When you move to a new country, it is normal that the food is very different. Probably, there are some foods in Canada that you don’t like. It may be difficult to find and buy food that is exactly the same as your country, or you will find that it is more expensive compared to home. If you are living with a Canadian family in a homestay, maybe the food is good, but maybe it is very different from the food you are used to from your country.
With so many things different, it is not unusual for students who move to Canada to lose or gain a lot of weight. Many students gain a few kilos or lose a few in the months after they arrive. Often, this is because how much exercise you do is different, but it is also because many students eat a lot of fast food: hamburgers, pizza and candy, instead of healthy food. Here are some important things to remember:
- always eat breakfast – it is the most important meal of the day. You need energy to study English in the morning, and a good breakfast means you can study and learn well.
- avoid “junk food”: candy, soft drinks (e.g. Coca-Cola), and fast food are high calorie and high fat and salt. It is OK to eat them sometimes, but not too much. It is healthier and cheaper to bring your lunch at home and heat it in the microwave at school.
- eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. They aren’t too expensive, and they have lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre for your diet.
- eat whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice etc,) as much as you can.
- read the food labels on processed food you buy in the supermarket to find out how much fat, salt (sodium), carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients there are in it.
- eat many different kinds of foods – it is more interesting, and your diet will be more balanced
- don’t miss meals
- don’t rush – take lots of time and enjoy eating!
To get more information about eating well, there are two online documents you can download:
Canadian Government’s Canada Food Guide for healthy eating (pdf)
Concordia Health Services Guide to Healthy Nutrition