Brazilian student Valentina Mello Lunardelli, who is studying arts in the Waterford Institute of Technology, has some excellent advice for students on staying healthy and eating well

When you move to a different country, your entire routine changes as do your eating habits. Studying outside of your home country and living far away from your family and friends can be quite difficult, especially if you have never experienced living alone before. Keeping up a healthy diet can be one of the biggest difficulties among international students.

Ireland has recently become one of the countries which has the highest number of international students. When moving to Ireland, it is very common that students search for accommodation, work placement and new cultural activities.

However, a small percentage of students seem to forget the gastronomical differences between one country and another. When those differences are put aside, the cultural shock can be huge. Because of that, I decided to outline four important tips to help other students to keep up a healthy diet when living in Ireland.


It is important to eat fruit during study time

1. Learn about Irish food

It is important to eat fruits during your study time. © Kittisak Jirasittichai |
Find out which fruit and vegetables are easy to buy in Ireland, as it will help you when going through significant changes in your diet. It will also be useful for making sure you get those important nutrients into your body. Some of the relevant fruit and vegetables include apples, bananas, avocado, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, etc.

Exploring Irish’s supermarkets as soon as you arrive and understanding the cultural differences will definitely help you a lot when adapting in a different country.

Junk food

Junk food can be very bad to your diet.

2. Avoid overly processed food

As a consequence of living alone, students tend to be lazy when preparing food. A variety of ultra-processed food can easily become part of your diet if you don’t pay attention to how often you are eating it.

As well as eating unhealthy junk food, it is not expensive which also can be a problem for those students who wants to save money. It is important to invest your money in REAL food: vegetables, fruits and grains.


European institutions recommend to drink filtered or boiled water

  1. Drink lots of water

In Ireland, the consumption of water can be easily forgotten. As a result of the low temperatures, the motivation to drink water can decrease. However, it is important to
remember that no matter what the season is, our body naturally needs 35ml per kg of body weight.

Not drinking water can cause headaches as well as the necessity to ingest more food in order to absorb the water that the body requires. It is important to always carry a bottle of water with you.

sleeping person

Sleep problems also affect your diet

4. Plan your sleep time

Having trouble when sleeping is very common among international students, especially if you are worried about exams or just when you move from one time zone to another. But it is also important to realise how a poor night’s sleep can affect you. When you don’t sleep well, your body will want to ingest more food.

You should always create a routine and plan your sleep time. Avoid taking your phone to bed and turn off all the lights. Drinking a camomile tea before going to bed can help. Try to go to sleep at the same time so your body can get used to it.