1) Focus on your well-being.
Nutrient-dense foods have many benefits, including boosting energy, protecting against disease, and supporting your overall physical and mental health (Childs, Calder & Miles, 2019).
2) Eat a balanced diet.
Healthy eating includes carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. While focusing on fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains, a balanced diet includes a variety of foods to ensure you get an assortment of vitamins and minerals (Government of Canada, 2021).
3) Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
With about 60% of our body being made up of water, water has many important functions, including carrying nutrients, oxygen, and minerals to the body, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and flushing out waste (Dietitians of Canada, 2014). Research has shown that when we’re parched, we have more difficulty staying focused, so stay hydrated to help get the most out of your study sessions (Wittbrodt & Stafford, 2018).
If possible, keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day to make water an easy choice. Make your water more interesting by adding fresh lemon or lime slices, berries, oranges, cucumber, mint, or ginger.
4) Cook when you can.
If you have the opportunity to cook, try to choose homemade meals over highly processed foods. Creating a meal plan for your week in advance can help you to make sure your meals are made up of nutritious, cost-effective foods.
Some people find it helpful to make larger batches of food for the week ahead to help cut down on cooking time and make eating home cooked meals throughout the week more convenient.
5) Enjoy your food.
Take time to enjoy your meals with others or by yourself. Eat foods that taste good to you and eat them slowly. Try to avoid mindless snacking while doing activities like watching TV.
6) Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Make it easier to reach for fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks by having them accessible and easy to grab if you’re feeling hungry between meals.
7) Limit alcohol.
Alcohol provides little or no nutritional value and is linked with a number of health risks (Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, 2002; Zhang et al., 2014).
Childs, C.E., Calder P.C. & Miles, E.A. (2019). Diet and immune function. Nutrients, 11(8). doi: 10.3390/nu11081933.
Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (2002). Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer–Collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58 515 women with breast cancer and 95 067 women without the disease. British Journal of Cancer, 87(11), 1234-45. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600596.
Dietitians of Canada (2014). Guidelines for Drinking Fluids to Stay Hydrated. Retrieved from https://www.dietitians.ca/.
Government of Canada (2021). Canada’s food guide. Retrieved from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/).
Wittbrodt, M. T. & Stafford, M. (2018). Dehydration impairs cognitive performance: A meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 50(11), 2360-2368. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001682.
Zhang C., Qin Y.Y., Chen, Q., Jiang, H., Chen, X.Z., Xu, C.L., Mao, P.J., He, J., Zhou, Y.H. (2014). Alcohol intake and risk of stroke: A dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Cardiology, 174(3):669-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.04.225.