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Diet tips for students

Two Spanish experts talk about food choices for university/college students living on their own

education Updated: Apr 06, 2011 09:18 IST
HT Horizons Correspondent

What happens when pampered youngsters go to college and live in private accommodation in another city? Away from mommy, many of them resort to instant noodles and curries, boiled eggs, and packaged snacks for meals, day in and day out. The effects show in sunken cheeks and jammed bowels. Such students can possibly learn a bit or two from Mediterranean cuisine. Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish embassy’s cultural centre in Delhi, flew down two experts to hold a culinary chemistry workshop, part of a series it is organising in 11 countries. The theme was chosen to mark the International Year of Chemistry.

Dietician and nutritionist Amaia Díaz de Monasterioguren spoke on healthy food choices while international chef and consultant Sergio Pérez showed the audience how to dish out a typical Spanish fare including escalivada, Mancha’s ratatouille, fish in green sauce and a simple dessert.

Both of them talked to HT Horizons about food choices for college/university students living on their own. First, start early in life, when you are a school-goer, said Perez, who voluntarily holds workshops in his daughter’s school. He suggested that schools could invite chefs. “Cooking should be taught in school, like maths etc. If you learn to cook — even if it’s a hardboiled egg — it’ll make you independent.”

According to them, legumes, easy and quick to cook, are the best. Lentils and rice make a “fantastic” combination. “Pulses, lentils and check peas are so good because they come straight from nature,” Monasterioguren, an author, and a specialist in diets for children and the elderly, earlier said in her presentation in Spanish, simultaneously translated into English. Salads, pasta and steamed rice are really easy to prepare.

For protein, turn to eggs — four a week, preferably at dinner time, she said later, through Perez. Eat more fish, Monasteriogu-ren said. Fish is good for the brain, and so are walnuts and hazelnuts.

No using processed and packaged foods (except something like tomato puree), or frozen vegetables and fruits. Eat seasonal veggies and fruits at room temperature, Monasterioguren said. “In Spain, there’s a trend of people going for food available with 200 km of where they live,” Perez added.

Drink eight glasses of water a day. Juices have a direct link with obesity, because they contain mostly sugars, she said. So, swig such fluids only sometimes.