Eat right, sleep tight!
So exams are underway, the sun is shining and Warwick’s campus is slowly becoming dominated by these absolute cuties…
In fact, if you haven’t already heard, the University of Warwick is notorious for its geese, whilst apparently claiming to have the third highest duck population amongst British universities too! Yes that’s right; Oxford and Cambridge have nothing on Warwick when it comes to its wildlife, placing third with a ‘Duck Density’ of 7.0 ducks per rood. Apparently a rood is an archaic Old English unit of area, equal to one-quarter of an acre. See, you learn something new every day. Now if that isn’t enough in itself to convince you that Warwick is the right university for you, I don’t know what is!
Anyway, ducks aside…and back to…oh, the beauty that is exam season….
In my last post, which you can find here, I shared with you my ‘Ten top tips to tackle term three’s tensions.’ In this post, I briefly touched upon the importance of eating well especially during this period and promised to elaborate on this a bit more in my following post. So here we are!
It all started last week, when sat in the kitchen, my friend and I watched our flatmate pry open a rather dodgy looking tin of Prince’s hot dogs. Slightly concerned about what our friend was about to eat whilst admittedly trying to contain our laughter, I picked up the can to look at exactly how much meat these professed hot dogs contained. I could not believe what I saw…
INGREDIENTS Hot Dogs (Mechanically Recovered Chicken (55%), Water, Pork Collagen, Potato Starch, Salt, Thickener: E412, Stabilisers (E451i, E452i), Spices, Antioxidant: E316, Dextrose, Hydrolysed Soya Protein, Glucose Syrup, Smoke Flavouring, Onion, Sugar, Casing: Beef Collagen, Flavouring, Preservative: E250, Colour: E155), Water, Salt
‘Mechanically Recovered Chicken’?!!
Needless to say, I was in shock. Seemingly determined not to be defeated, our friend continued to cook and eat the sausages, and you will be glad to know that he lived to tell the tale.
Nevertheless, it really drew my attention to the fact that to many students, food isn’t a huge priority. Naturally as half Italian, food has always been one of the biggest priorities in my family…in fact; it seems that our lives revolve around it, with my mother seemingly constantly planning the week’s meals out and consequently stocking my freezer up to the brim with homemade meals whenever I return to university.
Therefore, I decided to dedicate this post to food.
I never knew my dad could be so artistic with a grapefruit!
Despite the temptations of convenience meals and Domino’s pizza (which Warwick’s students seemingly keep in business single handedly) the importance of not succumbing to such temptations and eating well when you come to university is something I cannot stress enough. All heard of the ‘freshman 15’ saying? Well, I’m by no means saying that it is completely true…or perhaps it is amongst the all-you-can-eat style dining halls of American universities…nevertheless, it draws our attention to the way in which when coming to university as a bright eyed fresher, the wellbeing of our bodies and minds are things that often get forgotten about.
Particularly in your first term of university, you will inevitably find yourself somewhat overwhelmed with everything that university seems to offer; the newfound sense of freedom, new courses, new people, a new timetable, societies, halls of residence…Trust me, throughout the first couple of weeks especially, you will find yourself wondering where the time has gone and after that quick Skype call back home, it will soon be time to get ready to go out. Oh hang on…how did I miss dinner?
However, once settled in, it is easier to get into more of a routine and especially during exam season, excessive consumption of calorie filled shop bought meals, Chinese takeaways, fizzy drinks and Costcutter’s burgers are just some of the things you should really try to avoid.
Instead, try to think ahead and plan your meals. In fact, when revising and essay writing, a little bit of time set aside for cooking can be a nice way of breaking up the work load, whilst at times, it can actually be quite social as you will find that often there will be people milling around the kitchen. Needless to say, cooking for yourself will save you so much money, and when I say cooking I don’t mean shovelling some frozen chips into the oven, or boiling the kettle to accompany those pot noodles.
So to give you a little insight into what I really eat as a Warwick student, and to prove student living is not all baked beans on toast, I hereby present you with a day-by-day documentation of my dinners last week…
Monday: Meatballs and pasta
Tuesday:vegetables and chicken (in a red pesto, grapes and red wine sauce)
Wednesday: Porky Whites sausages and salad
Thursday: Mother’s homemade stew
Friday: Cod and Veg
Saturday: Spaghetti and chilli con carne
Sunday: Salad and spinach and ricotta cannelloni (yes shop bought but a super healthy one I promise!!)
Monday: Smoked mackerel with crushed peppercorns and salad
Yum, doing this has made me so hungry right now…
Want a snack? Snack on fruit! Stock your fridge shelf with a plentiful supply of fruit and veg each week. As well as the overwhelming health benefits of such foods, eating a good amount of fruit and veg each day will actually make you feel more energised, more positive and more productive when it comes to studying. Or maybe you could try liquidising your fruit into a delicious and nutritious (had to be done) mid-morning smoothie, or try combining it with natural yoghurt and chopped mixed nuts for an after dinner dessert.
Which reminds me; nuts are also a great choice when it comes to snacking. Let’s face it; nothing is better than a good route around in the fridge as a means of procrastination when it comes to revising. Common snacks such as biscuits, crisps and, in times of essay writing desperation, chocolate, only give you a quick, sugary energy kick and will soon leave you feeling lethargic, de-motivated and probably guilty.
Drink water. Lots of it! Dehydration can cause headaches, lack of energy and feelings of light-headedness. Water can also make you feel fuller and so will often help when it comes to unnecessary snacking and overeating.
For Lunch normally I have the same thing, homemade vegetable, lentil, mixed bean and pulse soup courtesy of my mum. My mum normally makes a huge pot once a week at home so whenever I pop back home I always bring loads of it back with me which I store in my freezer. Alternatively when I don’t have this (yes, I do sometimes run out…so tragic), I will have something fairly light like some Ryvita and salad.
Despite what has always been said about not eating before going to bed, I find I sleep much better on a full tummy. Therefore before going to bed whatever the time (yes even after a night out), as I have already mentioned in previous posts, I will have a bowl of natural yoghurt, fruit and just a sprinkling of some Dorset Cereals (they are amazing, try them!)
It generally looks like this…
Remember if you eat right, you’ll sleep tight 🙂