For college and university students eating healthy isn’t always easy. There becomes the issues of budget, convenience, and of course time management. But getting help doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Samantha Gianotti is Registered Dietitian at Western University, and she helps students who may not know what they should be eating, when they should be eating, and how they can eat off of a little amount of money.
Many new students fear what is called the “Freshman 15”, which is where first years tend to gain about 15 pounds throughout the school year due to stress, eating lots of pizza and pasta, and maybe not having time to hit the gym.
“Planning is one of the biggest things,” Gianotti says when asked about tips, “so when we’re going grocery shopping as a student, sit down, take a few minutes to make a list, to think about what your schedule looks like, when can you cook, when can you put aside some time to maybe meal prep and make some healthy things.”
Gianotti adds that making time to go to the gym and staying active will make you feel better.
For those on a budget, students tend to eat out, or order in, which may seem like an easy option, but it’s not a healthy option. But getting good food at the store doesn’t have to be something a student should dread.
“I recommend a lot of inexpensive protein sources.” Gianotti explains.”Things like canned beans, and eggs, and plant-based proteins. Also think about waste, so there’s nothing wrong with frozen vegetables or frozen fruit.”
Gianotti adds that majority of the time, eating out ends up costing more than purchasing groceries would. She says that she understands sometimes you’re in a rush, but mentioned that there are restaurants or food chains you can visit that will give you healthier options.
Sometimes eating those pizzas, ramen noodles, and mac and cheese in moderation are okay, but eating them every day is not a healthy option.
Stress is a huge factor for students, regardless of what year you are in. Often times, students skip meals to study, or sleep. Another common issue is students stress themselves out so heavily that they feel sick, or feel as though they do not want to eat. But food, and your health, comes first.
“Pay attention to your habits, and to your emotions. You never want to be skipping meals because if you’re studying, or if you’re needing to complete an assignment, your body and your brain really needs that proper nutrition to be able to function.”
Gianotti suggests for students to take study breaks with friends, or roommates, to get the fuel they need to continue working.