Student Eating - Protein
As a student, it is very easy to fall into the trap of cheap eating. This usually involves eating baked beans, pasta, packet soups etc as students prefer to spend money on things other than food. However, it is so important we are hitting our recommended daily allowances in order to keep healthy, especially due to the late nights and high work and stress levels.
The macronutrient that tends to be forgotten the most by students is protein, mainly as it is the most expensive. However, protein is needed for muscle growth, energy and hormone production and is essential in our diets. We should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight over the course of the day - breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner. If you are training and looking to build muscle, then obviously this level should be increased.
I have come up with some options for all meals of the day which will help to reach the daily intake in an affordable and reasonable manner. Have a look:
Eggs are a good source of morning protein and they really aren't very expensive at all. Combine them with a slice of ham and you have a greatly nutritious breakfast.
If you prefer a lighter meal to start the day, both milk and yoghurt are cheap ways of getting a little protein in and ready for the day.
If you are busy in lectures all day, it can be easy to simply miss lunch. However, this is a very bad idea. You can make a cheap meal that will keep you going throughout the day by just buying some sliced meat, combining it with lettuce and tomatoes and making a tasty sandwich.
Alternatively, buy some tinned fish such as mackerel or tuna and mix some nuts, seeds and vegetables for a cheap, healthy and filling salad.
Just a quick note: when it comes to sliced meat, sometimes it is worth spending the extra money, as the cheap ones can't really be considered for real protein foods.
This is the time to really pack in the protein. Most supermarkets have offers on meat such as 3 for £10 so you can stock up the freezer with protein to save for a later date. If a packet contains a couple of chicken breasts for example, cook them both and have one for dinner and save the other for the next day. This is definitely enough meat to last you over half the week if you plan it well.
Also, a little trick is that supermarkets will reduce the price of their meats with a sell by date of that day. Look out for these and buy them 1/4 the original price and put them in the freezer to eat another day. Consume these within a week of buying them though.
For a protein filled snack, nuts and seeds are a fairly cheap option if bought from Poundland. You can buy peanut butter very cheaply and spread this on bread or an apple for a healthy snack. Yoghurt or eggs can be eaten at any point in the day as another cheap and filling option.
This is just a suggestion more than a piece of advice, but buying protein shakes is a great way to make sure you get your daily protein content. It is more of an investment as you pay roughly £30, but this can last a couple of weeks and will mean you won't need to buy as much fresh meat. You can afford to slack more on protein content in every meal, as you will be getting about 25g of protein from an average shake.
Hope that helps, and remember to hit that protein intake. It really is worth the little bit of extra money to buy some meat as it will keep you fit and healthy. Protein is used for muscle building and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Therefore if you want to look good and get lean, protein is the food to stick to. Also, protein fills you up more than any other nutrient, so you won't need to buy or eat as much other food if you are eating more protein!
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