Stress, Eat Your Heart Out!

Yesterday was International Stress Awareness Day and it got me thinking about all the ways I try to manage stress. I’m no stress-busting expert and I won’t throw age-old clichéd mantras at you. No, I’d rather give you something productive to do.

Everyone knows a healthy body makes for a happy mind (oops, is that a cliché?), and the key to my happiness is certainly food. As student’s our relationship with food can be tricky… No time for anything but Tesco’s meal deals and sometimes Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference cookies just hit the spot.

How about compromise? Find time to make the yummiest (guiltiest) foods into something a little better for the heart. Each of these recipes below tap into different meals of the day – dessert included – and I hope they inspire you to kickstart more fun and balanced habits!

Breakfast: Granola bars

It’s the most important meal after all, but this one can be taken on-the-go.

  1. Simmer 350g of dates in 600ml of water until soft.
  2. Blend together with cinnamon and stir together with a cup each of all the seeds you can find (pumpkin, sunflower, flax) and 2 cups of oats.
  3. Pour this onto a tray and bake for 30 minutes until golden. It’s best to cut the bars half-way through this step.

Lunch: Mini rolls

These are great little snacks for lunch and with a delicate touch are Instagram-worthy.

  1. Grab a cucumber and peel off the skin to discard.
  2. Then, peel thick slices of cucumber length-wise and curl them up into tight rolls.
  3. Fill the empty space with your favourite vegetable – I usually dice up some peppers but avocados, carrot and just about anything works.
  4. Drizzle some lemon on top and voila!

Dinner: Pizza

Healthy you said? Oui! The trick here is to swap out the stodgy dough base with quinoa. This one takes a little extra preparation but it’s super worth it and too easy.

  1. Take 195g of quinoa and soak it for 8 hours in the biggest bowl you own using cold water (with a few centimetres of coverage). Drain the quinoa, and blend together until it looks a bit doughier. Add in 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and your favourite herbs (oregano is good).
  2. Preheat your oven to about 190°C and line your pizza pan (or any pan) with some oil. Spread your healthy pizza base and bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye as it cooks quick!
  3. Top with whatever you like – just go easy on the parmesan 😉

Dessert: Sweet potato brownies

Not as weird as it sounds, promise.

  1. First, preheat your oven at 180°C.
  2. Soften 2 large sweet potatoes. A quick way to do this is to cut them into smaller pieces, place in a bowl with some water, and microwave for a few minutes. Next blend them with a handful of dates.
  3. Mix together 100g of rice flour, 4 tbsp of cacao powder, honey/syrup, almonds and a pinch of salt. Then mix together with your sweet potato paste.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes and allow some cooling time before tucking in.

 

This is meant to be a fun and practical approach to stress-busting. But if you think you need something more, check out the amazing services provided by University Health and Counselling.