By Anya Dixon, Deputy Food Editor
The Croft Magazine // With the rise of 'the healthy girl era', eating well seems more desirable - and yet seemingly more unachievable - than ever. Anya Dixon stresses the importance of keeping a high-protein diet, and gives a few easy ways to stay healthy on a student budget.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst managing a stressful student life is a tough feat for anyone. With the idea of the ‘healthy girl era’ trending online, mountains of content pushing a perfect, idealistic lifestyle makes eating well seem like an overwhelming and unachievable task. But whether you’re a fitness enthusiast looking for muscle repair and growth, or just a student looking to keep up their energy levels, the importance of good ingredients should never be underestimated. That is why I’ve collected a couple of recipes that are high in protein and nutrients, making the unachievable slightly more achievable!
Recipe 1: Protein hummus bowl
This Turkish-inspired recipe features a great high-protein ingredient, chickpeas. By replacing tahini with Greek yoghurt, the recipe embodies a Mediterranean feel and gives way to a higher protein count. I also replaced the olive oil in the hummus itself with sesame oil for a nutty, sweet taste. Served best with slices of pitta bread (or regular toasted bread) to create a balanced meal with carbohydrates.
- Chickpeas (400g tin)
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Paprika, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp. Plain Greek yoghurt
- 3 Tbsp. Sesame oil
- Olive oil
- 1-2 lemons juiced
- 1 Tbsp. Sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp. Chickpea water
- ½ Aubergine
- ½ Yellow or red pepper
1. Cut the aubergine and pepper into bite-sized pieces. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Cook for 10-15 mins on a medium heat.
2. Drain the canned chickpeas, saving some of the water, and place the remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste.
3. Place in a bowl with toasted bread/pitta on the side. Top with the roasted vegetables and sesame seeds. Optionally, sunflower seeds make a great addition and/or olives on the side.
Protein count: 38g approx.
Recipe 2: Protein-rich power bowl
This recipe is a great excuse to throw together leftover vegetables and ingredients in a bowl and get an easy protein boost. For a vegetarian, tofu is a great source of protein and works well in this dish (although, for a more affordable alternative, chickpeas are also perfect!). For those who eat meat, chicken breast, diced and seasoned to perfection, works really well too.
Whilst this dish can be altered to suit your preferences, the main objective for a power bowl is to get a source of protein, grains, and vegetables.
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- Choice of protein: 200g chicken/tofu or chickpeas
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 100g black beans
- Salt, pepper, paprika and/or parsley to season
- Olive oil
- Choice of carb: ½ cup any rice or 1 sweet/regular potato
- Choice of veg: my recommendation - ½ a diced avocado, ½ a red pepper, and 2-3 radishes
1. Prepare the protein: dice into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season – remember to rub the seasoning into the protein. Then fry on a medium heat, or oven cook for about 10-20 mins on a medium heat, until cooked through.
Crispy chilli chickpeas: If you chose chickpeas as your protein then I highly recommend placing them on a baking tray, drizzling with olive oil or rapeseed oil, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Then cook until crunchy. When fully cooked, drizzle with chilli oil for a flavourful kick!
2. Prepare the carb: if you’re using potato, dice into small cubes then drizzle with olive oil and season. Again, fry or oven cook (or even use an air fryer if you have one!) and cook until nicely browned and crispy on the outside. Because the potato is cut into small cubes, it will cook faster so boiling the potato first is not necessary. If you are cooking rice then cook as per instructions on the packet.
3. Prepare the vegetables: Cut your vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Drain the black beans and place in a bowl, alongside the prepared vegetables. Once your choice of protein and carb are fully cooked, place in the same bowl.
4. Hard-boil one egg – this is best left until last or towards the end since it will cook quite quickly.
Protein count: approx. 50-86g
If there is one thing to take away from this article, it is that you should never underestimate the density of nutrients and the affordability of chickpeas - a can is usually under £1. Other ingredients that get a special mention for nutrition and affordability are eggs, chicken, black beans and spinach! If you can incorporate any of these ingredients into your meals, and remember that having a perfect lifestyle is an unrealistic expectation, then welcome to your healthy era.
| Copy Editor - Isabelle Pethick |
|Feature Image: Lucy Stephenson|