4 simple diet changes to boost mood, wellbeing and productivity

Looking to make some simple changes to your food routine as a student? We've got some tips to help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Kim Connor Streich
Kim Connor Streich

This post was written by an external contributor. Connor Gotto has some easy changes that you can make to your daily eating habits to help improve your studies. 

Diet is so important. We hear it so much that we get tired of it, but it’s so true. Of course a healthy and balanced diet is imperative to maintain your body. However, what you put in also has a direct impact on what you get out of day-to-day life. Why? Pretty much everything we eat is converted by our bodies into glucose, which provides us with energy.

There is, however, a difference in the rate that foods are broken down by the body, rendering some foods undesirable because, in spite of the wealth of energy they provide, they take far longer to digest, reducing oxygen levels to the brain and causing grogginess.

Meanwhile, other foods have far more benefits to the body – other than energy, believe it or not – that render them far more desirable to get the most out of your day. So here are our four top suggestions for easy, healthy diet changes you can make to improve your mood and get the most out of your day.

Cut down on  bread


If you’re anything like us, you’ll wake up craving carbs and go to bed planning what your next hit of carbs is going to be – it’s only natural (or so we tell ourselves). Now, we’re not anti-carbs at all. But we’re guilty of just grabbing some for a quick fix and often regretting it twenty minutes later.

Fibre is essential for digestion, and unfortunately two slices of white bread contain only 1g of it. The primary nutrient is starch, giving a decent 20g hit. However, this is also commonly found in cereal, rice, and potatoes. Therefore, bread has very little health benefits, serving mainly to hinder digestion.

To our surprise, cutting bread from our diet wasn’t as horrifying as we first thought. Yes, we still crave it every time we pass a bakery, but the alternatives are plentiful, and make for easy substitutes. Our favourite: Ryvita! Not only is it far healthier and packed with seeds and grains, it also gives a good crunch.

Trust us, try it and you’ll see just how much better life is without ‘carb-head’.

Try alternatives to cow’s milk


No one wants dry cornflakes, we all agree on that. But the type and amount of milk that we use can render a bowl of even the healthiest cereal high in calories.

Many believe that cow’s milk is high in calcium – we’ve all been told its “good for your bones” – but, in reality, studies have shown that the calcium absorbed in cow’s milk isn’t as high as we may think.  It’s also reasonably high in calories, the majority of which come from fat. All in all, its not the best.

Nowadays, there’s a variety of alternative milk options that have lots of health benefits. Soy and nut milks are especially among the most popular in the UK. Unsweetened soy milk is packed with protein, calcium and nutrients that will nourish your body and mind, helping you to remain focused for your studies.

So, next time you sigh at someone ordering a flat white with almond milk at Starbucks, think again…

Make your own soup


A go-to lunch option for many of us, soup is often praised as the much healthier alternative to the sandwich. However, what is often not discussed is the high salt and fat content, rendering some shop-bought soups worse for you than a sandwich and bag of crisps.

The answer: make your own. It’s healthier, and cheaper!

Our current go-to is root vegetable: carrot, parsnip, swede, and onion. You can buy all together in Sainsburys for ВЈ1. Simply chop and boil, blend if you like, and throw in a stock cube for good measure. Total cost: ВЈ1.10, or 27.5p per serving.

Pair with Ryvita or rice cakes for a lunch that is not only delicious, but packed with nutrients and sure to keep your mind fueled for the remainder of the afternoon.

Swap the coffee for herbal tea


We’re all too quick to wake up and grab a coffee, depending on it to ‘rev up our engines’ and get on with the day. Apart from that however, it does very little for us. Especially when loaded with milk and sugar.

Luckily, there are a plethora of fruit and herbal teas to choose from instead. Teas that will give you a more natural energy boost and countless other benefits. For example, green tea is a superfood and helps to fill you up. Sip on it while working and you’ll not be distracted by thoughts of your next naughty snack break.

Herbal teas are also great at staving off colds, and also support restful sleep which, as we all know is imperative to maintain focus and remain productive.

Try it – you’ll miss your usual coffee for the first few days, but you’ll soon find your favourite (and spend a whole lot less on ВЈ4 a pop takeout coffees…)

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