As an international student, or any other student for that matter, studying in a very different place than your home is a new challenge. There are several challenges that possibly will confront you, one of them is food. No one can survive without food, but food also comes with some problems.
Too much food will make you fatter, yet too few will make you skinnier. Of course your parents don’t want to see you in different shape when you come back home, so it is important to take care of your diet. Besides that, your food is closely related with your health and wellbeing. Here you can think of some diseases and conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer.
I know it is hard to ignore fast foods around, but try not to eat them all the time. I know that some fast foods aren’t bad, because although it is fast, it is made of fresh ingredients. What you have to avoid are junk foods, which are sources of fats and disease. I also advise you not to frequently consume instant food, such as instant noodles, because we don’t know exactly what is in it.
Because I have advised you not to eat those kinds of food, now I have to suggest you what to eat. Before that, I am going to tell you what our body needs from our foods. Our body needs carbs, proteins, minerals, fats (yes, we need some of this), and vitamins.
Our body needs energy to move, to do our activities. Usually it is based on calories, 2000kcal for women and 2500kcal for men. There are many foods that contain this, like potato (chips is actually not really good as it contains quite lot of oil. Better to roast or mash it), rice, bread, and pasta. For bread and pasta, whole grain is better without reducing the taste. Remember to eat some of this everyday to fulfill your energy needs every day.
Protein is also important. It helps you to build your muscles, help to regenerate old cells, make you smarter (except if you are not studying at all), and also another energy source. You can get it from chicken, beef, lamb, fish, and also beans. Include one of them in your diet every day. And remember to choose good quality of them, especially meat, choose one that is not so fatty, so you can get healthier effects. You better get fats from fish rather than from meat that contains ‘evil’ fats.
You can get vitamins mainly from fruits and vegetables. Try to include them in your diet. There are many ways to eat them, like include peas in your dinner, eat some salad, carrots with hummus, eat fresh fruit after your meal (banana, apple, orange are really easy to eat), or even just drink juice (less sugar is better, of course). Beside of that, fruits and vegetables are also good sources of minerals and fibre. Minerals from vegetables are useful for our blood cells and bones, and fibre is really useful for your digestive system.
I also give you other advices for your daily diet. Try dark chocolate, digestive biscuits, and low fat yoghurt for your snack time. If you drink alcohol, I remind you to drink responsibly, reduce it if you can. Drink eight glass of water every day, and also one glass of milk would be great. Eat healthy cereals to start your day, like corn flakes, oats, etc. Don’t push yourself too strictly to my advices, remember to treat yourself sometimes (not always!).
And the most important is, who knows what is the best for you is yourself. Eat healthy!
By Haikal B. Anggoro