How to Eat Healthier this Semester

Two weeks into university and you finally realize that you won’t be able to afford take out everyday. Neither your wallet nor your health would appreciate it either. As such, you decide to start cooking for yourself…except you have no idea where to start. Here are my top 5 tips on how to eat healthier this semester.

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1. Say hello to the bulk foods area 

The bulk foods area can be a scary place. Now, I’m not talking about the candy and chocolates area. I’m talking about the healthy bulk foods. Once you discover this new world, trust me, you will never go back to buying pre-packaged products. Bulk foods are cheaper and healthier. Pay special attention to nuts, cereals and legumes. Among my favourite choices are lentils, chickpeas, millet, pearled barley, wheat and nutritional supplements. Your only requirement now is to find a few good recipes in which you can combine ingredients to make a healthy, nutritious meal, which is especially recommended for those looking to eat healthier but don't want to eat salads every day. With these ingredients, you can make yummy stews and risottos and you will rarely want to go back to having your daily mashed potatoes!

2. Drink more water 

Common knowledge suggests we should drink at the very least 2 litres of water per day. This is especially difficult during the winter when the last thing you want is to make yourself colder by drinking water. What we fail to understand, however, is that the 2L of water goal can be easily accomplished by incorporating a soup during dinner (prior to the main dish), fruits with high water content such as apples, and carrying a water bottle with us all day. Check it out: a glass of water in the morning with your breakfast, a glass for lunch and a glass for dinner plus a soup already makes 1L. This means you only need one more litre in between main meals to reach your goal! Add a cup of herbal tea during the day and you only need three more glasses!

3. Don’t forget to eat fruit 

Fruit is especially important as it adds fibre to your diet and helps you keep hydrated. A diet without enough fruits can prove to be detrimental to your health, even if you eat vegetables every day. The key to being healthy is following a balanced diet AND eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, all of which add specific and very necessary nutrients to your exhausted body. Eating enough fruits, vegetables and nuts will allow you to have more energy during the day and strengthen your immune system. 

4. Say goodbye to pop drinks 

This might be a sad one for some. The good news is that you don’t have to completely abolish pop drinks, rather reduce the amount you drink weekly. A good target would be to leave pop drinks for those special days when you are exhausted and just can’t seem to find anything to replace the sweet taste with (I would keep this special treat to a once-a-month thing). Pop drinks are packed with sugar and add invisible calories that may keep you from reaching your healthier goals.

5. Have a cheat meal per week 

To stay sane during the semester, allow a cheat meal per week. This means that one meal a week, you can eat a burger with fries, or a pizza, or fried chicken, you name it. Beware, pasta does not count as a cheat meal because in and of itself, pasta is a healthy carbohydrate (even more so if you choose the whole wheat version). What makes pasta unhealthy is the sauce you choose to add. Try simpler Italian ways of making pasta and you will be able to eat as much as you want!

Start the semester in a healthy way, HCUBC cuties!