivated, and keep those engines roaring towards success.

This article was contributed by guest author Lana Hawkins.

Image by Ali Inay, unsplash.com

A student life is not easy these days. The pressure of studies and never-ending financial crises are dealt with by the majority of students, yet we swallow our shortcomings and try to look cool. It’s quite normal to see students pack up after class to get to a part-time job.

Sometimes, we work 4-5 hours a day in order to make up for some of the expenses. After a long, tiring day, the last thing we want to do is prepare dinner.

So, today, we are going to discuss a few healthy recipes that can be prepared in a short amount of time (some even in 10 minutes).

1. Beans on Toast

This is not just healthy, but cheap as well. You can prepare it well within 10 minutes and it also tastes good (if you love beans). Consider adding tomatoes, cheddar cheese (grated), or pepper to make it more flavourful. Some people boil the beans first to make a thick sauce and caramelize the beans. It is up to you to decide which version you want to go with.

2. Omelette

Most students are big fans of omelettes. It’s an easy dish to prepare and it sure is healthy. Now, what type of omelette you want to prepare depends on your preferences. Omelettes are prepared differently in different parts of the world, so you can make your favorite version. Or, just follow the following steps and try out this one:.

  1. Crack two eggs and mix them well with two tbsp. of milk.
  2. Add some salt and pepper.
  3. Place a red copper pan on the stove, and heat some butter on it. Then add the egg mixture.
  4. Add onions, mushrooms, ham, tomatoes or any other ingredients of your choice.
  5. Let the omelette heat up for 2-3 minutes, then flip it.
  6. Sprinkle some cheese on top of the omelette and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  7. Fold the omelette in half, and enjoy your dinner!

3. Soup

If you are looking for a light and healthy option for dinner, go for soup. You can buy cans or cartons of soup, but I recommend you cook it yourself. It will cost less than those cans and cartons, and it will be a lot healthier. French Onion Soup, for example, is full of flavor:

  1. Chop ½ kg of onions.
  2. Take pot and add some butter in it. Melt the butter on low heat and add the chopped onions.
  3. Increase the heat and keep cooking until you see the onions becoming sticky and caramelized.
  4. Add 1.2 liters of chicken stock or beef stock, cooking until it starts boiling.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. If you want, toast some baguette bread and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle grated cheese and bake it in the oven for a few minutes until the bread is golden.
  7. Enjoy your soup with toast on top.

4. Jacket Potato

If you have a microwave in your kitchen, you’ll want to use it for jacket potatoes. This is one dish on the list that will take more than an hour to prepare, so if you can hold your starvation for an hour, go ahead with this recipe.

  1. Wash the potatoes and prick them with a fork.
  2. Rub salt on the potatoes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and place the potatoes in it. Cook the potatoes for about an hour or until the skin becomes crispy.
  4. Cut open the potatoes and add your favorite fillings – cheese, cottage cheese, coleslaw, beans or sour cream. Consider topping with bacon and green onion.

5. Mushroom Risotto

Did you know that risotto is also an easy dish to make? There is no obvious list of ingredients, so you can choose whatever you want, from chicken to prawns or even vegetables.

  1. Chop one onion and some mushrooms. Crush one garlic clove as well.
  2. Take a saucepan and melt some butter in it on medium heat. Add the onions and cook them until they become translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Turn up the heat a bit and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Take 150 grams of risotto rice, put it in the pan, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add 600 ml of vegetable stock so the rice can be properly cooked. Stir the pan, scraping the bottom, until the liquid evaporates.
  6. Take the pan off the heat, add some salt and pepper. For the final touch, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.

This article was contributed by guest author Monica.

Image by Anne Preble, unsplash.com

Adventures of college students always make the best stories, but in reality, things aren’t always that simple and funny. Though we gladly think about parties, friends and all the fun we had, being in college teaches us about life and its less fun sides too, like learning how to save money and prioritize correctly. If you’re a student on a tight budget, you know that every cent counts and how important it is to learn to spend money wisely.

Meal plans in colleges can cost a small fortune, which is why they’re not always an option for frugal students. Thankfully, dorms are equipped with shared kitchens that can be abundantly used for honing your cooking skills, which will not only save you money, but will help you learn how to feed yourself on your own. That’s a big deal! If you’re still finding your way around how to cook in your dorm, these 5 tips will help you stay on a budget.

