Student nutrition: planning and vegetables

Lack of planning, money, and knowledge about food pose difficulties for students. Here are some ideas for eating more vegetables, simply and without breaking the bank.

Leaving the family nest and flying on our own is both exciting and demanding for us students. The major change is suddenly finding ourselves responsible for our food: deciding on menus, doing the grocery shopping, and preparing meals. Without mom to cook for us, we have to make do. This reality, I knew it and I still live it. Over the years, I have been able to organize myself in order to succeed in my studies and eat well. We don’t all take nutrition courses, but we all eat. It is unavoidable, food occupies a place in everyone’s life. The key to success in combining studies and healthy eating is to be organized and to know some basic notions to eat well at a lower cost.

Question of price or education?
“Students eat peanut butter and Kraft Dinner®.” This reputation is not entirely false. With a limited budget, we look at the relatively inexpensive choices first. Let’s face it, some of our pantries have little variety of foods. Is it a question of price or knowledge? The good news is that eating well is easier than you think.

What is eating well?
At each meal, you only need to find three or four food groups: fruits and vegetables, preferably whole-grain cereal products, milk or alternatives, and meat or alternatives. Make sure you have a good dose of protein at meals, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, tofu, legumes, and the famous peanut butter! And no, neither beer nor a banana is definitely worth a steak! It’s time to put some vegetables in the vegetable drawer. So, put some color on your plates by adding, among other things, fruits and vegetables. This is more attractive to the eye, more appetizing and generally indicates a good vitamin content, with the exception of the course of Froot Loops® (which you can keep in seasoning…) and fruit roll-ups! Vary the foods to benefit from a range of nutrients. In addition, take reasonable portions respecting your appetite.

Finally, take pleasure in cooking meals and eating them elsewhere than in front of the computer. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Now I eat at the table with my roommate. As a result, I am more productive when I return to my work. And I know more about my roommate: she is a vegetarian! Meal planning In a
hurry to study and get work done? Preparing food can seem like a heavy task and a waste of time. But, I quickly realized that it is less so when you plan. Here are some tips:

1. Menu Plan
Think of meal ideas and plan the menu for a few days. If you live with a roommate, share the preparation. Do not hesitate to draw inspiration from recipe books, magazines,

2. Shopping
list Make a list of necessary foods. It allows you to reduce the number of visits to the grocery store and to better predict costs.

3. At the grocery store
Go there after eating and buy only the foods on your list. This avoids food waste, over-purchasing (eg ending up with two jars of mayonnaise in the fridge), and surprises when paying. Another advantage is that it reduces the time spent at the grocery store.

4. Meal preparation
Display the menu in the kitchen area or discuss it the night before with your roommate. Thus, the first person arriving at the apartment can start supper. This is the way I have favored for three years. What a pleasure to have a good meal waiting for us! We each do it in turn. Take advantage of this step to prepare lunch for the next day. Double the recipe or, while the meal is cooking, cut vegetables and prepare a green salad, pasta, beans, or a sandwich.

5. Eat at the table
Taking the time to eat in good company without performing other tasks is pleasant and essential. This allows you to stop for a few minutes, to become aware of your hunger and satiety signals, therefore to better respect your needs. This break will allow you to replenish your energy.

Budget planning
When you are a student, you want to eat healthily as long as the prices are reasonable. Here are my tips:

1. The flyer
Read the flyers of several supermarkets to find out about the best specials of the week and to compare the prices. So many flyers, that’s a lot of paper spent according to your activist roommate? So, manage to consult them in secret. Take advantage of the discount coupons in the flyer or those in the grocery store.

2. Cook for two and for two
This way you will save time and money. If you cook meals together, you will avoid food waste and increase variety. For example, the broccoli stalk will be consumed more quickly and you could enhance your plates with different vegetables. In addition, buying regular sizes is more economical than buying in individual portions. If your budget allows, stock up on special foods: broths, canned tomatoes, frozen fruits, vegetables, etc.

3. Food choices
In the panoply of inexpensive foods with good nutritional values, we find seasonal fruits and vegetables, frozen vegetables, whole grain products (no more expensive than their refined equivalent), low-fat milk, legumes, tofu, eggs, untrimmed or unseasoned meat, poultry and fish, light tuna, salmon and canned sardines.

The moral of the story
Living in an apartment makes it possible to meet several challenges for both a student and a person in their first years of renting. Whatever your status, you often encounter the same difficulties. But although you learn to be responsible for your diet, nothing prevents you from accepting – when the opportunity arises – mom’s homemade dishes or dad’s famous spaghetti sauce!