4 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Meal Plan

Balanced diet surrounded by food

One of the biggest problems with meal plans is that unhealthy temptations abound. If you make unhealthy choices, you may gain weight, increase your risk of illness, and have less energy. In fact, a poor diet may even have a negative impact on your academic performance. For these reasons, it’s extra important to make sure you stay healthy while on a meal plan.

1. Eat Regular Meals

Create a weekly schedule that allows you to fit your meals around your classes and other commitments. Making sure you have time for regular meals will prevent you from snacking — and since snacks are often unhealthy, you should find this reduces your calorie intake. If you know you’ll need to snack on some days (such as if you have many hours of classes before a long enough break to eat a meal), stock up on some healthy snacks, such as fruits and nuts.

2. Make Sure You Eat a Balanced Diet

At each meal, make sure you eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates (particularly whole grains), and fiber. At the same time, try to minimize your intake of fat and sugar. Some examples of healthy meals include Greek yogurt with granola for breakfast, a falafel wrap for lunch, and grilled fish with steamed vegetables for dinner.

In addition to paying attention to the food you eat, consider what you’re drinking. You should be sticking to water during most of the day, keeping sugary beverages to a minimum.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Your Choices

Make sure you know what food stations are available around campus, as some may offer healthier foods than others. For instance, steering clear of fast food locations makes it easier to avoid temptations.

As well as exploring campus to discover the different dining options, you can find out what’s available by checking the campus life section of your university website. This will often include both the locations and the menus of eateries.

4. Choose the Healthiest Options

At each of the dining stations, there will likely be a combination of healthy and unhealthy options. Wherever you eat, opt for the most nutritious items, such as dishes with plenty of vegetables. Also make sure you eat enough to feel full — that way, you won’t need to satisfy your hunger later with something less healthy. For instance, if you decide to eat a salad, you may like to top it with nuts or chicken to make it more filling (and make sure you choose a low-calorie dressing rather than something like ranch). Finally, if you’re craving dessert, choose something like frozen yogurt with plenty of fruit for toppings.

Not only is it often difficult to eat healthy with a meal plan, it’s much more expensive than preparing your own meals. However, cooking for yourself doesn’t tend to be an option when you’re living in on-campus student housing. Oshawa students who want to eat a healthier diet and save money should move into 17Hundred. Our fully-furnished suites include a kitchen you’ll share with just one to four other students. Apply now to secure the floor plan you want.