Nutrition & Healthy Eating

Kimberly Green, Registered Dietitian

When you’re pressed for time, making healthy meals often falls low on the list of priorities.  But healthy eating can help you keep up your energy, concentration, and motivation to succeed at UTM, as well as keep your body healthy.  Preparing nutritious meals doesn’t have to take long: make a meal plan, use your time efficiently by chopping vegetables ahead of time (for use in several dishes), and by making larger portions and freezing leftovers.  Keep it simple with the quick and easy recipes that we've provided, and keep it safe by following basic principles of safe food handling

The average student gains between 5 and 10 lbs. (2 to 5 kg) during their first year at university.  More time spent doing sedentary activities (studying, time online, playing video games, watching TV), lack of sleep and a decrease in the consumption of healthy foods contribute to weight gain for many students. Poor eating habits can also lead to nutritional deficiencies like anemia, which causes fatigue, irritability and poor concentration. Healthy eating is an important part of feeling good and doing your best at UTM. 
Healthy Eating
What is “healthy eating”?  Canada’s Food Guide outlines a basic pattern of healthy eating, which includes lots of colourful vegetables, fruit, whole grains, calcium-rich dairy foods, and lean meats, poultry, fish and beans.  Most fast foods, and many convenience/processed foods are lacking in these elements, and do not provide the amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need. For more information on healthy eating select from our printable nutrition trending topics factsheets.
Breakfast has earned the title of being “the most important meal of the day” and yet it is the meal most often missed by university students.  Research has demonstrated the benefits of breakfast:  students who eat breakfast tend to have improved scores on memory and problem-solving tests, as well as improved concentration and skill in physical tasks. 
You don’t have to eat breakfast the minute you wake up to get the benefits; but get into the habit of eating as part of starting your day.  Start with a banana or piece of fruit, then work up to a larger meal.   If you find you are not hungry in the morning, make sure you are not eating (or drinking!) too much before bedtime.  It’s better to fuel up during the day when you need the energy than at night when you are sleeping.   
A healthy breakfast includes at least 3 of the 4 Food Groups (Vegetables & Fruit, Grain Products, Milk & Alternatives,  Meat & Alternatives) from Canada’s Food Guide. Be sure to check out some of our favourite student-friendly recipes including some healthy breakfast ideas.