1. Shop in Bulk
Whether you’re living with a roommate, or you’re lucky enough to have your own apartment, when you’re buying food, you need to know how to do it right. What are the ingredients you use the most and what is their shelf life? One of the go-to strategies when it comes to saving money is to buy food in bulks. Not all food, naturally, but things like flour, rice, pasta and tomato sauce can stay in the cupboard for longer periods of time and you can save a whole lot by buying them in large quantities. It would be wise to organize one big shopping trip every month, when you can restock your fridge and set a foundation for what you’re going to be cooking in the next several weeks. There’s no excuse not to cook when you’ve got all the ingredients at your fingertips and buying in bulk will save you money, time and energy.

2. Don’t Go to the Supermarket Every Day
This is a big one, even though most college students don’t realize it. If you don’t go on a food shopping spree once a month, you risk ending up at the supermarket every other day, buying foods you need and spending more money on less quantity. Besides, when you go to buy a couple of things, you usually come back with much more than you predicted and that alone can cost you a lot. If you truly want to save and cook real food in your dorm, forget about running off to the store every day. It helps you to steer clear of temptation and your bank account will be grateful.

3. Know What You Eat
College is the time when most of us are running around winging it as we go, but this shouldn’t be the case when it comes to our diet. It’s wise to learn the basics when it comes to the nutritional value of different kinds of food and how you can make them work to your advantage. Chances are you’re not a cooking wiz, but you’ve got the World Wide Web at your disposal and you can learn pretty much anything you set your mind to. Also, learning what foods are good for you and what you should avoid is essential because you want to eat well and stay full longer. If you have a roommate, split your cooking tasks and “specialize” in different things – healthy meal prep, baking, meat preparation, veggie preparation – you don’t have to learn it all on your own and at once. The key here is not to recoil from cooking, which is infinitely cheaper than having a meal plan, but to have a constructive approach that will allow you to learn a new skill and save a pretty penny too.

4. Don’t Go Overboard with Dishes
You need to be smart when it comes to buying dishes, because a) they’re quite expensive and b) you don’t want to have bunch of dishes with you every year when you have to move. Less is definitely more in this case, so don’t burden your kitchen with unnecessary gadgets and gizmos that you barely use. Know what you need and how much of it you need, otherwise your student budget will suffer and so will your kitchen, as it will be packed with stuff you have no use for. When you know you’re going to use something often, like a frying pan, buy a high-quality one that can be used for just about anything – it will take up less space and you will spend less money in the long run.

5. Don’t Do Frozen Meals
Frozen meals might sound like a great idea when your exams are around the corner and you can’t sleep well, let alone cook, but you really shouldn’t go for it. Not only are they expensive, but they are also packed with sodium, fats and extra calories, so that they can keep you full longer. If you know you’re going to have a hectic couple of weeks, prepare. Cook extra batches of your favorite meals and pop them into the freezer. That way, not only are you saving some serious money, but you’re eating healthy food and you know exactly what’s in it, which can’t be said about frozen dinners.

Being good at saving money isn’t something that comes overnight, and you will need experience and practice to make it work. Cooking in your dorm has many benefits when you develop the habit of doing it and that way, you take your diet into your own hands, which is all the more reason to be responsible about it.

This article was contributed by guest author Vanessa Davis.

Image by Ali Inay, unsplash.com

Being a student is an easy excuse to succumb to the unhealthy way of eating. Well, for one, you can blame your deadlines for not allowing you to cook healthy food. Am I right? It is perfectly understandable, and no one can question why you prefer to study more and eat less healthy foods.

Business at its Finest
Homework, quizzes, exams, term papers, thesis… It’s as if your teachers and professors have conspired against you. Don’t they want students to get a comfortable night’s sleep?

It’s way too easy to just grab a pack of cheesy poofs, a can of beans, a jar of chocolate, or instant ramen! The convenience is key because you don’t spend much time preparing it which means you will have more time to study.

Perilous Eating Habits
Grabbing the closest pack of instant ramen may seem to be the logical choice to have more time, but, in the long run, this can have a negative effect on your body.

Instant Ramen
Instant noodles are high in sodium and loaded with preservatives to increase shelf life. Ever wonder why they last so long in your cupboard without expiring? Binging on instant ramen can even lead to high blood pressure and urinary tract infections.

