How to eat for academic success, from UBC's dietitian
UBC’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services dietitian, Melissa Baker, is making it her mission to ensure that we, as students, have many healthy eating options around campus.
All we have to do? Choose wisely and chow down.
Healthy eating 101
Let’s take a step back though. What is healthy eating, and why should we do it?
At its core, healthy eating is picking nutritious food options to fuel your body and mind.
Melissa says choices like having vegetables with hummus as your mid-day snack, choosing water over sugary drinks, and ensuring you eat a varied diet (and don’t live off pizza every night) are easy ways to help give your body the energy it needs to succeed.
DIY instant noodles - say what?
I asked Melissa, and the cliché is true - we as UBC students consume a lot of instant noodles! You probably know how bad those cups of artificial ingredients and chemicals really are, but they’re just so convenient.
Thankfully, you now have some better options. UBC Dietetics student, Ilan Wright, has created a super simple do-it-yourself instant noodles recipe. Goodbye chemicals, hello nutrients! (Can we get this guy a prize!?)
Other easy eating tips
Melissa also shared more cheap and easy ideas to help you start your healthy eating journey:
Drink the tap water around campus. It is free, delicious, and the best hydration for your body. Stay away from those sugary drinks, like iced teas/lemonade, sports drinks, energy drinks, and pop. Even Vitamin Water is no health beverage.
Pack easy healthy snacks to get you through the day. Combat that 4:00 pm hunger by snacking on some fruit and nuts, hummus and vegetables, or even popcorn (I hear Harvest Market has some great selections).
Meal prep on the cheap with easy recipes (ask friends to share their favourites!). Cooking for yourself doesn’t need to be expensive.
Select well balanced meals from Food Services at UBC. They’re phenomenal at providing nutritious foods for students like you and me. Melissa and the team (including Executive Chef and Culinary Director, David Speight) ensure there are lots of healthy options to choose from, that taste amazing too. It's no suprise that the dining halls are the best option for healthy, affordable lunches. I hear Gather at Vanier has an awesome poke bowl station!
Learn to grocery shop. Take a free tour of Save-On with a UBC nutrition student. Plus, receive 10% off purchases.
I understand - following these tips is easier when you don’t have a lot on your plate. But when midterm or exam season strikes, many of us tend to put our plans for healthy eating on hold. This is kind of backwards. In order to feel good and do well at school, it’s important to prioritize healthy eating. Here’s how:
Take a study break and meal prep on Sunday afternoons. Bring some friends round and cook well balanced meals together.
Don’t stress eat
I know a donut feels like a great reward for hours of studying, but there are many better ways to cope with stress and fuel your brain. Take a walk with friends, explore the UBC Art District, or reach out to peer counselling. These options won’t drain your energy or your bank account as much as that donut.
Prioritize eating well
If you’re well-nourished, you can focus better. Your brain is more active and you’ll have higher energy levels to study. This is all we want as students and it’s so easy to achieve - start building those healthy habits now!
Remember establishing good habits starts with you, but you don’t have to do it alone. UBC has many resources to help you create and maintain a healthy diet that works for you. You can also read Melissa’s tips on the Food Services website to learn more about healthy eating on a budget!