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Supercharge your diet with super foods

Credit: KELSEY YATES/SAIT POLYTECHNIC

These snacks are easy to make and will give you long-lasting energy.


Kelsey Yares | The Weal | Lifestyles | March 2nd, 2015



CALGARY (CUP) — When feeling stressed and run-down this semester, students should leave behind high-calorie, processed comfort foods and reach for super foods instead.

Super foods are nutrient-rich foods that are thought to be beneficial for overall health and excellent substitutes for packaged snacks that are high in fat, calories, and sugar.

“All good health starts with a basic foundation,” said Keri-Lyn Butts, assistant store manager for the Chinook location of Community Natural Foods.

“Good nourishment, adequate sleep, proper hydration, and a sustainable protein source are very important.”

Nuts, like almonds, are an easily- accessible source of protein that provide long-lasting energy and the sense of feeling full. Almonds are also rich in vitamin B12, which aids in energy production and reduces stress.

Even the busiest students can eat healthier by grabbing some trail mix, an apple with almond butter, or by making their own granola bars at home.

Green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach contain high levels of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are easy to add to sandwiches, salads and smoothies.

“Kale is my absolute favourite vegetable,” said Butts.

“It grows very well in Canada, so it can be found locally for a good chunk of the year.”

Other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are high in fibre, vitamin C, and other nutrients that protect against cancer and aid the immune system. It is best to eat broccoli raw or steamed because the nutrients are lost when it is boiled.

Avocados, another well-known super food, are creamy, delicious, and full of healthy monounsaturated fat, which can help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Blueberries can satisfy any sweet tooth, and they are full of flavonoids that help fight disease.

When students are tired and hungry, they tend to opt for quick and easy boosts from coffee and refined sugars.

“Bring it back to the basics, and do anything you can to lessen the stress load on the body,” said Butts.

Butts also suggested that students try yerba mate – a nutrient-rich drink that is infused with leaves, similar to tea.

Yerba mate has less caffeine than coffee, and it also contains compounds that improve mood, promote deeper sleep, and increase mental focus.

“There is still a lack of connection between what we put in our bodies and how we feel as a result,” Butts said.

“We are literally what we eat.”

No-bake energy bites

  • 1 cup oatmeal (dry)
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together, and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.
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