While transitioning to university life, students have a tendency to make sacrifices to their health in order to balance the different aspects of being a student. With less sleep, higher stress levels and greater alcohol consumption, students’ overall wellness can begin to slip.
Eating nutritious food is one of the most important routines to follow in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only is eating properly great for your body, it has significant, positive effects on your well-being and brain function. Nutrition is important for students, who need to maintain a state of alertness and optimal cognitive functioning.
With so many diets constantly endorsed by various promoters, it can be easy to lose sight of what is truly “healthy eating.”
The National Association of Registered Dietitians and Health Professionals of Canada has consistently supported Canada’s Food Guide. By following the recommended guidelines implemented by this system, you will receive the most important vitamins and nutrients as well as the appropriate number of servings of each food group.
Is it possible to get this type of nutrition as an on-campus student with a meal plan at Jennings? After surveying five first-year students, the general consensus was that the menu provided at Jenning’s dining hall can be a “hit or miss.”
While it poses a challenge at times, there are solutions to finding more nutritious options that the prepared meals. The salad and sandwich bars offer healthy alternatives. Veggies and protein are always available during lunch and supper at these locations. Make your own snacks of hummus and veggie sticks, or add beans, chickpeas and feta cheese to salads for a more filling meal.
The bread station, for sandwiches or toast, is a great way to get your daily portion of whole grains. Yogurt is also served daily, which provides an excellent source of calcium and can serve as a delicious alternative to ice cream for dessert.
In addition, many of the ingredients used at Jennings are locally sourced. Supporting regional food products by purchasing items from markets, farms or local businesses is optimal. Products from these venues are fresher and more natural, without the additional chemicals and preservatives that often accompany shipped items.
As for improvements to meal hall services, several students stated that the nutritional quality could be improved significantly if the fresh fruit bar were available more than twice per week.
Temptations abound in meal hall, from chicken burgers and french fries to Tish Delish and soft serve. While these treats are fine in moderation, eating empty calories can be a trap that many students fall into when so much is already on their plate.
Overall, healthy eating on campus is all about individual choices. Creativity is the best way to overcome the challenge of eating well at meal hall.