What is junk food?
A perk of modern life is that food is readily accessible to us, in the form of vending machines while you are waiting to catch a train, numerous food stands you walk past on the way to work or even a café at the gym, wherever we go, food is there! A lot of the food we come into contact with on a daily basis is ‘junk food’, junk food is defined as pre-prepared or packaged food that has low nutritional value.
Why do we eat it?
Many of us know that consuming junk food can leading to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, but we still eat it! Junky food is highly processed and normally consists of a deadly concoction of salt, sugar and fat which results in a delicious calorie dense food that leaves us wanting more. So, how do we avoid buying and eating this unhealthy junk food?
Tips on staying away from junk food
The food industry is clever at making junk food look appealing. Techniques such as bright packaging and the use of images that evoke a positive association are commonly used. The use of phrases such as ‘take a break’ or ‘you’re worth it’ tap into your need for self-care and may influence you buy certain food products.
The use of the words ‘organic’, ‘vegan’ and ‘gluten-free’ give the illusion that the food product is healthy, but these terms just refer to the way the food was processed and specific allergen ingredients. These terms do not mean that the food item is healthy, for example a cake could be organic, vegan AND gluten-free but it is still unhealthy junk food.
With processed foods you often get more volume (and more calories) than the healthier options. With junk food although it might seem like a good deal you will eventually end up paying a “health tax” in the form of fat gain and poor health.
Next time you indulge in some junk food, think about where you are, what you are feeling and who you are with, these things could be reasons why you are reaching for this food as these factors could be triggers. This self-knowledge will help you prevent triggered eating in the future.
If you meal plan and know what you are going to eat on a daily basis you won’t have to think about what to eat and will be less tempted to buy junk food.
Hunger is one of the biggest reasons we experience cravings. When you are out of the house try and bring healthy snacks and a water bottle which will keep you full and prevent you from impulse buying junk foods. Avoid going to the supermarket hungry as you may end up being enticed into buying junk foods.
If there are ingredients on food labels that you cannot pronounce the likelihood is that they are chemical compounds used in processing stage of the products. Whole foods will have few and simple ingredients, so you should opt for these.
When we are hungry and can’t wait for food to be cooked, we may turn to junk foods, that’s why it’s important to have healthy convenience foods on hand for when we get peckish, for example nuts or vegetable sticks.
Next time you feel like enjoying some junk food, check out Studifuel’s recipe section which has a range of delicious healthy foods that offer plenty of health benefits.
There is much misconception that following a vegan or vegetarian diet is expensive and only suitable for an elite population however this healthy lifestyle is financially accessible to everyone, even those on a student budget! Here are some tips on how to eat a plant based diet on a student budget:
If there are offers on at the supermarket even perishable items, buy in bulk and freeze it. Big packets or ‘family packs’ usually provide much better value for money than smaller containers, check the unit price when shopping so that you can compare items. Buying herbs and spices in bulk is a good idea as will they last for a very long time.
Make the most of every last part of the food you buy. For example, vegetable skins that you wouldn’t normally consume can be boiled to make a delicious vegetable stock. If you have fresh herbs that are going off, try freezing them in an ice cube tray with water, they make a great addition to a summer drink. Always freeze your leftovers instead of chucking them.
You may have come across plant-based cookbooks that have fancy recipes with extremely long ingredient lists. Many of those ingredients you might not use again and will just be sitting in the cupboard. It is a good idea to have supply of staple herbs, spices and ingredients that you use on a regular basis, therefore this is no waste and unnecessary spending.
Some vegan items can be quite pricey, for example plant-based milks and vegan cheese. These can be made at home, with regard to plant-based milk it’s just a case of having a blender and water, easy peasy!
It’s a question of going to different supermarkets and markets to get different food items. For example, Aldi and Lidl have super cheap fruit and vegetables but they don’t have a good selection of beans and pulses that you can get cheaply in places like Morrisons. Always get a loyalty card as your points will amount to some free food one day!
As you know branded products can be very costly. For example mock meats such as Quorn can be pricey, consider replacing these branded forms of protein with natural cheap forms such a lentils. Try making these branded products at home as mentioned earlier.
Foods that are grown in season not only taste better but are cheaper. Shipping tropical fruits from overseas is bad for the environment and our wallets. Shop for fruit and vegetables grown in season and try to look for produce grown locally as it carries the same financial benefits.
The frozen vs fresh debate will always exist, but nutritionally frozen fruit and vegetables are still great for our bodies and of course cheaper!
If you have the luxury of having a garden in your student house then think about growing your own produce, even if you don’t have any access to grass but have a patio area grab some grow bags and start growing. The initial cost of seeds and grow bags will definitely be worth it with all the produce you will grow. If you do not have access to a garden, you can grow your own herbs indoors.
10. Meal plan
This might be the most import point. If you plan your meals ahead and make a shopping list it will prevent you from impulsive buying. See Studifuel’s recipe section for inspiration. Also, don’t forget to eat before you go food shopping, if you are hungry you are more likely to buy items you don’t need adding extra cost!
Conventional snacks that we reach for when slightly peckish are normally high in fat and sugar. Whilst these will not do our bodies any favours. Studifuel have carefully selected a range of delicious snacks that offer you oodles of health benefits. It’s so easy to snack on junk food, but look no further, each month Studifuel can supply you with a different selection of snacks created with simple natural ingredients which were ethically sourced…sounds good to me! Here are some of the snacks you may find in your box!
