Eating nutritious, healthy meals on a regular basis is an important foundation for your self-care routine. Sometimes eating well can seem like a complicated process or a chore. But it doesn’t have to be. Read the Resources on this page for moreinformation about eating well.

Breakfast Ideas

yogurtAfter a long night’s sleep, your body needs to be fueled up by a nutritious breakfast to help you get through the day ahead. Getting a healthy breakfast in can help you focus better, give you energy, and help you feel less tired as you are getting going in the morning.

Here are five breakfast ideas that are easy and quick to make:

  1. Quick cooking oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and milk or soy milk (can be cooked in the microwave)
  2. Whole wheat English muffin with an egg and cheese or avocado, orange juice
  3. Whole grain bagel with peanut or almond butter and a banana
  4. Greek yogurt, frozen berries and granola or other whole grain cereal
  5. Breakfast smoothie (blend equal parts frozen or fresh fruit, yogurt, and milk with a spoon or two  of ground flaxseed)

Healthy Snacks

Once you’ve given yourself a head start with breakfast, make sure you keep your body and mind well fueled throughout the day with small, healthy snacks between meals. If there will be more than four hours between your meals, make sure you find time for a snack in the middle.

Lots of snacks can fit in your backpack including: 

  • Fresh fruit
  • Veggies and low-fat dip
  • Cheese
  • Light popcorn
  • Frozen or canned fruit
  • Peanut butter and whole grain crackers
  • Low sugar cereals
  • Trail mix with an orange
  • Baby carrots and hummus
  • Sliced apple with almond butter
  • Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
  • Instant oatmeal with milk and raisins
  • Yogurt with berries and granola
  • Whole grain crackers and tuna
  • Banana and peanut butter in whole wheat tortilla
  • Tortilla chips, salsa, and low fat shredded cheese
  • Whole grain cereal bar and a cheese stick

Healthy Eating During Stressful Times

  • Avoid quick, sugary fixes.
    When your energy slumps a common reaction is to grab a quick treat like candies or cookies, but while this quick burst of energy provides some immediate relief it can often be followed by an even worse energy slump. This can lead to a repetitive cycle of quick energy boost followed by a crash, which can leave you feeling even more tired than you were before.
  • Caffeinate in moderation.
    Another common response to a drop in energy levels is to reach for coffee, energy drinks, or other caffeinated beverages. Be sure to watch your caffeine intake because high levels of caffeine can lead to feelings of anxiety and increase your body’s stress response with symptoms like increased heart rate. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink water regularly.
  • Comfort food as a treat, not a norm.
    When we’re stressed we often use food as a reward or a comfort after a long day. But when we’re stressed we’re most likely to choose foods low in nutrients and high in sugar, salt, and fat. If you do choose to splurge on something less than healthy, make sure to balance it out in the rest of the day with balanced, healthy choices. For more information about what makes up a balanced diet, see Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Keep a regular, balanced diet.
    Make sure to keep eating three meals a day and snacking as necessary, even if you are really busy with studying or an assignment deadline. Focus on meals that contain vegetables and fruit, whole grains and protein. Keep healthy foods in the house for meals and snacks to resist the urge to go out for something unhealthy. Always start the day with breakfast and eat a moderate sized meal or snack every three to four hours after. 
  • Find other, healthy ways to boost your energy levels.
    Being active and participating in exercise can actually increase your energy levels and reduce stress. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night will also help you to have more energy and can help to decrease food cravings. For information about ways to get active on campus, see the Athletics website. For information about optimal sleep health, view our Sleeping Well video.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. If these basics seem daunting to you, start by making changes slowly. If your diet is low in vegetables, start by adding one serving each day. If you are used to eating most meals out, learn how to cook some simple foods for yourself. If you don’t have healthy snacks on hand, take a few minutes to make a shopping list and stock up at the beginning of the week.

 Easy Recipes to Make at Home

Terrific tacos

Brown lean ground beef, chicken or turkey in frying pan. Add packaged taco seasoning and cook well. Spoon meat into tortilla or taco shell. Add chopped lettuce, tomato, onion and green/red pepper, shredded cheese and salsa. For vegetarian version, substitute drained, rinsed canned black or pinto beans, rehydrated texturized vegetable protein (TVP) or crumbled firm tofu.

Chicken caesar wrap

Cook chicken breast strips in a little oil in pan until done, or use pre-cooked chicken slices. Place in middle of large tortilla; add chopped romaine lettuce and your choice of veggies or ready-to-serve “salad in a bag.”  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and a little “light” Caesar salad dressing, tuck in ends of tortilla and roll up. 


Breakfast for dinner omelet

Beat 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add a little margarine if desired. Pour in egg mixture - it should start to set immediately. Cook, lifting sides of omelet with a pancake turner to let the uncooked egg flow underneath, until almost set (about 1 minute). Add desired filling on one half of omelet and fold plain side over top. Cook for another minute and invert onto plate. Filling ideas:  mushrooms, onion, green onion, red or green pepper, cooked broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, salsa, diced ham or cheese.omlet

Pronto pasta

Brown lean ground beef, chicken or turkey in a pan with chopped onion, garlic,mushrooms and green pepper. Add a can of pasta sauce and cook on low heat.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and top with sauce. For vegetarian version, add red lentils with an equal amount of water to sauce or try soy ground “meat” or texturized vegetable protein (TVP) from the bulk store.

Tuna or salmon melt

Mix drained canned tuna  or salmon with a spoonful of light mayo. Add chopped celery, onion and a little pickle relish if desired. Spread on a sliced bagel or English muffin half. Top with shredded cheese slice and bake in oven (375°) for 5 – 10 minutes or until cheese melts.tuna melt

Quick quesadillas

Mix some salsa with canned low-fat refried or black beans and spread on one side of a tortilla.  Top with veggies (chopped green and red peppers, tomatoes, green onions, etc.) and shredded cheese. Fold tortilla in half and toast in ungreased frying pan until cheese melts and tortilla is lightly browned (about 2 minutes each side). You could also replace the beans with sliced chicken.

Pita pizzas

Top a whole grain pita with canned pasta sauce, shredded low-fat mozzarella, chopped deli ham or smoked turkey and your choice of veggies. Bake on pan in oven (375°) until cheese melts, 5 - 7 minutes.