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By Nutritionist and nutrition educator at Endeavour College of Natural Health, Sophie Scott

Anyone who is studying knows how vital it is to eat well to maintain focus.

There are simple steps students can take to make sure they are operating at optimal health and a lot of it comes down to food. 

Breakfast: front-load calories

The best way to start the day on the right foot is eating a good breakfast.

By consuming the majority of daily calories when we’re most active at the start of the day gives us the energy to power through lectures, assignments and study.

This is called front-loading calories and research suggests that this method can also help with weight management, curbing unnecessary snacking and other health benefits. 

Having a solid breakfast means that regardless of what else happens during the day, students will at least have had one nourishing meal to sustain them.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starting the day with a good breakfast will give our brain and body the fuel it needs to function at a high level. 

Here are some healthy ideas for breakfast:

  • Bircher muesli – soak muesli + chia seeds overnight in milk, yoghurt and some stewed fruit
  • Smoothie – blend banana, yoghurt, nut butter, milk, cinnamon and ice
  • Smashed avocado and feta on sourdough toast
  • Fruit toast with nut butter and sliced banana + cinnamon
  • Pan fried (in olive oil) or boiled egg on rye bread

Lunch: making sandwiches great again

Since keto arrived on the scene, carbs have been copping it and the humble sandwich was one of the first items on the chopping block.

Yet it’s hard to beat a sandwich for an appetising, filling, nutritious, cost-effective snack that’s quick and easy to prepare and eat on-the-go.

In fact, sandwiches are one of the easiest ways to get a serve of wholegrains, vegetables, protein and legumes in just a few bites.

The truth is that sandwiches are the best thing since sliced bread.

Here are some healthy hacks to make sandwiches as nutritious as possible:

  • To get the most health benefits out of a sandwich, it’s important to choose the right bread. Grainy or rye bread or a wholemeal wrap is a must if you’re looking to incorporate some fibre and grains into your diet. Wholegrains are high in B vitamins, which is vital for energy, and are a good source of other micronutrients like iron and zinc. Fibre in wholegrain bread also helps your digestive system work well. Another great option is sourdough, which can be easier to digest for some.
  • While butter has long been associated with sandwiches, there are alternative spreads that can add nutrition and flavour. Making avocado the base of a sandwich is a quick and easy way to add a serve of veggies to lunch and add in some healthy fats and fibre. Hummus or nut butter is another great way to add a good dose of fibre and protein.
  • To turn a sandwich into a nutritious juggernaut, add a couple of serves of vegetables. Grated carrot, sliced tomato or cucumber, baby spinach or lettuce all go well between bread and contain a good helping of the vitamins and nutrients you need for a balanced diet.
  • The final piece of a good sandwich is protein. Protein-rich foods which work well in a sandwich setting include boiled egg (mashed with mayonnaise or hummus), falafel, tuna, smoked salmon, ham, cheddar or creamed cheese.
  • If carbs are still in the back of your mind, try a half sandwich using only one slice of bread. Open sandwiches are easy to whip up when working from home or you can make half sandwich snacks for school lunch boxes. For something a little lighter, a wrap is a good way to minimise calories while still getting a serve of wholegrains.

And tea: snack on protein-rich foods 

Different macronutrients affect our bodies in different ways and the best way to satisfy hunger is to have a protein-packed snack. 

Even a small serve of protein is more effective than a larger serve of carbs or fats, because protein can assist with the function of weight-regulating hormones and stimulate satiety signals.

For the perfect snack pairing, combine protein and fibre to stay fuller for longer. 

Here are some examples of super-charged snacks:

  • 10 almonds + slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbs hummus + 3 rice crackers
  • 10 cashews + medjool date
  • Mini apple and homemade cinnamon muffin 
  • ½ apple + 1 Tbs peanut/nut butter
  • 1 fig + 1 slice brie cheese
  • Boiled egg with 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 2 dried apricots + 3 brazil nuts
  • Cottage cheese on a rice cake
  • ½ cup yoghurt + 10 grapes
  • 1 boiled egg 
  • 1 small tin of tuna

Endeavour College of Natural Health is the largest private higher education provider of natural medicine courses in the Southern Hemisphere. There are six campuses across Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. Courses include Naturopathy, Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies, Chinese Medicine, Chinese Remedial Massage and Remedial Massage. Endeavour offers an alternative path to university and VET courses for Australians wanting to pursue a career in the booming health and wellness industry. Short courses covering nutrition, mental health and wellness are available at www.endeavourshortcourses.edu.au 

Author: Sim K

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