What a PhD student (ideally) eats in a day

Eating healthy is very important to me. I have seen the benefits of what my body can do when I listen to it and fill it with nutritious food. Eating well also means that I have a better chance of managing my anxiety and whatever I can do to balance my anxiety – I will! However, that doesn’t mean that I am always able to eat healthy but I try my best. If are you curious to find out what I eat in an ideal day then just keep reading to find out…

Many of you have been asking to see a breakdown of what I eat in a day and I am excited to share. With that being said, this post shares with you what I typically eat, based on my BMI and how active I am. It is also based on years of testing, reflecting and re-adapting to what feels good in my body. I highly recommend every grad student takes time to do this for themselves, or talk to a health care professional if/when possible. Eating healthy has improved my life in many ways such as increasing my productivity, decreasing my anxiety and improving my overall happiness. Without further ado, here is what I ideally eat in a day.

6:30am: Warm lemon water with grated ginger

Beginning my morning with a mug of warm (not hot, not cold; so I don’t shock my system) water with lemon slices and grated ginger is such a nice way to ease into my morning. As mentioned, I struggle with anxiety and starting my morning this way allows me to start off my day in a neutral way – not too fast or not too slow. The lemon has many benefits but mainly helps stimulate your body for digestion and the ginger gives a nice kick (I LOVE the taste of ginger).

7:30am: Coffee with inulin, oatmeal and a probiotic  

By this time I am typically done with organizing my day ahead and catching up on e-mails, so I am ready to get to work. Caffeine is much needed for me in the morning. I like to add inulin, which is a fibre and prebiotic, as well as a dash of plant milk to my coffee. Along with my coffee, 90% of the time I will eat a bowl of oats which keeps me satiated until lunch. I like to mix up my oats depending on how I feel; adding in different nuts, seeds and fruit. In the picture below I added chia seeds, walnuts and a brazil nut, cinnamon, frozen blueberries, drizzled with almond butter and maple syrup (is anyone else’s mouth watering?). After I finish my oatmeal, I grab my water and stay hydrated until lunch, while also taking my probiotic. The probiotic that is picture is Genuine Health, a brand I adore, however it is important to switch these up with probiotics. Sometimes I also have tea in-between breakfast and lunch as well.


11:30am: Lentil and quinoa salad, crackers, vegetables and fruit 

Around this time I am typically at school so I would have made this lunch the night before or that morning. The picture below shows my lentil and quinoa salad with loads of vegetables. This handy container from ThinkSport also has a lot of room for other snacks. I typically load up these spaces with whatever fruits, vegetables or nuts I have on hand. If you know me, you know I will always have dates on me; sweet and satisfying!


4:00pm: After workout protein smoothie 

When I am finished at school, I like to stop at the gym to get a quick workout in. After my workout I head home and make a post-workout protein smoothie to hold me over until dinner. The shake below had half a frozen banana, frozen mango, coconut milk, coconut water, and plant protein. Just like my oatmeal, I like to switch up smoothies with whatever I have on hand and whatever my body is craving that day.

6:30pm: Chicken thighs, kale salad and steamed broccoli 

Dinner is my favourite meal and the meal that varies the most for me. I typically like to have less carbs in this meal only because it will put me to sleep otherwise and I try to work until 9 or 10pm. In the picture below I have my turmeric chicken thighs, I actually had 3 pieces but I was too hungry before I took the picture lol. This meal I also steamed a bunch of broccoli (the more the better) and made a kale caesar salad.

9:00pm: Tea, chocolate and fruit 

Last but not least is a snack before bed. I’ve tried to cut this out but I can’t seem to kick it.  I have such a sweet tooth so it took me a while to find a tea that actually satisfies it but this Rooibos ginger lemon tea is one of my favourites. If I am still feeling wide awake I sometimes opt for a sleepy time tea. Also pictured is half a banana and half a kiwi, both excellent fruits that aid in your sleep process. And some dark and salted caramel chocolate squares because YOLO.


Here is a summary of what my ideal day looks like:


I repeat, this is what I eat on an ideal day. An ideal day means I would have meal prepped that week, had enough money for groceries and am not stuffing my face with popcorn at the end of the night (which happens more than I like to admit). Maybe I should write a post on what a PhD student (actually) eats in a day. If that is something you want to see, comment below!

Now I want to hear from you!

  • What do you usually eat in a typical day?
  • What do you hope to eat in an ideal day?
  • What do you find challenging about eating healthy as a grad student?

Until next time,

Christine xo

P.S Don’t forget to use #ScholarCulture #ScholarSquad #ScholarSunday to keep me updated on your experiences as grad students.

P.P.S Applying to grad school for the 2020/21 school year? Check out this FREE eBook on 5 steps to a successful grad school application. Are you in grad school and struggling to find easy lunches to bring to campus? Check out three FREE recipes and full nutritional information here.

4 responses to “What a PhD student (ideally) eats in a day”

  1. zora

    Yeah, “…Actually Eats…” would be nice. This made me feel like #Fail 🙁

    1. Scholar Culture

      Oh no!!! That is not the point, I am so sorry you feel that way. This is only my ideal day, it is what I strive for but it’s not why it looks like all the time. I will definitely do a post on what a PhD student actually eats from time to time. However, I do try and eat like this as often as I can. I try and put my health before my work and that is what I want to promote. I will add easy and affordable meals and tips to the next post and hopefully that helps 🙂

  2. Love your post, thanks for sharing! I think it’s reassuring to see you striving to eat healthy meals, but also noting that this is an ‘ideal’ day, and not every day is! Also think it’s great that you’ve mentioned you try and get some exercise done and then have a smoothie to tide you over – I need to exercise to keep my brain in check, but so many students neglect it 🙁

    1. Scholar Culture

      Exactly! You got it. Exercise is one of my non-negotiables. I know I need to do it everyday or else my anxiety gets too hard to handle.

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