Cheesy Poofs
This junk food and others of its kind are of course, satisfying. But don’t make a habit out of satisfying your hunger with this. These are high in sodium and filled with preservatives to make them last.

There is nothing wrong with chocolates. They are awesomely delicious and bring out good feelings in you. The problem is the amount consumed. Its high sugar content will be enough to fuel your day, but too much of it can lead to obesity and diabetes. You might want to include other snacks like Twinkies and cupcakes in this category.

How to Eat Healthy Even if You Are Busy
It is always easy to blame the lack of time. But the thing is, we really have a way to work around it. There are healthy foods that don’t take much time to prepare. If you just think intently about eating the right types of food, you can even prepare your meals in advance!

Here are some ways to help you manage a healthy eating habit.

1. Break Your Fast
When you skip your breakfast, you will have strong hunger pangs a few hours after breakfast time. This will make it difficult to resist the vending machine. If you had just eaten your breakfast, you’d be able to resist that pack of cheesy poofs.

2. Bring A Snack
If you already have a handy healthy snack, you wouldn’t bother buying junk food. How long does it take you to make a sandwich? If you can make a healthy sandwich in less than 5 minutes, what is keeping you from making it? Maybe the answer is that you don’t have the necessary ingredients in the kitchen – which leads us to number three.

3. Do Your Groceries in Advance
If one weekend you decide to fill your pantry with loaves of bread, slabs of ham, bacon, eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, some sandwich dressing, cheese, and sandwich bags, it will take you less than 5 minutes to prepare a sandwich the following day.

4. Make A Meal Plan in Advance
Planning your meals weekly will spare you having to make a quick decision when you are hungry, and will make grocery shopping a lot easier. Whenever you feel the urge to eat, just refer to your planner and follow your schedule.

5. Contemplate Your Health
A few years of unhealthy eating can lead to serious illnesses and can cut years off your life. We all want a long, healthy, and productive life – so take your health seriously.

Well, life is short. Our unhealthy eating habits can make it a lot shorter. Unwise selection of the food we consume can lead to chronic illnesses, which will ultimately take their toll and subtract years off our lives.

Stop making excuses about the lack of time and start making healthy food decisions. This will make a great difference in your life.

This article was contributed by guest author Kristin Ryals.

Image by Stock Unlimited.

You have finals to study for and parties to attend, so dullness only seems natural. On top of that, you might be away from home and feeling lonely. While you’re feeling stressed, there is an easy way to lift your mood instantly. You just need to tweak your meal a little! Take support from your old friend ‘natural food’. Foods such as Brazil nuts and bananas can boost your mood and actually surprise you with the results. Remember, in addition to eating healthy, it is essential to motivate yourself to work out regularly.

Exams, parties, and everything else in between will become a breeze when you learn how to come out of a slump without having to chug energy drinks. All foods here are natural, and you don’t have to gorge. Just eat normally, and you will notice unexpected, subtle, uplifting changes to your mood.

1. Brazil Nuts
The best natural food to lift your mood instantly is selenium-rich Brazil nuts. This super-food is one of the best sources of selenium. Selenium is found in nuts and seeds, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, beans and legumes, meat, and seafood. Brazil nuts have vast quantities of selenium to give your mood an instant boost. A healthy quantity of Brazil nuts will ensure you’re smiling in just a few minutes.

2. Bananas
Bananas can do wonders for your mood. They have plenty of iron, potassium, carbohydrates, vitamins such as C, A, and more importantly, B6, to boost your mood in an instant. Vitamin B6 plays an important part in helping your body generate the feel-good hormone (serotonin). As your brain makes this hormone, your bad mood will start to vanish, and you will be ready to study for finals in a few moments. For students, bananas and Brazil nuts are the best foods for boosting your mood for one big reason: both are perfectly portable and easily available everywhere in the country.

3. Yogurt
Yogurt is great when you are depressed, as it contains Vitamin D and calcium, key elements that help fight depression. Yogurt can also help your body fight heart disease and cancer. Lack of vitamin D can make your life difficult as a student, especially during the winter months. You get enough sunlight during the summer months, but with not as much sun around, your mood will surely go damp unless you include vitamin D in your diet. Thankfully, yogurt is rich in this important vitamin. If you don’t like how yogurt tastes, simply add a few fresh berries or chopped bananas on top to enjoy a fruity snack.

