Food & nutrition

Eating well can be easy, enjoyable, and cost-effective. It will give you the energy to reach your goals with greater focus and ease.

Healthy eating habits

Eat well to maintain energy

Blood sugar levels rise immediately after eating a meal and then dip a short time later, reducing your energy and triggering hunger. This dip in blood sugar levels after a meal is inevitable, but the duration and intensity of the dip will change depending on the meal and the amount of fat, protein, or fibre in the food consumed.

To maintain consistent energy levels:

  • Eat a breakfast high in protein and fibre within two hours of waking up to jump start your metabolism.

  • Spread out your protein intake and include healthy fats and fibre in meals.

  • Eat a snack or small meal that includes protein, veggies or fruit, and a complex carbohydrate every three-to-four hours while awake.

  • Avoid eating meals with high amounts of fat and/or protein (e.g., a double-cheeseburger with fries and mayonnaise). These meals can make you feel sluggish as a result of blood rushing to your digestive organs to deal with the large amount of food and fat. Meals with high levels of fat and protein can also dramatically slow the release of carbohydrates (needed for energy) to your blood.

  • Avoid eating within two hours of sleeping to enhance your sleep and avoid gastrointestinal problems.

Be a mindful eater

Mindful eating means eating with more thought and attention. With mindful eating, you’ll enjoy your food more and you’ll likely feel more satisfied after you’re done eating. Mindful eating can also help calm your mind.

To eat mindfully:

  • Eat slowly
  • Notice the flavours of the food you are eating
  • Reflect on the fact that you are nourishing your body
  • Step away from your computer
  • Turn off the TV
  • Take a break from working or studying

When to consider adjusting your diet

You may want to make adjustments to your diet if you consistently experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling tired
  • Low energy
  • Still feeling hungry shortly after meals
  • Difficulty achieving or maintaining your healthy weight. Health Canada has more information about healthy weight guidelines.

Eating disorders

Benefits of eating well

Eating well can be good for your body and mind. Benefits of a healthy, balanced diet include:

  • Feeling more energized
  • Consistent energy levels throughout the day
  • Improved ability to focus on tasks like studying and writing
  • Increased ability to maintain a healthy weight that’s right for you1
  • Stronger bones and muscles1
  • Improved immune system
  • Feeling full longer and increased value for money spent on healthier, nutritious food options.

Maintaining Healthy Habits (2007), Canada’s Food Guide

What can I do for myself right now?

Healthier food on campus

There are many great places to get healthy food on the go. Try replacing an unhealthier fast food option with one or more of the suggestions below:

The Delly in The Nest

The Delly has one-cup skim milk cartons, cheese strings, well-portioned whole grain salads, and fresh fruit at affordable prices.

Ike's Cafe in Irving K Barber Learning Centre

Try a hot meal with a side salad.

Residence dining halls

The residence dining halls have salad and fruit bars, which can make for a convenient pit stop if you're heading out the door to class and need a quick and healthy snack or meal.

Cafés on campus

Instead of having a regular coffee, which provides little nutrition, go for a 12 ounce non-fat latte. The latte provides one Canada's Food Guide servings of cow or soy milk. Add a few almonds or half a wheat bagel on the side to round out the snack and help you maintain your energy levels.

Healthy eating on a limited budget

Buying and preparing healthy foods

Eating well can be easy, enjoyable, cost-effective, and will give you the energy you need to do well academically.

  • Plan ahead
  • Planning ahead is the first step to eating well on a budget.
  • Plan to purchase only what you can use or store to prevent waste.
  • Try to plan meals that use similar ingredients to avoid wasting food and money.
  • Use cookbooks that focus on healthier eating to help plan your meals ahead of time.
  • Go online for free recipes and meal planning. Sites like allrecipes.com and epicurious.com are two large, free cooking websites that allow you to filter recipes by food type, recipe type (e.g., healthy recipes), and ingredients.
  • Shop smart
  • Making tasty, nutritious, and economical meals starts at the grocery store.
  • Look for seasonal and local varieties to save money. The BC Association of Farmer’s Markets offers a guide to what’s in season throughout the year.
  • Check out the bulk foods section in the grocery store. Dried beans, flour, rice, pasta, spices, and nuts in this section are usually far less expensive than pre-packaged alternatives.
  • Shop the outer walls of the grocery store and avoid the inner aisles where convenience and processed foods are displayed.
  • Look for generic or store brands of your favourite foods. These products are typically just as good but less expensive.
  • Compare similar products and the price per gram for the greatest value.
  • Make mealtime a social experience
  • Sharing meals with your roommates, friends, and family is a great way to spend time together. It can also save you time and money.
  • Make a cooking and cleaning schedule with your roommates.
  • Split up the work. When you cook, have your roommates or friends clean up afterwards, and vice versa.
  • You can also try splitting up certain meals, so that each person is responsible for one or two parts of the meal. Have one person make a salad or side dish and another make a main, dessert, etc.

What other students are saying about food and nutrition