10 Easy Nutrition Tips for Students

Top view selection of nutritious food

How diet can affect your physical and mental health

Why is nutrition important? The benefits of a healthy diet are irrefutable. Balanced, nutritious eating habits improve both your physical and mental health. A healthy diet makes you more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers. For your mental health, healthy eating has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and increase psychological health.

In this blog, we will share with you 10 nutrition tips for healthy eating as a student, including quick-and-easy advice you can implement into your daily routine anytime.

Here are 10 easy, simple nutrition tips for students:

1. Be mindful about your eating habits.

Mindful eating means staying in tune with how hungry or full you are and being aware of what, when, why and how much you eat. Studies show in becoming more mindful of your eating, you can improve your relationship with food by decreasing binge eating, emotional eating and other unhealthy habits.

Examine your food choices, and make healthy eating a conscious decision you will commit to. Remember to not only be mindful of your food but enjoy it too!

2. Drink plenty of water.

A simple but effective nutrition tip is to make water your new favourite drink. Most people don’t drink enough water every day, as the general recommended amount is a whole 13 cups for men and nine cups for women, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

Although coffee, tea and pop drinks have more flair, plain water will always be the healthiest choice for optimal health and nutrition. It may not have caffeine in it, but water does give you a natural energy boost, as staying hydrated keeps you alert and focussed — a definite plus for your studying.

3. Prioritize fruit and vegetables in your diet.

According to unlockfood.ca, it’s recommended that you eat seven to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day for a nutritious diet. Containing essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and more, fruit and vegetables should be an important part of anyone’s diet.

Fruit and veggies come in a variety of forms: frozen, canned, dried, fresh. Make use of different types and be creative in your use of fruits and vegetables, incorporating them not only into salads, smoothies and sides, but also main entrees with nutrient-rich meals like zucchini pasta.

4. Choose whole grain where you can.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends whole-grain foods as the healthier choice over refined grains because they contain more of the fibre, vitamins and minerals of the grain. This means choosing whole-grain pasta, bread, rice and other carbohydrates.

5. Ensure you are eating enough protein.

One essential part of a balanced diet is protein. Found in a variety of plant-based foods and animal-based products, you can fulfill your protein needs through many options, including eggs, tofu, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans and legumes. These foods will fuel your body with the energy you need to learn and work on an everyday basis.

If you’re wondering how much protein you need, it varies based on many factors, such as your exercise level and current health, but the general recommended amount to consume, according to Harvard Health, is about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

6. Choose healthy fats over saturated fats.

When making your healthy eating choices, keep in mind the difference between saturated fats and healthy fats. Found in many processed foods, butter, cheese, red meat and more, medlineplus.gov says that saturated fats encourage weight gain and increased cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Healthy fats, on the other hand, are found in nutrient-rich foods like avocado, fish, nuts and soy products like tofu. These fatty foods are a healthier option over those that contain more saturated fats. If you are unsure of a product’s saturated fats, you can check the nutritional information on it.

7. Limit highly processed foods.

In your diet, Canda’s Food Guide recommends trying to avoid highly processed foods, like sugary drinks, fast food, processed meats, chips and sweets. These products add excessive amounts of sodium, sugar, saturated fats and preservatives to make them taste as good and last as long as possible. However, these additions make for an unhealthier product with less nutrients and benefits to gain from it.

8. Cook as many meals as you can.

If you’re used to eating out at restaurants and buying prepared meals, try to up your intake of home-cooked meals. Buy fresh ingredients from the grocery store and cook up simple but healthy recipes you know all the ingredients of and can control the nutritional value of. This also helps you stay overall more mindful and conscious of the food you put in your body, encouraging you to continue healthy habits.

9. Plan and prep your meals in advance.

Stay organized and on top of your healthy diet with meal planning and prepping. Make time for yourself to prepare easy, healthy meals in advance that you can store in the fridge and grab from to fuel yourself throughout the week.

If you’re in need of inspiration on what to make, look here or elsewhere online for healthy food for students and save any mouthwatering recipes you find.

10. Be aware of food guide recommendations.

When in doubt, you can check in with the food guide recommendations. The nutrition tips in this blog align with the official Canada food guide recommendations, available with more information and resources at food-guide.canada.ca.

Making health-conscious decisions isn’t always the easiest choice to make, but following the above tips may help in improving your overall well-being with a more nutritious diet.

For more health and wellness advice, you can get in touch with a member of the Health, Wellness and Community Services team at hwcs@niagaracollegetoronto.ca.


Health, Wellness and Community Services