The typical fresher puts on an average of 15 pounds (or just over a stone!) in their first year at university, so that news may be welcoming to those of you struggling to get into your old pairs of jeans – you’re not on your own! Summer is as good a time as any to cleanse your body of all that junk food you may have been eating over the past year or so and start afresh with a healthy diet that will leave you feeling refreshed.
If you’re really keen to lose some of that weight you’ve put on, try to stick to a weekly meal plan where you can plan what you’re going to eat for each meal, every day of the week. This way you’ll be more likely to avoid any unnecessary snacking and stick to eating healthy, nutritious food. Here are a few key features you should try to keep in mind whilst planning your weekly meals:
- Swap refined white goods such as white bread, pasta and rice for wholegrain alternatives
- Eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one oily fish (such as sardines or mackerel)
- Include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day – if you can, try to eat more veg than fruit as it contains less sugar
- Go vegetarian at least once a week and substitute meats with beans and pulses as they are a great source of protein, inexpensive and contain much less saturated fats than meats such as beef, pork and lamb
- When shopping, opt for reduced fat or low fat alternatives for products such as cheese and yoghurt
- When cooking, use rapeseed or olive oil rather than butter
- Avoid seasoning food with salt and replace with fresh herbs and dried spices
Over the next month or so, I’ll be giving you some new ideas for your weekly diet plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and treats that are low fat, nutritious and delicious to help you shed those extra few pesky pounds.
This week, we’re starting with some new breakfast recipes that will not only kick start your day but your summer diet too! For those of you who regularly skip breakfast, I strongly advise you to make time for it as eating a nutritious and filling breakfast can help you curb those mid morning hunger cravings which can often lead to unhealthy food choices. I always try to include a few portions of fruit in my breakfast, whether it’s topped on my cereal or a smoothie – get it in there!
Weekly Food Plan: Breakfasts
Monday: Comfort those post-weekend blues with Boiled Eggs and Marmite Seedy Soldiers rather than a sausage sandwich. Eggs are a healthy source of protein and will satisfy your appetite until lunchtime, wholemeal bread will provide you with a great source of fibre and the marmite and seeds will give you a great nutritional boost of B vitamins.
Tuesday: Weigh out 20g fruit wheats with 20g muesli (opt for the low sugar versions), pour on skimmed milk and top with a dollop of 0% fat yoghurt and whatever fruit you’ve got around – British strawberries are in season at the moment and are absolutely delicious. You could also try fresh kiwi and raspberries, or even a small handful of dried fruit such as apricots. Whilst this breakfast may contain a fair bit of sugar, most should come from fruit sugars and just make sure you avoid fruit juices or sugary foods the rest of the day.
Wednesday: Try a wholemeal toasted muffin halved, topped with two poached eggs and sliced tomatoes and avocado. Tomatoes and avocados are especially delicious this time of year as they are coming into season at the moment so this breakfast recipe is a must during summer. You’ll feel very full after this nutritious breakfast, with a great source of protein from the eggs, fibre from the wholemeal muffin and two of your 5-a-day from just 80g portion of tomatoes and ½ an avocado!
Thursday: Try whizzing up a Nutty Banana Milkshake for a delicious and healthy pick-me-up to get you through to the end of the week. Try using skimmed milk rather than semi and opt for an organic peanut butter if possible, as it will contain less artificial flavours and fats - add other fruit as you please such as blueberries for the extra burst of nutrients. You may not think having a milkshake, and a peanut butter flavour one at that, is healthy choice for breakfast, but you’ll be surprised!
Friday: Treat yourself – if you’ve been eating healthy, nutritious breakfasts then you definitely deserve some bacon to finish off the week! However, bacon is actually considered quite a lean cut of meat if you trim the fat off and grill as opposed to frying in oil or butter. Top your grilled, trimmed bacon with one slice of brown toast and some grilled tomatoes (simply slice a large vine tomato in half and place face down onto a lightly oiled grill pan and leave for 5-10 mins) – try balsamic dressing instead of lathering your bacon in tomato ketchup, the grilled tomatoes will give you a fresh tomato sauce!
Saturday: Who wants pancakes? It’s a must on a Saturday morning, and just because you’re eating healthily that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved! Just make the odd few changes here and there and you can enjoy indulging in a batch of pancakes (but not the whole batch!) with everyone else. For example – replace white flour with brown, use rapeseed oil when frying and make crepe style pancakes which are much thinner and serve with berry compote or fresh raspberries, strawberries and bananas. Rather than slathering your pancake in sugar, why not add a few spices such as cinnamon to your pancake to give them more flavour. Studentrecipes.com has a tonnes of pancake recipes that you can adapt to be slightly healthier, so take a look!
Sunday: Easy like Sunday mornings, hair of the dog, whatever you’re state of mind on a Sunday morning, it’ll be satisfied with a full English. However, some English breakfasts will set you back over 1000 kcals, which will definitely not fit into your healthy eating plan! Slash the calorie content in half by changing a few things around, and you’ll feel even more satisfied once you’ve polished off the last mouthful as there’s no guilt reflex afterwards. Use some of the key ideas featured earlier in the blog and throughout this week’s breakfast plan – swap white toast for brown, trim the fat off the bacon, avoid cooking with butter and stick to rapeseed oil, up the veg content on your breakfast with plenty of filling baked beans, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes, boil or poach your eggs rather than frying and scrambled, but allow yourself one sausage – low fat if possible!
I hope this week’s blog on healthy breakfasts has shown you that sticking to a healthy eating plan isn’t boring or dull – it just takes a little time, thought and creativity! Have you got any great healthy breakfast recipes or tips? Don’t forget to upload them to the Studentrecipes.com website!
Next week – Plans for a healthy lunchtime. Stay tuned!