I’m wrapping up my first few weeks of university in England, and thought I’d share about something that’s plaguing my existence as a student: junk food.
The thing about junk food is, we know it’s bad for us, but we crave it constantly and it’s difficult to cut it out of our lives completely, especially when you’re studying.. Start by trying out these smaller changes I’ve been using to help you satisfy your most common cravings in a healthier way.
As we all know, pizza is a staple of our lives and one of the most common cravings out there. But before you pick up the phone to order a giant pizza that is packed with extra fat and grease, try using ingredients at home to make your own healthier version (that’s right, you still get to have pizza!). Use pita bread or naan with a bit of olive oil as your crust, then add your sauce and toppings like freshly grated cheese, veggies, and chicken and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. A personal naan/pita pizza is a great alternative because it cuts out all of that extra oil and grease and also keeps your portions under control.
2. potato chips or crisps or whatever
(Okay so I know I’m supposed to be British now and chips are crisps here but I’m still going to call them potato chips for now so nobody back home makes fun of me)
We’ve all sat down in front of the tv with a big bag of potato chips for a “little snack” only to find yourself with an empty bag by the end of the show you’re watching. Potato chips are fried and are high in trans fat and can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. To satisfy your craving for salt, try some air popped popcorn! One plain cup is only 75 calories, it’s fun to make and you can season with spices from your own kitchen (try salt, paprika, garlic powder, or this great seasoning mix by Sunny Side Ups) for a unique snack that tastes exactly the way you want it to!
3. fast or fried food
Instead of heading to your nearest drive through to get a quick meal that is extra salty, extra fried and extra large, try foods with healthy fats instead. Some great alternatives to fast and fried food are eggs in a scramble or omelette, which are also an amazing way to get protein, or tortilla chips and homemade guacamole, since avocados are another great source of healthy fats.
Rather than reaching for the first chocolate bar (which usually has milk chocolate), try a piece of dark chocolate instead. It has a higher amount of pure cacao than milk or white chocolate, meaning it doesn’t contain as much added sugar. The higher concentration of cacao also makes dark chocolate much more rich, meaning you don’t need to eat as much of it to feel like it’s filled you up. As a bonus, dark chocolate in moderation also has a lot of benefits such as helping with circulation, improving your energy, and containing antioxidants that can help your skin.
5. candy and desserts
When you’re just craving something sweet during the day, a great thing to reach for is some fruit, like oranges, grapes, or watermelon. Fruits have natural sugars, which can usually satisfy a daytime sweet tooth, and frozen red grapes taste like literal candy.. Sometimes though, you just want to treat yourself, and one fun way to do that is with an apple or peach crumble. Baking a crumble takes just just a few ingredients: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and the fruit of your choice, and serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is a delicious way to enjoy a dessert that isn’t super processed or artificial. Stay tuned for my exact recipe in the next few weeks.
I’ve found these tips are great to start with, but the biggest thing helping me to stay healthy as a student is making my own food instead of eating out. I’ll be sharing my favourite recipes and tips and tricks for student life and for living abroad here with you all in addition to my usual travel, life, and style content, so keep an eye out for some easy and cheap eats!