Food and nutrition

Overview

There are many benefits to healthy eating. Research has shown that:

  • Food can bring people together, creating a sense of community that can help you feel supported.
  • What you eat can affect your mood and how you do in school.
  • Food and nutrition can play a powerful role in your physical and mental health.

Healthy eating is more than just about food. It’s also about where, when, why, and how you eat.

Eating well on a budget

You don’t have to rely on convenience foods such as instant noodles when money is tight. Explore money-saving strategies to help your food budget last.

  • Bring your own lunch
    Bringing meals from home is one of the best ways to stretch your food dollars. There are many recipes that are quick, easy and nutritious, such as options from Budget Bytes. To heat up your food, check out places on campus with microwaves.

  • Know your options on campus
    UBC Food Services has many tools to help you eat well and navigate nutritious options on campus. If you're looking for something quick and nutritious, find six healthy meal or snack options available from residence markets. 

  • Keep healthy snacks handy
    Whether it’s a piece of fruit, some trail mix, or veggies and dip, having a few healthy snack choices in your bag can save you from buying a pricey treat when you get hungry.

  • Check out student-led cafés and community meals
    There are a few student-run cafés or community-based food events on campus, which offer nutritious food, with locally-sourced and often vegan options. Visit Agora and Sprouts when they reopen and check out the Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society (LFSUS) Wednesday Night Dinners and Sprouts' Commununity Eats events restart.

  • Browse the UBC Nutrition blog
    Get tips on healthy eating and nutritious food options at UBC, through helpful blog posts written by the on-campus dietitian and UBC students.

  • Get help for food budget needs
    If you don’t have enough money for food, your Enrolment Services Advisor can help you with budgeting, access to emergency funds, or other types of financial assistance. 

  • Learn more about food security on campus
    For more information and resources on food security as well as emergency food access, check out the Food Security Initiative

Learning to cook

Cooking on your own for the first time can be intimidating. There are many ways to get started.

  • Go on a free virtual grocery store tour
    Join UBC nutrition students as they teach you how to navigate a grocery store, read labels, and choose foods that fit into your budget.

  • Improve your cooking skills
    There are many on-campus cooking workshops available, for different skill levels. Try a cooking workshop on campus at the UBC FarmSprouts, or Roots on the Roof.

  • Try new recipes
    Get inspired and learn new cooking methods or find recipes from Cookinspiration, Epicurious, or your favourite food blogs.

  • Practice, practice, practice
    It may not always turn out great the first few times, but you’ll get faster and better at cooking for yourself with practice. Read 5 tips from a fellow student on cooking as a beginner

Time-saving tips

Planning ahead can help save you time during the week for other things.

Grocery shopping hacks

  • Make a list to stay on track
    Before going grocery shopping, write down the items you need and group them based on where you find the items in the store (e.g., bakery, produce).

  • Stock up on kitchen staples
    Find which ingredients are staples in your diet and keep them available for when you need to quickly put a meal together. See a list of suggested ingredients.

  • Try online grocery shopping 
    If you don’t have time, order ahead and pick up your groceries in stores. The UBC Save-On-Foods store offers this service for free while other grocery stores may charge a small fee. 

  • Use a meal kit delivery service
    Although it’s a little pricey, you can have pre-portioned ingredients delivered to your door. Simply follow the instructions to cook a delicious meal from the kit.

Meal preparation hacks

  • Meal prep ahead of time
    Wash and chop vegetables and fruit on the weekends. Cook and prepare food like eggs, beans, oatmeal, or quinoa beforehand. Store them in the fridge for later use. Check out 11 meal prep ideas.

  • Do some batch cooking
    Prepare a large batch of food at once so you can separate it into meals for the following week.

  • Cook with a friend
    Have each person take on a different task at the same time to speed up the cooking process.

  • Pack your lunch beforehand
    Set aside time in the evening to organize your meal and snacks for the next day, to avoid the rush in the morning.

If you simply don’t have time to make your own food, visit these healthy places to eat on campus.

Eating and stress

The stress response is your body’s signal to adapt to changes in the environment. Everyone reacts differently to stress, but many people find comfort in food, which may lead to overeating or choosing less nutritious foods.

Mindful eating

Mindful eating can be helpful if your eating behaviours are affected by stress. It involves bringing more awareness to what, when, and how you eat.

With mindful eating, you may find more enjoyment in your food, show more judgement in your food choices, and be more in-tune with your body’s signals for hunger and fullness. Mindful eating can also help calm your mind.

Ways to eat more mindfully

  • Remove any distractions and focus on the food you’re eating (e.g., avoid watching Netflix during dinner)
  • Reflect on and choose to eat foods that taste good to you and are nourishing for your body
  • Take note of whether you’re truly hungry or wanting to eat because of other reasons
  • Notice the sights, smells, flavours, and textures of the food you’re eating
  • Check in throughout the meal to identify when you’re actually full

Consider other ways to manage stress, such as exercising, meditation, or reaching out to family and friends. You can even drop by the Wellness Centre for tips on handling your stress.

Helpful resources

These websites and apps have been carefully chosen by health professionals at UBC. They’re easy and accessible tools you can use at any time to help you learn more about healthy eating.

  • UBC Food Asset Map
    Use this interactive tool to find where you can get a low-cost snack, visit a student-run meal program, grow food, and more.
  • Flipp phone app
    Browse weekly flyers from your favourite stores, save with coupons, compare prices, and create shopping lists.
  • Go Thunderbirds Nutrition
    Find student-friendly recipes and helpful fact sheets on a range of topics related to sport nutrition from the UBC Thunderbirds varsity athletes’ dietitian.

Professional support

If you need more support around food and nutrition, contact a health professional.

UBC Residence Dietitian 
If you are a student who lives in one of the UBC Residences, you can email or book an appointment with the on-campus dietitian to discuss a food allergy, intolerance, nutrition-related medical condition, or other questions.

Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC
For all BC residents, you can call 811 to speak with a dietitian or find services online for general food and nutrition information.