Healthy Eating Ideas for University/College Students

Tips for Healthy Eating

  • Always eat breakfast! Breakfast provides fuel for your body and skipping breakfast is said to detract from scholastic achievement. If time is tight, grab a piece of fruit, a whole wheat bagel or even a glass of juice before you head out the door.
  • Eat three meals a day! Eating three meals a day plus healthy snacks will give you energy and keep your metabolism active.
  • Balance your meals! Try to ensure that you get food from at least three different food groups , and be sure to eat combinations of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and healthy fats!
  • Make room for dairy in your diet. Foods that are rich in calcium help keep you and your bones strong!
  • Drink lots of water! Proper hydration is important for healthy skin and organs and keeps you feeling full -- helping you to avoid unnecessary snacking.
  • Choose appropriate portion sizes! If you are staying in residence and have a meal plan, it’s often easy to over-eat, because the food is readily available. Fill your plate using moderation, and avoid processed food choices.
  • Include high fibre foods in each meal. Fibre fills you up without adding extra calories or fat.
  • Avoid breaded items such as chicken nuggets or patties.
  • Limit foods with cheese sauces, cream sauces, gravies and dressings.
  • If you must eat fast foods, choose wisely. Choose half the cheese on a pizza, limit high fat offerings like fried foods, and watch out for creamy sauces and dressings.
  • Keep active: walk or bike to class; join an intramural sports team; join a fitness program; check out your school’s gym!
Healthy Alternatives
Healthy Snacks to Keep on Hand
Instead of:
Try this:
Granola bars Tuna Fish
Fried foods Grilled or baked foods Nuts Trail Mix
White, processed grain Whole grains Soup Yogurt
Whole milk Low Fat Milk Pudding Low Fat Milk
French fries Baked potatoes or veggies Fruit Cups Pre-cut Veggie Sticks
Pop or sweetened drinks Sparkling or flat water Dried Fruit Low Fat Cheese
Sweet candies or desserts Fresh or dried fruits, nuts Unsweetened Cereal Pretzels
    Popcorn Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips
    Protein bars Peanut Butter
    Whole wheat crackers  

Try these fast & Healthy Recipes

Fresh Fruit Dip

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup honey
½ - 1 tsp almond flavouring (to taste).

Mix all ingredients together.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cut up a selection of your favourite fruits into bit size pieces.  Thread onto skewers and serve with this wonderful fruit dip. 

Suggestions for Popcorn Toppings

  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Herb toppings – mix oregano, basil & parsley with melted butter
  • Salt & vinegar – lightly spray popcorn with vinegar (ideally using a spray bottle); sprinkle with salt
  • Lemon pepper
  • Hot & Buttery – mix Tabasco sauce, to taste, into melted butter and pour over popcorn
  • Garlicky Popcorn – sauté garlic in butter and pour over popcorn
  • A Little Bit of Mexican – sprinkle popcorn with taco seasoning mix

Delightfully Delicious Granola

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
  • ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

Blend all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Gently heat the molasses, honey and oil in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Add vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients and toss to blend all ingredients together. 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or grease well.  Spread mixture onto cookie sheet and bake at 250F for 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
When finished baking, remove from oven, let cool, and store in an airtight container. 
Optional:  add your favourite dried fruit or shredded coconut.

Easy Cheese Toast

Great for a quick breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late-night study stack.

  • One slice whole grain bread
  • Your favourite low-fat cheese (cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Slice cheese and arrange on top of bread.  Broil in the oven for about 4 minutes, being sure to check often, since it’s easy to burn.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.

Quick & Easy Nachos

Great as a quick snack or as a main course.

  • Ground beef
  • Whole wheat tortilla chips
  • Low-fat cheddar cheese

Any combination of the following ingredients:

  • Black beans
  • Salsa
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Black or green olives

Brown ground beef in a fry pan or cook in the microwave.  Drain off fat. 
Spread tortilla chips in an ovenproof dish or cookie sheet.  Spread cooked meat over chips, then top with your optional ingredients.  Cover with grated cheese.  Bake in oven at 350° for approximately 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.   Serve with sour cream, hot sauce and guacamole, as desired.


Berry Delicious Smoothie

Great for a quick and healthy breakfast, or for a energy boosting study snack!

6 ounces skim or soy milk
½ cup light strawberry, vanilla or lemon yogure
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries (no sugar added) – or any mixture of your favourite berries
1 small ripe banana
3-4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.  If desired, additional ice cubes can be added for a thicker consistency.


Rotisserie Chicken Salad

A quick and healthy meal that you can pull together in just minutes.

  • Your favourite selection of mixed salad greens or spinach (many comes in bags, pre-washed and ready to use).
  • Cooked rotisserie chicken (always great to have on hand in the refrigerator – can use for salads, sandwiches, or in casseroles).
  • Your favourite vinaigrette salad dressing (recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette below)
  • Place salad fixings in bowl, top with chicken and toss with the dressing.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Honey, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste