Healthy Eating and Nutrition

Students not only have to deal with adjusting to high-level coursework, social changes, and living away from home, but also health-inhibiting factors like tight budgets, busy schedules, and figuring out how to eat well without parental guidance. 

The stress response is your body’s signal to adapt to changes in the environment. Everyone reacts differently to stress, but many people find comfort in food, which may lead to overeating or choosing less nutritious foods. What you eat can affect your mood and how you perform academically and nutrition can play a powerful role in your physical and mental health.

Canada's Food Guide


In 2019, Health Canada released a brand new food guide. There's no longer an emphasis on food groups and recommended servings. Instead, the new recommendations include eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods, and choosing protein foods that come from plants more often. The guide was prepared using high-quality scientific reports on food and health, excluding industry-commissioned reports given the potential for conflicts of interest.

The Food Guide might not be perfect for everyone and might be difficult to adhere to if you are following a traditional diet or are facing food insecurity. The National Indigenous Diabetes Association (NIDA) has created a an Indigenous Food Guide, which consists of commonly consumed traditional foods (plants/animals).

If you are facing food insecurity make use of the budgeting tips and food access resources provided on this page or visit the LUSU Food Support page to see what programming and supports are available to you.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is an experience that engages all parts of us, body, heart and mind, in choosing, preparing and eating food. It involves all the senses. It replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing. It replaces shame with respect for your own inner wisdom. -Jan Cozen Bays, MD


  • Mindful eating can help you develop a new, more balanced relationship with food.
  • It can teach us how to listen to our bodies to help determine when and what and how much to eat.
  • It can help us learn how to enjoy our food even more.
  • It can help us appreciate where our food comes from and therefore create a more balanced relationship with our environment.

Disordered Eating

Disordered eating is a phrase used to describe eating behaviours that are considered atypical.

When looking at eating habits on a spectrum, disordered eating falls between typical eating patterns and diagnosed eating disorders.

Not all individuals with disordered eating habits will be diagnosed for a particular eating disorder due to the very specific criteria that is required to be met in order for a diagnosis.

Disordered eating habits and eating disorders differ in terms of diagnosis.

Individuals with eating disorders have received a diagnosis as their symptoms match the specific criteria, while the habits of those with disordered eating habits do not align with the narrow diagnostic requirements as they occur less frequently or with a reduced level of intensity.

Symptoms of Disordered Eating Habits

The symptoms of disordered eating habits can vary, but tend to include:

  • Restrictive eating  habits such as constant dieting or skipping meals

  • Strict calorie counting and portion control

  • Fear associated with eating certain types of foods 

  • Engaging in excessive amounts of exercise or physical activity in exchange for consuming ‘bad’ food

  • Drastic changes in weight, either loss or gain

  • Preoccupation with weight and appearance and distorted body image

  • Consuming large amounts of food in a short amount of time

  • Loss of control around food

  • Strict rituals with food consumption

  • Feeling guilt or shame after eating

Dangers of Disordered Eating Habits

The risks associated with engaging in disordered eating habits pose significant risks, as individuals may experience the following:

  • Increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder

  • Weak bones (osteoporosis) 

  • Nutritional deficiency 

  • Increased blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Dental Problems

  • Fatigue or a reduction in sleep

  • Low self-esteem

  • Depression 

  • Anxiety

  • Headaches 

  • Muscle cramps

Looking to Make a Change? 

NEDIC Helpline and Live Chat- Eating and Body Image Support

NEDIC- Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders

NEDIC- Screen for Disordered Eating

CCI- Normal Eating vs. Disordered Eating

NEDA- How to Talk to Someone 

St. Joseph’s Care Group- Program

Nalgona Positivity Pride Online Support Group

Eating on A Budget

It IS possible to eat nutritiously without emptying your bank account. Try some of these tips on your next grocery shop.

Plan Ahead

Don’t let your mood dictate your groceries for the week- take the time to plan your meals for the week and write a list based on that. Try to make use of ingredients in several different meals. You can also try meal prepping or batch cooking so that nothing goes to waste, having a meal ready also curbs the desire to order in on busy days.

Take Advantage of Student Discount Days

Some grocery stores or restaurants have dedicated discount days- if you can make it work with your schedule plan your shopping on those days.

Thunder Bay

Bulk Barn: Bulk Barn offers a 10% discount on Wednesdays with a valid student ID (source). 

Metro Grandview mall: Get 10 percent off your groceries every Tuesday with your student card.


Bulk Barn: Bulk Barn offers a 10% discount on Wednesdays with a valid student ID (source). 

Grocery Store Loyalty Programs

If you hit up the same grocery store week after week, take advantage of any loyalty or points programs they have. These programs are almost always free and allow you to accumulate points that can be redeemed for discounts. Some programs also offer personalized coupons and discounts to loyalty members.


As always, there is an app for everything- including grocery discounts- these are the ones we recommend.  

  • Flipp- Flipp takes the weekly flyers crammed in your mailbox and puts them on your phone or tablet in a clean, searchable app. While you can search for a specific flyer and browse flyers as you would if they were sent to your house, the best capability of Flipp is being able to search for a product, such as milk, to see all the flyers that have it listed and for what price.

  • Checkout51- Checkout 51 gives you money back on certain products after you purchase them. Some items will give you 0.25$, while others could give you a few dollars back. The app shows you what products you can get money back on that week so you know what deals you can get ahead of time. After you purchase items on the list, photograph and upload your receipt via the app. The receipt gets checked and once approved (usually within 48 hours) the money you earned gets added to your account. Once you hit $20 a cheque is mailed out to you.

  • Caddle- The Caddle app is similar to Checkout 51, but unlike Checkout 51, Caddle is currently only available in Canada. Caddle publishes cashback offers every Thursday and this runs for a week. To claim an offer, purchase the item (usually at any store), scan it, and upload the receipt for processing. You can claim multiple offers on one receipt. When your cashback balance reaches $20 or more, it is easy to cash out and receive a check in the mail.

Student Discount Cards

The requirements for student discounts vary- some only need to see your Lakehead ID but others require a specific membership program. Some cost money to sign up so read through their partnerships to see if it is worthwhile.

Food isn't the only thing that can get expensive and a lot of companies offer student discounts, check out a complete list of Student Deals at

Food Security Resources

In a recent survey of Canadian post-secondary students, two in five students surveyed experienced some level of food insecurity.

There are supports on and off-campus that students can utilize to access food at no or little cost. 

Thunder Bay

LUSU Food Resource Centre

Dew Drop Inn

Shelter House

Grace Place

Check out the Thunder Bay District Health Unit's complete list of where to get food in Thunder Bay.


LUSU Food Resource Collective

The Sharing Place: Home

St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank

The Salvation Army, Community and Family Services, Food Bank

Check out Sustainable Orillia's Food Map for more resources in the are.

Grocery Stores

 Thunder Bay

Note: Many grocery stores carry Halal options but Superstore and Walmart Memorial have the largest selection



Student Health and Wellness Cookbook

Easy Meals for Great Recipes

Unlock Your Food

Foodland Ontario

Nutrition Month 2020 Cookbook

Nutrition Month 2021 Cookbook


Epicurious – Recipes, Menu Ideas, Videos & Cooking Tips


Dieticians of Canada

Canada’s Food Guide

The Student’s Guide to Nutrition

LUSU Food Resource Centre

Safe Food Handling at Home

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Nutrition Trackers