Being gluten and dairy free, with many different flavours to try, these bars are becoming more and more popular. These little delights are made with 100% natural ingredients with no added sugar or sticky syrups. Remarkable! Packed with fruit and nuts, these will definitely go towards one of your five a day.
This organic chocolate is renowned for its rich flavour. Made with the finest ingredients, this chocolate is unlike one you may pick up at the local corner shop. These bars contain high levels of cocoa and are naturally sweetened, cocoa is good for the heart ad circulation making this sweet treat a healthy snacking option.
These energy bars provide a slow release of energy. Made with a combination of fruit, nuts and gluten free oats which will deliver sustained energy levels that won’t give you a sugar spike like many unhealthier snack bars on the market. Oats also provide a range of B vitamins which work together to help your body metabolize energy.
Crisps made of potato and processed oils are old news. Studifuel offers chickpea, quinoa, lentil, hummus and vegetable crisps. These make a light and guilt free snack which helps incorporate vegetables and pulses into your diet.
If you want to increase your protein intake in the most natural way, without any unnecessary extra ingredients to abrupt your bodies natural balance, then Pulsin is the way to go. These bars are ideal for a pre- or post- exercise boost. Protein is needed after exercise to help rebuild muscles, it is also used for other bodily functions including structure or hair and nails.
University life is fun but fast paced. One too many all-nighters, a surplus of packet noodles and exercising once a semester can lead to a decline in your health and wellbeing. Read on to find out how to lead a healthy lifestyle at university.
Drinking plenty of water is very simple but very important. We need a minimum of 1.2 litres a day. If you do not consume enough water you risk becoming dehydrated, which can lead to headaches and tiredness. Dehydration will take a toll on your concentration and motivation towards university work. To combat this, always carry a water bottle to university and do not forget to rehydrate after a night out.
Make use of the university sports facilities; these prices are so cheap that you will be wishing you had used them after you graduate. Consider joining a sports society as this is a great way to meet new people. Playing competitive team sports often doesn’t feel like exercise at all.
It might be tempting to get an Uber everywhere, especially as the days get colder, but walking for 30 minutes a day is a great way to improve and maintain your overall health.
As a student, it is easy to fall into a routine of easy and cheap meals that lack fruit and vegetables. Try buying tinned or frozen fruit and veg. They are a fraction of the price of fresh produce and still contain all the essential nutrients needed. They also have a much longer shelf life therefore you don’t need to worry about them going off. Watch out for the salt or syrup content when choosing tinned products. Alternatively, head to your local market and you’ll be able to pick up fresh fruit and veg for cheap.
University accommodation can be a noisy place but there are little things you can do to help you get a good night sleep. Try and get into a routine as much as possible, make your bedroom dark, turn your phone off 30 minutes before going to bed (as exposure to this ‘blue light’ can affect your quality of sleep) and try not to nap during the day as this interferes with your natural body clock and is likely to lead to later nights.
Cooking together with friends or housemates will encourage you to try new cuisines. Cooking with others means you can bulk buy and split the price, making it cheaper than dinner for one every night. Think about buying a cheap cook book or reading recipes online so that you eat different dishes, as variety is also key. Cooking at home means you always know what is going into your food. Cooking with whole fresh foods and avoiding processed foods will play a part in disease prevention.
Avoid going to the supermarket when you are hungry because you will probably end up with a trolley full of Doritos and ice cream. Make a list, consult recipes and meal plan before going shopping so that you only buy what you need. This will be beneficial for both your body and wallet.
University life is great, but it can be full of situations that can affect our mental state, such as leaving work until the last minute can cause stress. It is important to be aware of how both you and your friends are feeling and that you all know where you can go to seek help. Universities will have a guidance councillor and support network you can use.
University is full of people, which makes it the perfect place for bugs to spread, especially in the winter. Wash your hands regularly and consider carrying antibacterial wash with you. If you are not feeling great, it is sometimes best to take the day off, have a Lemsip and get better, instead of burning out.
It is easy to pick up a meal deal every day for lunch, but normally the healthiest item available is a bag of fruit that is god knows how old! Making your own lunch means that you know what you are eating and will help save that student loan.
Go Meat Free
Going meat-free for a couple of nights a week will do wonders for your health, wallet and the environment! You can’t argue with that!
Magnesium is a mineral of many talents needed for a number of key bodily functions. Studifuel provide magnesium supplements in their boxes, so whether you feel like your lacking in this mineral or just want to top up your levels, order a box and start reaping the plentiful benefits!
Low intakes over extended periods of time can lead you to become deficient. Low levels can lead to fatigue, low mood, anxiety, eye tics, insomnia, high blood pressure and muscle cramps…. doesn’t sound fun to me!
Brazil Nuts - A great source of Magnesium
Try making banana tea, they are rich in magnesium. Boil some water. Cut both ends off a banana and place in the water. Boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the banana, pour water through sieve and into mug. You can flavour it, I normally use honey and little cinnamon. Drink one hour before bed for a peaceful night sleep!
Magnesium is a neuromuscular sedative which calms the messages between nerves and muscle cells, this removes cramps and relaxes muscles. You can get magnesium bath salts which are perfect for your muscles after a long walk or a night out!
As we now know, magnesium relaxes muscles, and the heart is no exception. Magnesium relaxes muscles of the heart and its surrounding blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure which is always a good thing.
Magnesium plays a role in bone formation. Optimal magnesium intake is associated with greater bone density and a lower risk of osteoporosis.