September is here and so is back-to-school time. This month, we offer ideas, recipes and tips that are as stress-free as possible.
Food fuels our bodies including our brains. Nourishing ourselves with good quality foods will help ensure peak cognitive function. It starts with a fortifying breakfast, then a recharging lunch, followed by delicious supper and balancing snacks to keep us going throughout the day.
Week 1: Let’s start September on the right foot by planning ahead for breakfast.
Trust me, it’s worth getting up a few minutes earlier to avoid having your stomach growl mid-morning during an important meeting. Breakfasts that include foods with a low glycemic index  will produce a slower rise and lower peak in blood glucose concentration after eating. Your first meal of the day should also include carbohydrates such as low-in-sugar breakfast cereals, oatmeal or whole grain toast combined with some protein such as a plain dairy or non-dairy product, eggs and nut butters to keep you satiated for longer.
- Check out Healthy Families BC’s blog post on healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings
- Think outside the breakfast cereal box with Greatist’s 34 healthy breakfasts for busy mornings
- Freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches from Damn Delicious
- Freezer-friendly spinach feta breakfast wraps from Kitchn
- A week’s worth of oatmeal in jars from Kitchn
Week 2: Transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch
With a bit of planning and making extra food when you do have time to cook or prep meals, you can transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch. Try doubling up on recipes so you have enough portions for a couple of lunches. It shouldn’t add any cooking/prep time. Also, consider shopping for food online to save time. Some stores prepare your order for easy pick-up or even deliver!
Be prepared with these recipes, tips, and healthy lunch spots:
- Check out Spud’s 13 hacks for quick lunches
- If you need to buy lunch, no problem! After all, we are trying to reduce stress levels. Check out Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing in UBC Food Services. seven places to grab healthy food on campus.
- UBC Food Services offers these alternate ideas to replace deli meats
- Explore mouth-watering healthy lunch ideas for work from EatingWell
For those extra busy times when you don’t have time to grocery shop, consider online food ordering. Here are some local options:
Week 3: Who’s ready for snacks?
Avoid the mid-morning or mid-day run to the snack bar by incorporating healthy snacks that include a minimum of two food groups. That will help reduce the sugar spike and impending crash from eating highly processed, carbohydrate-based, easy-to-grab snacks.
- 27 healthy and portable high-protein snacks by the Greatist
- Check out Melissa Baker’sHealthy Snacking 101
- Did you know UBC staff and faculty (in Vancouver) get a discount to Naked Snacks?
Week 4: Plan and execute home-cooked meals with less chaos
How many times have you gotten home after work starving and with no idea what to make for dinner?
- Explore meal planners, including Martha Stewart’s Grocery Bag Weekly Meal Planner. You’ll get recipes for dinner (and possibly leftovers for lunch), grocery lists and the confidence to whip up simple meals.
- Did you know UBC staff and faculty (in Vancouver) get a discount to iMeal?
Here are some time-saving tips:
- Wash, chop and store fresh veggies and fruit once or twice a week to minimize cooking and prep time on other days.
- Make grains galore. Cook extra whole grains or other sides and store portioned leftovers in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to a month. That way, you’ll be ready when you need a healthy meal in a hurry.
- Slow saves time: consider using a slow cooker. Check out BBC good food’s vegetarian slow cooker recipes.
Dinner in 30 minutes or less:
Melissa Lafrance’s Tip of the Month
Try one of my favourite recipes from Oh She Glows: Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal. It’s great to make on Sunday evening and have as a quick breakfast each weekday morning. I scoop some in a bowl, add milk, and heat it up in the microwave. It also keeps me satiated until my mid-morning snack!
Become a UBC Health Contact
Each week in September, we will be sharing tips, tricks and information to support environmental health. To receive weekly reminders or for more information on how you can promote health and wellbeing at UBC, sign up to be a UBC Health Contact.