Eating Health at IH

What if I told you it really is possible (and simple) to stick to your resolution even at the IH dining hall?

“Nothing in excess” was boldly inscribed years ago on the temples of Delphi. This Greek philosophy can be applied to your diet too. You neither need to gorge down the entire (seldom) good-looking salad bar, nor cut yourself loose on the dessert counter. It’s all about the balance.

A balanced IH tray would ideally contain a rich source of carbohydrate, a rich source of protein, some vegetables and a dessert/fruit.

To break it down, carbohydrate is the primary source of glucose that provides energy, especially to your brain. (Whoever told you to cut down the carbs?!). Examples of good sources of carbohydrates available at the hall are noodles, rice, bread, mashed potatoes or corn. This should be accompanied by a good source of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, soya or any pulses. Ensure you consume deep-fried or oily dishes less often, and opt for baked or roasted items instead. For those days when you just cannot tolerate the site of naked meat/ fish being served- including boiled eggs in your salad could be a good idea.

Speaking of salads, they could be a good source of vegetables and provide the needed fiber in your diet. A vinaigrette dressing could be a better option than creamy mayonnaise. You could also experiment and make your very own lemon- honey- mustard dressing!

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Sugary juices and fizzy drinks could be cut down to 2-3 times a week instead of a daily basis. They tend to provide unnecessary calories and barely contain any nutrients.

One way you could fulfill your dairy requirement for the day is by opting for a pot of flavored yogurt for dessert. Grabbing a fruit, instead of a pastry could also be a better alternative. Flaky pastries tend to have a higher amount of fat in addition to the chocolate/ sugary jam inside the pastry. Even if you do choose the pastry- reconsider drizzling the custard instead of drowning your dessert in it!

Finally, allow yourself cheat days wherein you could wish to enjoy all the croissants and fish and chips IH has to offer. By doing so, there is a higher chance of you sticking to eating healthy on the other days. Here’s to a healthier 2018, without IH food being a roadblock in shedding those extra Kilos!

Ishitaa Bhatia is a resident of International Hall. She is currently pursuing her MSc. In Clinical and Public Health Nutrition at UCL. These are her personal suggestions.Image Credit: CC by Eating Healthy/Flickr

Teeth and Eyes

In a previous blog post, "What is the NHS?", it noted that dental and optician services are not included within the NHS. So where can you access these services? 

Dental Services

Some dental services may be included, dependent upon clinical assessment and judgement. Even those that are, still have charges to them. It is always important to discuss with your dentist what options are available and what fees are involved. 

Click here for a list of dental clinics near IH. 

Some universities may even have their own dental clinics. For example, if you are a UCL student, you can access the Dental Centre on 139 Euston Road. 

Image credit: CC via Flickr

Image credit: CC via Flickr

Eye Services

Another service not included within the NHS is eye care services. It is important to get your eyesight checked every two years. Specsavers has a lot of branches across London, including one in Brunswick Centre, right next to IH! They offer eye tests, glasses and contact lenses.

They often have vouchers and deals, including this voucher for a free eye test up until October 31st 2017:  

Additionally, Student Central (for University of London), has an optician centre:


Image credit: CC via Google Images

Image credit: CC via Google Images

Sexual Health Services

Starting university is such an exciting time in your life. You'll meet so many new people, and probably party quite a bit. It can also be a very sexually active time of your life. So it's important to remember to stay safe

The best sex is safe and consensual :) 

Image credit: NHS

Image credit: NHS

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) 

Young adults (under the age of 25) are most likely to get an STI, so it is important to use condoms to prevent this as much as possible. 

Image credit:

Image credit:

Get tested!

If you are sexually active, it is good practice to get checked for STDs and STIs every 6 months. A lot of infections are asymptomatic, meaning that you could have them and spread them, without knowing because you may not realise it. 

Here's some sexual health services near IH, which offer FREE STD/STI/HIV tests and contraception: 

Mortimer Market Centre


You can also check with your GP what they can provide for you in terms of sexual health care. 

Boosting your Mental Health

Starting university can be an exciting time, but it can also be a very stressful time. StudentMinds is a UK Student Mental Health Charity, with lots of great resources, including this page on starting university. It gives lots of good tips and advice on how to cope with change and take care of yourself during this period. 

Image credit: Student Minds Charity

Image credit: Student Minds Charity

You're not alone

1 in 4 people in the UK experience mental health problems. 

In an NUS survey, 78% of students believed they experienced mental health problems in the preceding 12 months. 

The majority of students may experience stress, homesickness, anxiety and depression during their time at university. 

Image credit: Student Minds Charity

Image credit: Student Minds Charity

It's fine! 

There are many people and services around that can help you if you're not feeling well. At IH, the Warden's team is here to provide you with pastoral care 24/7. Although the members of this team aren't trained counsellors, they can provide a sympathetic ear and give you further advice on where to get help. 

Here is a list of places you can call or go to for mental health help: 

Samaritans - Call 116 123 to talk to someone. They accept calls 24/7 and are Free 

London Nightline - Call 0207 631 0101

Camden and Islington Psychological Services self-referral -

Your GP is also there for your mental health, not just your physical health!

Your university may also have counselling services, so it is important to check with them or look on their websites. Here's a list of some of the University of London institutions' psychological services for students:

  1. University College London
  2. King's College London
  3. London School of Economics and Political Science
  4. Queen Mary
  5. SOAS
  6. City University
  7. Royal Academy of Music
  8. Goldsmiths

Here are a few links with useful advice on taking care of your mental health as a student:

1.  Looking after your mental well-being

2. Dealing with Exam Stress

3. Your Year Abroad

Of course, at any point, please feel free to reach out to the Warden's Team to discuss any issues regarding mental health or other concerns.