Mind your mind: Snack smart to fuel your busy schedule

Like most UBC students, my days are packed with multiple commitments — class, studying and work are just the bare minimum. My schedule is often filled with activities that drain both my level of physical and mental energy.

With my busy schedule, I find it particularly challenging to feed myself three times a day. I almost never manage to find the time to sit down and eat the required meals.

As a student, it’s easy for me to rely on mocha lattes from Blue Chip Café and slices of pepperoni pizza from Pie R Squared. These options are readily available, but even if they satisfy my hunger, the reality remains that my body is lacking brain boosting and nutritious foods.

I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only student who could benefit from extra nutrients, so I’d like to share one strategy that can help with the challenge of balanced eating while living in a stressful academic environment: smart snacking.

My dietician was the one who first introduced me to the idea. She began by explaining the myths: some people claim that snacks lead to diabetes, ruin your appetite, cause weight gain and reflect a poor diet and nutrition overall.

The opposite is true, as snacks provide many advantages. They help with regulating blood sugar and hunger levels, and are a source of fuel for your body.

For these reasons alone, I believe that grabbing a snack in between classes or eating a granola bar on the way to work is not only beneficial for physical and mental health, but also necessary for maintaining focus and stamina throughout the day.

I understand that there are many possibilities when it comes to choosing a combination of healthy snacks. I acknowledge that what works for one person may not work for another. But here’s a list of my favourite snacks, in case any of you are looking for ideas:

  • Yogurt with berries and granola
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Trail mix or a handful of almonds
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hardboiled egg with fruit
  • Vegetables with hummus

It can be really hard to eat well while in university. But I believe that making one small change at a time can make a big difference in the long run and that smart snacking is a relatively easy way to improve our overall state of wellbeing.

Snacks can improve our level of energy and give us the strength we need to push through long, exhausting days. Eating well is about sustaining ourselves and fuelling our bodies — and that should always be made a priority.

The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency call 911.