Published: 3 February 2022. Written by: James Hudson, former Rugby union player and Vitality Performance Champ.
Looking to stay healthy and make some good nutritious choices when it comes to mealtimes? Vitality Performance Champ and former Rugby union player, James Hudson, gives some advice on how to consistently and easily focus on nutrition.
“Take pride in your plate”
No matter how active you are, the first clear message must be that there are no foods off the menu. Our attitude to food must be one of enjoyment. If we can fuel our bodies for all our daily routine as well as any exercise or activity we undertake, we are going to feel better and get more from our day. If we can provide the building blocks to repair and grow muscle and support bone, then the huge amount of growing you will still be doing can set ourselves up for a healthy body for life.
Every day we have a plate or bowl in front of us multiple times, when we put it together think about how great you can make it, don’t exclude foods, and only give yourself a narrow range of choices, keep picking foods that you enjoy but challenge yourself on how positive you can make it for your health and wellbeing, be proud of your plate!
“Choices at breakfast echo through the day”
When we roll out of bed accompanied by the obligatory groans at the alarm clock, we have a choice of when to eat that first meal. Breakfast doesn’t have to be immediately eaten, but what we choose puts us on the track to succeed in our daily ventures, which for most will involve concentrating in classrooms or lectures. The cartoon laden boxes of cereals are probably best left to your younger selves now, and the last thing we want is that difficulty paying attention and hunger that will appear mid-morning if we make these the centrepiece of the first meal.
Eggs are a brilliant source of protein to provide those building blocks of growth, flexibility and can be crafted into an omelette or scrambled in seconds. They are also cheap which keeps that student budget intact. Pair them with some multigrain toast and fruit for a breakfast that provides fuel and won’t leave you hungry too soon. This is then also likely to manage hunger and enable better choices to be made throughout the rest of the day.
“Eat in colour”
Fruit and vegetables might not feature as often as they should but by slipping them in the freezer, they are there for when you remember. There is nothing wrong with frozen produce and when you’re busy with studies, having packs of microwave vegetables and colourful fruit can be a saviour for keeping you healthy throughout the year. If you choose porridge rather than eggs for breakfast, then a couple of handfuls of frozen mixed berries is a very affordable addition.
Smoothies made with frozen mango, kiwi and pineapple cubes can provide a quick easy dose of vitamin C to ward off those colds. There is such an array of options now in supermarkets, from stir fry packs to herbs and spices, the freezer aisle can save you preparation time but also keep you firing all year round.
“Survival snack packs”
Whether it’s library sessions, meeting a deadline or revision leading into exams, keeping quick options to hand can be a saviour. Back in the day many moons ago I used to have a survival kit in my bag when going between university and training, but how I wish I had the options available now, back then!
Calcium for your bones is a key nutrient and milk-based drinks and yogurt pouches travel really well and can provide a much-needed hit of protein as well. Iron is also very important for your growing bodies and dried fruits can be a rich source. Trail mixes with apricots paired up with nuts and seeds have a great shelf life and can be kept ready for when needed in a bag. You could even add a bit of chocolate in too!
Studying, being active and growing requires a lot of energy. Fuel all of this by enjoying a wide range of foods and enjoy taking pride in your plates to help you succeed in whatever goals you have.
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