The food choices and meal consumption patterns of undergraduate students from two Nigerian universities, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) and Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAU) (n = 402; 199 male and 203 female; overall mean age 23) were studied. The result indicated that 60% of the students (58% male and 62% female) consumed the recommended minimum number of servings of cereal, 50% of the males and 35% of the females in the carbohydrate category while 35% of the males and 42% of the females consumed enough from the meat group. More female students (40%) consumed adequate quantities of fruits and vegetables than their male counterparts (20%) while the consumption of milk and milk substitutes was low (10% male and 25% female). Most students ate twice a day substituting snacks for the third meal. More female students (48%) exceeded their energy requirement than their male counterparts (28%) while 60%, 85% and 40% did not meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein, calcium and iron respectively. Body Mass Index (BMI) classification indicated that 29% of the students were overweight, 6% were obese while 13% of the male students were underweight. The unhealthy eating habits of Nigerian university students seemed to be a reflection of poor funding.
Keywords: Food choice; Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA); consumption pattern; food groups.