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Eating healthy at university

There’s more to student life than simply going to class. Whether you live in residence or off-campus, you’re likely trying to manage schoolwork with laundry and still make healthy food choices.

Don’t stress. Laurier’s registered dietician Caroline Valeriote has some helpful hints to make eating while at university easy, healthy and satisfying.

Ask Questions

Stop by the Waterloo campus Student Wellness Centre on Nov. 1 from noon - 2 p.m. to ask Caroline your food and nutrition questions. The Nutrition 411 drop-in session is just one of many activities planned for Nutrition Week, which runs Oct. 30 through Nov. 3 to promote the importance of proper nutrition.

Use the Rule of Thirds

Valeriote says you can use the rule of thirds when adding food to your plates. One third of the plate is for vegetables, while the other two thirds are for lean protein and carbohydrates.

“Proteins and carbohydrates should always go together, and adding vegetables to your plate increases your fibre intake to keep you feeling satisfied longer,” says Valeriote

The rule can be used when you’re filling your cart at the grocery store, too.

Get Some Sleep (Seriously)

Getting enough sleep contributes to academic success and your overall health. Without enough rest, you may find yourself prone to cravings or relying on caffeinated beverages and energy drinks to get you through the day.

Learn more about how your sleep and mood can influence your food choices at Hangry: Food and Your Mood, a #RidetheWave wellness workshop. The workshop will take place Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m. in the Student Health and Development Centre on the Waterloo campus.

Exercise Portion Control

“We need to rethink what a normal portion size is,” says Valeriote, who encourages an ‘all you care to eat’ approach when faced with an all-you-can-eat situation.

The Fresh Food Company, Laurier’s food service provider, offers smaller portion sizes to support the all you care to enjoy approach to eating. Students living in residences are able to take a piece of fruit or baked good back to their rooms in case they get hungry later.

Cutback on Calorie Culprits

Valeriote says to rethink your smoothies.

“The blending process robs your body of the opportunity to digest the smoothie’s ingredients, which can contribute to feeling hungry sooner than if you had consumed those ingredients on their own.”

Store-bought smoothies often come in a larger portion size than is necessary and contain extra calories. Valeriote suggests having a ‘deconstructed’ smoothie instead: sprinkle some low-fat granola over a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit.

Valeriote also warns against over-indulging on large specialty coffees. Whipped cream, syrups and sprinkles aren’t needed on a daily basis (and can become expensive if purchased regularly).

Book a Personal Appointment

Maintaining a healthy diet can be tricky at times (especially if you’re away from home for the first time) but you don’t have to go it alone.

There is no cost to book an appointment with Valeriote. She can work with you on things like meal planning, allergies and dietary restrictions, weight change and sports nutrition, after you get a referral from a doctor, nurse or counsellor in the Student Wellness Centre.