Mammy’s not cooking this week; time to learn a new skill!
Keeping your diet in check while keeping up with college can be tricky. So here are some tips and pointers on how to get the most out of your budget.
A golden rule for shopping is to make a beeline for the fruit and veg in any shop. Fill as much of your basket as you can from these aisles and you’ll be on the right track. While processed foods deliver the same calories and nutrients, they release them in a different way.
Megalomaniacal food consortiums spend billions every year trying to work out ways to sell us the same few raw materials – adverts, whisper campaigns, research, packaging and labeling all designed to convince us their version of corn or dairy is a little better than the other.
Bypass the slogans, text and advertising and look for the little diagram that says what each pack contains. European food labeling standards introduced a labeling style in 2014 that uses a traffic light inspired red (high), amber (medium) and green (Low) system to spell out the basic nutritional qualities of a product. Greens and Ambers are the better options of these three.
Everything in proportion
These labels are laid out to tell you what 100g of the product contains; look a little closer and very often a recommended serving amount is listed in grams. I recently got a little OCD about this and bought myself a digital scale. Whatever about my diet, my ability to serve myself a decent-sized portion of any food is seriously lacking and was surprised by how far off I was in estimating how much was going on my plate.
Eating out can sometimes be the only option as the academic year gets closer to its climax. Be aware that most places you eat out are going to serve portions that are larger than you need, simply because they can’t have customers leaving the building hungry – so just remember, you haven’t signed a contract to eat everything they serve you!
Generally, fresh whole foods are the basis of a good diet. Meat the size of the palm of your hand along with enough green and red vegetables to fill the plate, snacking on nuts and seeds, fruit for sugar and fibre, carbs like bread (not the white stuff!), pasta and oats and drinking lots of water – a grown man needs about 3 litres of this precious commodity a day.
Depending on your body size, a person requires between 1000 and 2000 calories to function for a day. If you are going to the gym, walking a lot or dancing this is going to increase. Nutritional sources put the average around 1300 calories, but then everybody and nobody is average.
At NUI Galway, the hope would be that you would use your brain on a daily basis. Whatever your body size, your brain is going to use around a quarter of this, and a small amount more when you are taking on tasks that involve a lot of thinking. Also, being stressed, which unfortunately can happen over the academic year burns more calories than being relaxed!
As a rule of thumb, don’t go more than five hours without eating, and don’t skip meals – depending on your timetable you can design your meals to suit and keep a good level of energy all day. It’s worth having a look at this early in the year when you have a little more free time.
By Eoghan Holland
Easy Recipes for students: Jamie Oliver eat your heart out!
Not having Mammy’s dinner to feast on after a long day on campus can take some getting used to. However it’s easier to prepare a healthy, tasty and filling meal than you might think.
The key is to always have a few essentials in your press, making it easier to rustle up a good feed at any time. My personal favourites are a really quick and easy stir fry recipe, homemade Boojum-esque burritos and a super tasty pasta bake.
Beef Satay Stir-fry
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée/ketchup
- A generous splash of soy sauce
- Beef pieces for stir-fry
- 1 onion
- Mix together the peanut butter, honey, curry powder, tomato purée or ketchup (I feel like ketchup works better even if that sounds a bit gross), soy sauce and stir into the beef.
- Chop up the onion and fry in a dash of oil of choice (I’m a big fan of coconut oil but olive oil will do the job too).
- Add in the beef.
- Allow to cook through. Meanwhile, chop up any vegetables you would like to throw in. I usually add in carrots, peppers, baby sweet corn, broccoli and peas.
- Add the vegetables and mix thoroughly into the beef so they get a good coating of the satay sauce.
- Serve on a bed of rice or noodles. Noodles can be added into the pan and mixed with stirfry.
Boojum-esque Burritos (pictured up top)
This is a meal that could feed a full house of ravenous students and still have leftovers for the next day. Obviously additional things like sour cream and canned pinto beans can be an extra expense but if the house plans a Mexican night, they can be easily fit into your weekly budget!
- Mince (400g could serve 4 people)
- Tin of kidney beans
- Tin of chickpeas
- Canned pinto beans (optional)
- Tin of tomatoes
- Chili powder
- Cumin (optional)
- A splash of orange juice
- Tortilla wraps
- Sour cream and cheese
- Cook the mince through.
- Add a generous helping of chili powder.
- Add the tomatoes, kidney beans and chickpeas.
- Let simmer for ten minutes then add in a splash of orange juice and a tablespoon of cumin.
- Meanwhile, boil the rice.
- When everything is cooked, heat up the wraps.
- Fill the wraps with the rice and mince adding a heaped spoonful of the canned pinto beans, a dollop of sour cream and some cheese. Voilá!
- 400g pasta
- 4 rashers
- Tin of tomatoes
- Sweet corn
- 1 onion and peppers
- Mixed herbs.
- Cook the pasta until al dente (to a firm consistency).
- Fry the rashers, onions and peppers all together in a pan.
- Pour the pasta, rashers, onions and peppers into a big cooking ovenproof dish.
- Pour the tomatoes into a bowl; add in some mixed herbs such as basil and oregano.
- Add the tomato mix into the pasta dish.
- Sprinkle a generous helping of cheese on top of the dish and put in the oven at 180 degrees for twenty minutes.
- Serve with garlic bread.
By Sorcha O’Connor