Ah summer! Despite all the rain, it’s just around the corner, but before we can enjoy the barbeques and sunshine, there will be finals: a time of high stress and the need for fast, easy comfort food. Blown will be the diets that people work so hard on to look great for summer. Fast food places probably love the boosted income that comes with college students’ stress!
However, there is a way to stay healthy while eating fast, cheap and tasty food. TV’s Food Network is abundant with great ideas, and so are women’s magazines. Fresh is always in and so is watery, refreshing fruits. Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, kiwis and mangoes are all creeping up in large quantities, ranging from 50 cents each to almost 2 dollars a pound.
These simple and subtle fruits are perfect to whip together into a fantastic salad or dessert in no time. Simply rinse, chop and toss the fruits with a little orange juice, a cup of vanilla yogurt (any flavor works really) and mix. Not only is it easy, fast and tasty, but it’s full of vitamins and calcium, and its virtually fat free, if you use fat free yogurt.
Another trick with fruits is salsa. Fruit salsa is fabulous on grilled chicken, and it can be fast and easy too. Chop a tomato, a small red onion, cilantro to taste, a green bell pepper and either a mango, pineapple or Asian pear and add a dash of Tabasco and voila! Delish topping for that nicely grilled bird.
It’s a proven fact that your diet could affect your study habits and capability to focus on school work, so a well balanced and nutrient rich meal or snack is really beneficial. Fruits are, of course, excellent choices, as are vegetables and lean meats. Summer veggies, like zucchini and other squashes, bell peppers, Portobello mushrooms and onions are really easy to grill up, and they taste so good.
The best part is that they are so easy. Wash, slice, lightly coat with olive oil, course salt and pepper, and they’re good to go. Lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers and carrots are excellent salad staples and sandwich fixin’s and most are easy enough to slice and munch as is.
Meat-wise, chicken is always a great way to go. It’s light, lean and versatile. Grill with a decadent marinade, and you’ve got a main course. Chicken is only one way to go. Ground turkey has made its way to the burger winners circle, and recent studies have shown that lean top cuts of beef is just as lean as chicken and has more protein. Steak anyone?
Cheeses get a lighter use, mostly on burgers, sandwiches and crumbled into salads and side dishes. Milk should be used sparingly, but remember your three 8 oz servings of dairy a day!
Processed sugars don’t do you much good as they burn off quickly and leave you feeling more burnt out than before. So before you go down to that fast food place and grab a quick and supposedly healthy meal, consider this: If you have 30 minutes, some simple ingredients and a nifty recipe, you can make something for sure good for you, fabulous and much more than worth it.