Healthy eating as a student can be difficult. Students are probably familiar with the term “Freshman 15,” referring to the significant weight gain often experienced by students in their first year of university. This phenomenon is usually caused by, amongst other things, the convenience of fast food, lack of time needed to cook and lack of cooking skills. However, healthy eating is important for more reasons than weight maintenance. Healthy eating provides a myriad of benefits such as reducing the risk of chronic illnesses, boosting immunity, strengthening bones, improving your mood and more.
Numerous studies have also noted that excessive consumption of junk food can make you feel more tired. A study done by a UCLA professor in 2014 performed an experiment where two groups of rats were put on two different diets, a healthy diet, and a heavily processed (junk food) diet. Over the course of six months, the rats consuming junk food experienced obesity and excessive fatigue. So what can you do about it? Well, here is a list of healthy eating options at UW:
- The Market – Claudette Miller Hall (On-campus)
Convenience: 5/5 (on-campus, accepts WatCard, open until 10:30 p.m.)
Healthiness: 4.5/5 (depends on what you buy, though overall there are excellent options).
Cost: 4/5 (a tad expensive especially for produce, however, if you have a meal plan it makes up for it).
One of the most popular residence eating options is The Market located on the first floor of Claudette Miller Hall (165 University Ave W). The Market is one of the largest dining areas located within residence buildings and boasts a variety of healthy menu items, such as the largest salad & fruit bar on campus, burrito bowls, sandwiches and more. If you are amongst those who cook their own meals, The Market also carries fresh produce and is a great option for those that have a meal plan or looking for a meal close by.
- St. Jerome’s Cafeteria (On-campus)
Convenience: 4.5/5 (on campus and accepts WatCard, however, dinner closes early).
Healthiness: 4.5/5 (all meals are fresh and there are a variety of options to choose from).
Cost: 4.5/5 (Comparatively cheaper than other on-campus residences. Accepts SJ meal plans).
Another on-campus option is the St. Jerome’s cafeteria. The SJ Cafeteria is relatively cheaper than many other food services options located on campus. However, unlike other restaurants in the area, St. Jeromes finishes dinner at 7 p.m., so if late-night dinners are your thing, this might not be a good option for you.
- Try a salad at Freshii. (Off-campus)
Convenience: 3.5/5 (located on the Wilfrid Laurier campus, a 10-15 minute walk from UW).
Healthiness: 5/5 (the menu contains an in-depth nutrition sheet for all their items on their website).
Cost: 4/5 (the average bowl/salad at Freshii costs $10-15 depending on add-ins such as eggs, tofu, or chicken).
While the Market has a huge salad bar, there are many options to choose from when it comes to healthy salad options nearby campus. Freshii (255 King St N), a healthy fast food restaurant, prides itself on offering superfood smoothies, fruit bowls, bowls, wraps, frozen yogurt and more. It’s a great option for those looking for healthy options but also want variety in their diet.
- Try a poke box (Off-campus)
Convenience: 3.5/5 (located on the Laurier campus, a 10-15 minute walk from UW).
Healthiness: 4.5/5 (most ingredients are fresh and healthy, however, additional sauces may add unnecessary calories, fat, sugar and salt).
Cost: 4/5 (the average bowl/salad at The Poke Box costs $10-15).
With over 600 google reviews and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, The Poke Box (located at 255 King St N #3) is a student favourite. Poke, a native Hawaiian dish, is a type of salad similar to sushi, served with raw fish, sauce and other veggies. The Poke Box is located next to the Freshii near Laurier and is a great way to eat healthily but also expand your taste buds.
As midterms are slowly approaching and New Year’s resolutions begin to fade, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. However, it is still important to take care of your physical and mental health. If you are struggling with healthy eating and would like some tips or healthy recipes, UW’s Guide to Healthy Eating is worth checking out. Hopefully, these places are a great place to start if you are struggling with healthy eating.
If you would like to send in your own tips/tricks or recommendations for healthy eating at UW, we would love to hear them at firstname.lastname@example.org