IDEA – How about adding some Brazil nuts to your yogurt the next time you fancy a mood-lifting super food?

4. Lentil soup
Lentil soup is a fantastic food. It can become an ally in fighting the cold weather, while helping you lift your mood instantly. Lentils, known for stabilizing blood sugar levels, also helps your brain produce serotonin. Serotonin can change your mood by making you happier all of a sudden. Lentils are also great for fighting depression and anxiety due to folate, and for an instant energy boost because of the iron.

5. Spinach
Spinach and other foods rich in vitamin B can help you feel better instantly. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to depression and disturb serotonin production, preventing your brain from entering a ‘feel good’ mood. Since spinach is a rich source of vitamin B (B3, B6, B12), adding it to your soups or fries could provide the required mood boost for students who struggle with mood swings.

6. Sardines
You need Omega 3 fatty acids to alleviate depression and uplift your mood. Find any quick recipe for a sardine snack or toast for an uplifting lunch and you will be surprised how an intake of Omega 3 fatty acid can change the way your brain thinks.
Secret: 30% of your brain is made up of Omega 3 fatty tissues. Other than uplifting your mood, consuming sardines will also help you fight against different diseases and inflammation. This natural food also contains a rich variety of other essential minerals and vitamins. Additionally, sardines are considered a powerful ally against blood sugar problems and weight gain problems.

7. Shellfish
Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to depression and anxiety. Shellfish, oysters, mussels, and other seafood rich in vitamin B12 could work wonders to boost your mood. Apart from vitamin B12, shellfish also provides a boost of Omega 3 fatty acids and important minerals such as copper, magnesium, and zinc. This seafood is also a rich source of proteins. So what are you waiting for? Find one of these natural foods around you and boost your mood. Enjoy a happy and bright day.

This article was contributed by guest author Evelyn Kail.

Image by Shanice Garcia, unsplash.com

Image by Shanice Garcia, unsplash.com

As a college student, we know you’re very busy. You juggle schoolwork with part-time jobs and may have to subsidize your living expenses from your own income with student loans. But despite the busy schedule, it’s important to eat healthily while keeping food costs practical. So here are some recipes to help you get started:

1. Hash Browns

Potatoes are the perfect breakfast or snack if you’re looking towards a full morning with little to no time to spare. A good way to cook potatoes in the morning (or to keep in your brown bag for later) is to turn them into hash browns.

● 2 large Russet potatoes
● 2 tbsp cooking oil
● 2 tbsp butter
● Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and wash potatoes. Grate potatoes and place into a kitchen towel to drain. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick pan and add in oil and butter. Place a thin layer of grated potatoes into the hot pan or skillet and cook until brown and crispy. Flip hash browns and cook other side. Season with onion powder or other dried herb if desired. Serve with ketchup or sour cream.

2. Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This is an awesome comfort food that is cheap and easy to make. Adding in spinach also makes it healthier.

● 1/2 cup spinach
● 4 slices whole wheat bread
● 2 tbsp feta cheese
● 1/2 tbsp olive oil
● 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
● 1 clove garlic, minced
● A dash of salt and pepper

Saute garlic in a skillet and add in spinach. Cook for 5 minutes. Season spinach with salt and pepper. Divide feta cheese for two sandwiches and layer on two slices of bread. Add cooked spinach on top of feta cheese, then cover with mozzarella cheese. Cover with the remaining slices of bread. Grill sandwiches on a grill pan until browned and cheese melts.

3. Veggie-egg Muffins

Perfect for breakfast, you can also prepare these muffins in advance and freeze them. When you’re hungry, you can simply reheat them in the microwave.

● ¼ cup chopped spinach
● 2 whole eggs
● 5 egg whites
● ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
● ¼ cup skim milk

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Meanwhile, whisk spinach, eggs and egg whites together. Pour in skim milk. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Spray oil into the muffin tray and pour in egg and spinach mixture. Top each cup with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and remove with butter knife.

4. Easy Pita Pizza

Instead of expensive and unhealthy pizza, make one in your own dorm or apartment. It tastes good and costs less!

