Student lifestyles notoriously run to spontaneity and excess, rather than health. According to a recent survey at the University of Marburg, only 3% of 1,300 participating students claimed that they live a healthy live-style. A full 62% reported that they cannot live without alcohol and 31% would not want to give up smoking. Caffeine is the fuel of choice, whether consumed as coffee or chocolate. Here are a few strategies for eating well in the grab-and-go universe of student life by choosing energy foods for back to school:
Start with a good breakfast — How to eat a proper breakfast when many classes start early and there are no parents in the dorm! Of course, there are always fast food joints or coffee shops on the corner, but these choices lack individuality, nutrition and coolness. A better choice is a quick bowl of muesli, the German cereal mix. In six German cities, among them Munich and Duesseldorf, students with no time to prepare breakfast can run to a My Muesli shop, where they can mix their own muesli concoction and consume it on the run. Read about more about healthy German breakfast choices.
Pause for a snack — Pausenbrot is the German expression for a sandwich eaten during school breaks. The ideal sandwich contains nutritious carbs, good fats and lots of protein to build brain power and muscles alike. Our recommendation for the morning: Vollkornbrot (whole grain rolls or bread) with Odenwälder Frühstückskäse, a soft cheese originating in the southern region of Hessia, and/or some cold cut meats, such as Black Forest Prosciutto or Schlackwurst, a type of German salami made from pork and beef with a hint of herbs and spices. Start your perfect sandwich by choosing from one of Germany’s many breads.
Graze well — Studentenfutter (literally, “student fodder”) is back in fashion in recent years. Similar to what we call trail mix in the US, in German it’s also called Studentenhaber, Pfaffenfutter or Tutti-Frutti . This snack originated in the 17th century, when it consisted simply of raisins and almonds, both of which were expensive delicacies available primarily to the well heeled. Almonds also had a reputation for alleviating the pain of a hangover after a long night of drinking. Over time, other nuts and dried fruits joined the mix. Today, you will find a selection of Studentenfutter ingredients in most German supermarkets. German students can even compose their own perfect snack mix online. Luckily, North American students have various types of Trail Mix available for equivalent snacking.
Drink well — No, not alcohol, but rather German mineral water, or perhaps unsweetened fruit tee. Germans have long consumed quantities of natural artesian water. Drawn from deep down in the earth, the water is full of essential minerals which contribute to the health of the human body and mind.
Eat organic — Organic foods are very popular in Germany, and Germany is a world leader in organic foods. Students who are really into this subject can obtain a masters degree in Organic Agriculture at the Hohenheim University near Stuttgart..
Put food first — With busy student lives and too, too many distrctions, food is frequently an afterthought, except when the stomach growls and energy levels are precariously low. There’s simply no time for three proper meals. And, let’s face it: snacking and grazing is more fun. Making healthy food choices ensures stable energy to fuel the body and power the mind.