Students in the kitchen at the time of SARS-CoV-2

Student Life

Students in the kitchen at the time of SARS-CoV-2

19 Nov, 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has brought us to review our eating habits. We think in particular of the students (especially off-site ones) who find themselves reorganizing the time of meals and combining lessons, study, hobbies and cooking.

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Days off

Immobility is an opportunity to reduce the day’s energy intake, favoring the consumption of low-calories foods, as are all fresh vegetables, and fruit.

The forced stop can also be a wonderful opportunity to return to the home kitchen and get back into the habit of preparing food, starting with fresh and seasonal ingredients.

To be limited throughout the year, and even more so during this period, are refined industrial foods, with a high energy density, as well as excess animal proteins.

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Foods that strenghten our immune defenses

Mother Nature, generous and wise, offers us all the raw materials useful to best fight winter diseases. Two things above all:

  1. abundance of fiber, therefore whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit, fibers that nourish our friendly intestinal bacteria, the most precious allies to keep the immune system better trained;
  2. abundance of vitamins, minerals and, above all, antioxidant polyphenols, so as to reinforce the integrity of the mucous membranes which, in this season, are our first defensive bulwark.

So let’s abound in vegetables and fruit of every color and let’s get used to enjoying the concentrated antioxidant charge of aromatic herbs and spices.

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How to organize our days

Let’s try to sit at the table at regular times, having dinner not too late, and having meals in a quiet environment, away from the distraction of television or cell phones.

Three meals a day are indicated (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and, if we wish, an afternoon snack based on fresh fruit. It is important to have dinner early and allow at least 2 hours to pass between dinner and bedtime. A good sleep is also an important ally of our immune defenses.

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Ideal menus for a student

At breakfast

  • Let’s not miss a nice cup of green tea, rich in powerful antioxidant polyphenols of the catechin family and ally of a careful and concentrated brain.

  • Let’s immediately help our friendly intestinal bacteria with half a cup (125 ml) of fermented milk (yogurt or, better, kefir), obviously without sugar; if we really want to feel a bit of a sweet taste, put some fresh fruit in pieces in the yogurt.

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  • Give the body and brain the right energy charge with a slice of wholemeal bread, a veil of sugar-free almond cream and a veil of jam (excellent the blueberry jam or other berries, all rich in antioxidant anthocyanins).

  • Speaking of almonds, in the morning, but also for a snack, a handful (15 grams) of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios) or oil seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame) is also fine.

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For lunch and dinner

  • Let’s start with a rich appetizer of seasonal vegetables, eg a cream of broccoli, a plate of sautéed artichokes and a mixed salad.

  • Let us load ourselves with low glycemic impact carbohydrates, therefore of the integral type, and with the precious fibers of legumes. A few examples? All those of the long-lived and healthy Mediterranean tradition: pasta and beans, spelt and lentils, rice and peas, polenta and mushrooms, and any other combination of whole grains and vegetable proteins.

Have a good study and take care of yourself!

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Written by

Stefano Erzegovesi
Stefano Erzegovesi

A psychiatrist and nutritionist, he lives and works in Milan. He is director of the Center for Eating Disorders of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and deals with scientific dissemination in the field of healthy eating; healthy for the body, for the mind and for the environment in which we live. He loves to read about everything, aimlessly ride a motorcycle and stay in the kitchen with his children to make vegetables appetizing. His dream, which is gradually coming true, is to take care of people in a large kitchen; because, by eating well, we can prevent a good part of the chronic diseases of our time and, while we are at it, live together with others in a more peaceful way.

Visit the author's page

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