Feeling stressed yet? If you’re a lover of all things comfort food, you’re probably no stranger to the calming effects of cookies, chocolate, and fast food when things get hectic in school. Maybe you don’t have the time and it was all you could grab, or you like to reward yourself for surviving the worst of the school year. But is all this “reward” really helping or hurting you? Is the temporary sugar spike really worth the sluggish after-effects? If your student diet has got you feeling drained or if you need a little extra nutrition to help power you through the stressful semester, consider switching out some of those french fries for these stress-busting foods.
Aside from containing lots of vitamins and antioxidants (which all fruit does), and being a quick and tasty snack (again, like all fruit), their beneficial effects on memory make blueberries an ideal snack during the school year, or any time of the year, actually.
Bananas are high in potassium, which is important in managing hypertension (that hopefully none of you have…) but is also essential in balancing out any extra salty meals you’ve had lately. So yes, if you had to have that McDonald’s or Harvey’s for lunch, make sure you also have some potassium-rich foods to balance out all that salt. Bonus: this is also the main ingredient when making one ingredient ice cream. Yum.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds pack a lot of protein and good fats, which can fuel you and keep you feeling full throughout the day. They’re high in plant based omega fatty acids, which help with the inflammation tends to increase when you’re stressed. Almonds are high in fiber and promote good cholesterol levels (high HDL, low LDL). Nuts are also considered healthier when eaten with their skins which, although bitter at times, also contains most of the nutrients. The same can be said for fruits, like apples.
Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used in tea blends designed to help you sleep and to reduce anxiety. Unfortunately, despite the prevalence of its uses, there isn’t all that much research looking at these effects. Chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory effects. Green tea is full of antioxidants and is great if you need a little caffeine pick-up, especially if you’re not a fan of coffee or are trying to reduce your caffeine intake. Plus, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a nice warm cup of tea.
Dark chocolate is also full of antioxidants and can improve blood vessel function and promote good cholesterol levels. Dark chocolate tends to have a lower amount of sugar and fat compared to milk chocolate and in moderation, can be a great snack or reward after a busy week. If you’re determined to have a little chocolate, make it dark chocolate. Organic and fair trade is better, if you can find it!
I hope you guys consider some of these ideas as snack alternative this semester. Eating healthy can be a great way to boost your mood and energy, especially during stressful parts of the school year when we tend to forget about watching what we eat. What are your favourite healthy snack options? Let us know in the comments!