Eating well as a student in residence

There's no doubt about it: Eating a healthy diet has with many benefits. Read on for ideas on how to eat healthfully while living in residence.

People filling their plates at a salad bar in the Dining Hall of the Grey Nun's residence

What does a healthy diet look like?

Canada's Food Guide cover

Canada's Food Guide presents an evidence-based, general guide to healthy eating. You can pick up a copy of the Food Guide in the Health Services waiting rooms or you can view, order or download a copy online.

The recommendations from the Food Guide, nutrition experts and research can be summarized in a few points:

Eating well in the cafeteria

In the cafeteria, choose foods and meals that include lots of plants (e.g.,vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds) and are not fried nor contain added fats. Examples include:

  • Fajita
  • Salad (with dressing on the side)
  • Veggie burger/sandwich/wrap with lots of veggies on whole grain bread
  • Vegetable stir fry

Other healthy choices to complement your meal include:

  • Fat-free (skim) or 1% milk
  • Side order of vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Whole grain bread
  • Low-fat yogurt

Eating well in your room

There are several advantages to keeping a selection of foods in your room:

  • You can choose the healthy foods you want
  • It is available to you anytime — day or night
  • It's less expensive
  • With access to a microwave, toaster, fridge and kettle, the possibilities are endless

Here are foods you can keep on hand:

In the fridge:

  • Lettuce, spinach or other greens
  • Veggies (bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.)
  • Non-hydrogenated margarine
  • Fat-free/low-fat salad dressing
  • Fat-free/low-fat mayonnaise
  • Berries
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Cooked chicken
  • Unsweetened apple sauce
  • Hummus, salsa or other pre-made dips

In the “pantry” (shelf or drawer):

  • Jam
  • Fruit (apple, pear, orange, etc.)
  • Canned baked beans
  • Canned salmon or tuna
  • Whole grain cereal (Bran Flakes, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, etc.)
  • Salsa
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, etc.)
  • Low-sodium canned soup
  • Whole grain bread, pita, English muffins or tortillas
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Crackers (low-fat, high-fiber, whole grain)
  • Soy nuts
  • Peanut or other nut butters
  • Granola bars (whole grain, low-fat, low-sugar)
  • Canned beans, chickpeas, etc.
  • Salt, pepper and any of your favorite spices
  • Olive oil and vinegar

Handy tools for preparing food in your room

Some grocery store foods come ready to eat, such as apples. However, other foods need to be prepared, which requires kitchen tools. Most of the following can be purchased for a reasonable price at the dollar store or at a second-hand store.

Here are some useful items you should own:

  • Cutting board
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Sharp knife
  • Large bowls for preparation (glass bowls can be used in the microwave)
  • Knives, spoons, forks
  • Can opener
  • Plates, bowls
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Tea towel
  • Food storage containers
  • Washing cloths (e.g. J-cloth)
  • Grater
  • Plastic wrap, waxed paper, paper towels, aluminum foil
  • A colander (strainer or drainer)

Snack ideas

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fruit salad: Chop fruit and top with fat-free yogurt, raisins, nuts, seeds, granola, a bit of honey and maybe a dash of cinnamon. Be creative.
  • Chopped vegetables and dip. Use low-fat salad dressing for an easy dip or make dip using fat-free sour cream and your favorite spices (e.g., garlic, herbs, dill). For some zing, add a dash of hot sauce.
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Cereal with skim milk. Whole grain cereals include Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes and Cheerios. Check the food label for “whole grain ...” as the first ingredient.
  • Nuts, seeds, dried fruit or trail mix (a serving is one handful)
  • Whole-grain toast with jam, peanut butter or avocado slices
  • Low-fat popcorn
  • Whole-grain low-fat crackers, with peanut butter, jam or cheese
  • Sugar-free Jell-O
  • A hard-boiled egg

Meal ideas

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