Healthy eating habits for students

BETWEEN assignments, final exams and maintaining a social life, if you’re a student, healthy eating probably may not be high on your list of priorities.

However, you should realise that poor eating habits at this period of your life – as you transition into independent university life – could cause problems further down the road.

Your unhealthy eating habits could eventually lead to insufficient nutrients in your diet, cause fatigue, and even result in problems in learning.

In Malaysia, hypertension, diabetes and heart problems are among the non-communicable diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. So, if you thought that skipping meals and eating way too much junk food has no effect on you, think again!

Adopting healthy eating practices does not have to be painfully boring and by just following these few simple tips, you might just be on the right track.

Never skip breakfast Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps improve concentration and performance during lectures. And while it might be tempting to skip breakfast because you are in a rush, it is not wise to do so.

A study conducted by Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) indicated that those who skipped breakfast show low physical activity level. So, if you do find yourself facing a busy day, just make sure to a have a hardy, healthy breakfast.

Plan your meals

Apart from the health benefits of planning your meals, making your own packed lunch every day will likely be more cost-friendly than grabbing something during your lunch break.

When planning your meal, try to base it around simple things that are healthy, within your budget, and are also easy to prepare.

Smart snacking

It’s normal for students to be snacking in between lessons and study sessions because the brain needs glucose or energy to function. However, this may not be an easy thing to do, as most students would prefer unhealthy snacks.

Instead of having instant noodles or chips, why not opt for healthier alternatives including fruits such as papayas and bananas, fresh vegetables, wholesome grains, milk and soy drinks for a memory boost.

Also, consuming dark chocolate before a test or a study session has been claimed to help relax the brain as studies showed that it helped to reduce blood pressure and promote blood flow to the brain.

Drink plenty of fluids

According to a study by researchers from the University of East London, consuming water has physiological effects on the cognitive performance of students. Basically, that means ‘drink more water, get better results’.

The study highlighted that drinking water before exams helped alleviate anxiety (while those who were thirsty during exams were more easily distracted) thus allowing them to concentrate more and perform.

That being said, carrying a bottle of water seems handy, especially during late night study sessions.

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