Eating Well in Stressful Times – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

Eating Well in Stressful Times

I’m sure we’ve all been told that there are certain things we have to be mindful of when it comes to the stress and mayhem of revising for exams. Exercise and fresh air are always key to staying sane but also easily forgotten when you find yourself absorbed in your work. A quick walk and a break from studying can do you a world of good and increase your afternoon’s motivation and productivity.

The other key aspect of daily life that is easy to overlook when revising is eating well. You might feel in the evenings that you don’t have the time or the energy to cook up a nourishing meal but, as with exercise, you will thank yourself for fuelling your body and your mind ready for the work ahead.

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Quick and Easy Meals

If time is the issue, there are so many quick and easy meals that can keep you healthier and happier.

Pesto pasta is, of course, a student staple and while I wouldn’t recommend this becoming the sole meal in your evening rotation, it is certainly a perfect quick and easy meal. To lift it up to another level all you need to do is add in a couple of extra ingredients that will only cost you a little bit of additional effort. Mushrooms, red onions, spinach and garlic are all excellent additions to this simple dish and just frying some up in a some oil can improve the taste of your meal and add a bit of extra nutrition.

A chilli dish is also another great way of sneaking in extra vegetables and, while this takes a little bit longer to cook, it doesn’t involve an extortionate amount of effort by any means. You can sneak in pretty much any leftover vegetables in your fridge so it’s also a great way to reduce waste. Tomatoes, finely chopped carrots, spinach or mushrooms (like in the pesto pasta), all of these would work perfectly and help to bulk out the meal. You can even sneak in the stalk of your broccoli if you chop it finely and add it at your dish with onion at the start and let it cook down on a low heat until soft. It’s a perfect way to sneak in that nutrition again.

If you’re looking for minimal effort, something like a pizza that you can throw in the oven is always an appealing option. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it but if you want to try cooking something up from scratch there are easy oven meal alternatives. You could slice up some small potatoes season them with salt and pepper and then your choice of some herbs or spices and a bit of oil and chuck them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. These are the perfect side and you can season some chicken to go in the oven alongside them or roast up some other root vegetables like carrots or parsnips. These types of meals require a small amount of prep but once they’re in the oven you can pretty much forget about them until they’re done cooking.

Snacks

I’m not good at snacking, A strange sentence perhaps but it makes sense to me. What I mean is that I always struggle to find the balance with snacking but can see the importance of keeping fuelled throughout the day when focussing for hours on end.

In the past I’ve always been told that fruit and nuts are great snacks to get you through the long stretches between meal times and these are often what I resort to. You could also go for some vegetable sticks and dips like hummus to accompany your work or I find something like cheese and crackers to be great because I can take a quick break to prepare my snack and then get back to work with my new fuel.

Of course, sometimes you’ll just be craving something in particular (I find this happens a lot when I get bored during a session of revising) and it’s okay to give yourself a break and indulge from time to time. Often a piece of dark chocolate gets me through the afternoon and keeps me on track with work.

Cooking and Keeping Calm

Of course, if you’re just feeling stressed and need to step away for a while or you feel you need an evening off, cooking can be a great way to relax. I’m often the first in the kitchen at uni in the evenings and the last to finish because I enjoy the process. I always find cooking to be a rewarding experience that is well worth the time I put into it as I get something delicious out at the end.

Meal times are also a perfect opportunity to socialise which I think we are all in need of with the country still under many restrictions. So, whoever you’re living with, uni housemates or family, I would always recommend eating together (even if you’re eating your own separate meals) and just take that time away from the stresses to enjoy being in each other’s company.

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So with all that in mind, keep working hard on the uni work but also remember to look after yourself so you don’t get worn down by the stress and exhaustion. Food can be a great distraction and something that can give you many physical and mental health benefits. Keep your diet balanced and take time away to properly enjoy your meals and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go again.

Good luck everyone!

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