● 1 whole wheat pita
● Chopped bell peppers, spinach, onion and tomatoes
● Shredded mozzarella cheese
● Pizza sauce
● Parsley for garnishing

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spread toppings (pizza sauce, bell peppers, spinach, onion and tomatoes) evenly over pita. Top with shredded cheese. Garnish with parsley. Bake for 10 minutes or until pita is toasted and cheese melts. Slice and serve.

This article was contributed by guest author Katherine Tuggle.

Image by Jamaila Brinkley, Flickr

Image by Jamaila Brinkley, Flickr

Life is always go, go, go for college and university students. Between classes, extracurriculars, homework, and socializing, healthy eating is often pushed to the wayside. It is much easier to grab a quick snack, or to buy a meal while out of the house. This is especially true during busy periods such as midterms and exams.

However, healthy eating is extremely important for students. Taking the time to improve your eating habits will make you feel better, as well as improve your performance in many areas of your life, scholastic or otherwise. Meal planning is a simple strategy that can help save you time grocery shopping and cooking, and make healthy eating much easier. Here are some tips to assist you with your personal meal planning:

  1. Get inspired – Spending some time each week looking for new recipes, or finding old favourites, is a good way to get yourself motivated to cook. There are many resources available to help you find recipes: cookbooks, food blogs, Pinterest, and recipe apps are all great places to start. These resources offer a variety of recipes for different preferences and diet types.

  3. Don’t overwhelm yourself – Don’t go overboard on the number of recipes you plan to cook in a week. This is very easy to do, especially if you are just cooking for yourself. You’re likely to have leftovers that will last you for a few meals after cooking. Over-planning will leave you with excess ingredients, which is wasteful and costly.

  5. Choose healthy meals – Planning out your healthy meals will make clean eating that much easier and practical.

  7. Choose a favourite meal each week – Having a favourite recipe in your meal plan will make you excited to cook your meals for the week. It acts as a reward for choosing healthy meals, and for cooking.

  9. Make a grocery list – Having a list will make your trips to the grocery store much more efficient, as you can grab what you need, and get out as quickly as possible. It saves you time meandering through the aisles, contemplating what to purchase. It will help you save money as well, since you will avoid buying unneeded ingredients.

  11. Set time aside – Take a few hours on the weekend, or in the evening to prepare certain components of your meals. For example, you can cook your meat, chop your veggies, or make sauces. This will shorten cooking time throughout the rest of the week.

  13. Assign theme nights – Assigning certain types of meals to specific nights of the week makes meal planning easier and more fun since you’ll already have a framework of what recipes to choose. Monday can be Indian, Tuesday can be for tacos, Wednesdays for salads, etc.

  15. Make enough for leftovers – If you plan to have enough food for leftovers, it often means you will only have to cook once a day. You can also freeze leftovers for future meals on especially busy days.

Meal planning requires some time to execute properly, but will save you time and money in the long run, and is ultimately a rewarding process. Happy cooking!

Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet is something that most students find to be challenging. Preparing healthy foods can often take time, which is hard to come by when catching up on readings, preparing for a huge presentation, pulling an all-nighter to complete an assignment, or studying for an exam that is worth half your grade. Nevertheless, it is important to make healthy choices when it comes to eating in order to provide your body with the energy and nutrition it needs to carry you through these hectic times.
Here are ten food items that any college or university student should have in their kitchen to make healthy eating as easy and enjoyable as possible:

Image by alexlomas, Flickr

Image by alexlomas, Flickr

1. Vegetables
Vegetables – especially dark greens such and kale, broccoli, and green leaf lettuce – contain vitamins, minerals, fibre, and plant-based substances that help to improve one’s overall health. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause problems for the brain, which can lead to a lack in productivity. Eat them raw, in a salad, sautéed, or by incorporating them into more substantial dishes.
Image by rumpleteaser, Flickr

Image by rumpleteaser, Flickr

2. Fruits
A perfect snack for students. They can easily be consumed on the go and contain healthy sugars that can curb a sweet tooth. In particular: bananas are rich in potassium and make a great accompaniment to breakfast; blueberries are filled with antioxidants, and help to improve one’s learning and memory; and, as the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Image by s58y, Flickr

Image by s58y, Flickr

3. Nuts
A great source of protein – especially for vegetarians! They are a quick, easy, and surprisingly filling snack. Moreover, there are numerous types to indulge in depending on your personal preferences, including almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews.
Image by Neeta Lind, Flickr

Image by Neeta Lind, Flickr

4. Salmon
The ultimate brain food. This type of fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that help to develop the brain and enhance its function. Unlike tuna, salmon does not contain large amounts of mercury, making it a healthier option. If purchased pre-seasoned, it can be very quick to merely grill or bake.
Image by SodanieChea, Flickr

Image by SodanieChea, Flickr

5. Yogurt
An excellent source of calcium, which is a vitamin that aids in bone development and preservation. This delicious food can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or even as dessert. Opt for a low-fat variety and add some granola and/or fruit on top to make it more satisfactory.
Image by SweetOnVeg, Flickr

Image by SweetOnVeg, Flickr

6. Quinoa
Quinoa is among some of the newest health food trends. It is said to be a super-grain, and offers incredible health benefits such as protein, fibre, and iron. Iron deficiency can lead to energy loss, which is why it is important for students to keep their iron levels up. Quinoa is a great alternative to white starches, and can be prepared in an endless amount of ways to accommodate different tastes.
Image by jenn.b, Flickr

Image by jenn.b, Flickr

7. Granola Bars
One of the easiest, tastiest, and least distracting snacks to bring to class. They are high in fibre, and can be rich in protein if they contain nuts. Purchase ones with a light chocolate drizzle over them and you have a great way to satisfy your chocolate craving without going overboard.
Image by jeffreyw, Flickr

Image by jeffreyw, Flickr

8. Eggs
Eggs can be prepared in so many different ways, each of which is quick and simple. Again, they are a great alternative to meat. If made into an omelet, you can even mix in some vegetables for added health benefits and a more filling effect.
Image by USDAgov, Flickr

Image by USDAgov, Flickr

9. Whole wheat bread
It’s much healthier for you than white bread, and is a versatile food to have in the kitchen. It can be eaten for breakfast with some natural peanut/almond butter, or for lunch and/or dinner in a sandwich.
Image by veggiefrog, Flickr

Image by veggiefrog, Flickr

10. Healthy, savory snacks
Non-buttery microwavable popcorn and kale chips are perfect for when you get that salty craving. Although they are not the absolute best for you, they are substantially healthier than buttery popcorn or regular chips, and can still do the trick in satisfying your craving.

By having all of these items readily available in your kitchen, you can easily maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet, as well as increase your brain function, energy levels, and overall productivity.

Photo by ollesvensson, Flickr

Photo by ollesvensson, Flickr

Trying to cook, but stumped by your recipe instructions? This glossary of cooking terms is here to help!

Bake Cook with dry heat in an oven.

Blend Mix two or more ingredients together.
Blanch To immerse in rapidly boiling water, allowing food to cook slightly.
Boil Heat until bubbling, usually on the stove.
Braise Cook slowly in fat in a closed pot with small amount of moisture.
Broil Cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.
Chop Cut into small pieces.
Cream Blend ingredients until soft and smooth.
Fry Cook in bubbling oil or fat, usually in a pan or griddle on the stove.
Garnish Decorate a dish, usually with herbs, in order to enhance its appearance.
Grate Rub the food against a grater to create shavings.
Julienne Cut into long, thin strips.
Knead Press and fold dough with the hands until it is smooth.
Marinate Soak or brush food with a sauce or liquid mixture of seasonings for a period of time.
Mince Cut or chop food into tiny pieces.
Melt Heat a solid food (like butter) until it becomes liquid.
Pan-fry Cook in a small amount of fat.
Pare Slice off a thin layer of skin, usually when peeling fruits or vegetables.
Poach Cook in simmering liquid.
Purée Mash foods until perfectly smooth.
Reduce Cook or boil down until very little liquid is left.
Roast Cook meat or poultry in the oven by dry heat.
Sauté Fry rapidly in a small amount of oil on high heat.
Sear To brown very quickly using intense heat.
Sift Pour dry ingredients through a sifter to mix them thoroughly together.
Simmer To cook in liquid that is just below boiling point.
Skim To remove fat or scum from the surface of a liquid during cooking.
Stew To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time.
Steam To cook over boiling water.
Toss Mix ingredients together lightly with a lifting motion.