As a young adult in my college years, I have endured the wrath of dining hall food and the dreaded freshman 15 (okay more like the freshman 7 or 8, but still more than I would’ve liked). For college students and many adults in the work force, a dining area is the only option for meals during the school or work day.
While it is easy to head over to the pizza buffet on your lunch break or eat a piece of cake with every meal (I mean come on, it’s RIGHT there), there are ways to steer clear of creating unhealthy habits:
1. Eat breakfast: While there may be the option of bacon every single day and endless pools of syrup surrounding you, you can still make eating breakfast work! Head over to the toast station and add some peanut butter, grab a cup of Greek yogurt, and look for an egg/omelet station- protein is key in the mornings!
2. Avoid soda: Although there is almost always a soft drink option in dining halls, go for the water, milk, or juice to avoid this habit.
4. Skip the dressing: A salad bar is a great way to load up on veggies- as a main dish or on the side. BUT that dressing you’re loading on it is overpowering all of the progress you made by eating those vegetables! Try substituting for olive oil, avocado, or hummus for a flavor to satisfy your taste buds.
5. Load up on fruit: Though fruits are high in sugar, they are healthy sugars that keep fruit low in calories while still being sweet. Also, you know the dining hall hasn’t done anything to them to compromise their benefits- they’re all natural!
6. Resist dessert: Now I’m not saying you can never throw a cookie on your tray or get an ice cream cone for the walk home, but dessert options for people in dining facilities are made for mass production and optimum taste- not so much for healthy hearts and blood pressure!
7. Beware the meat: Meat is an incredibly important part of your diet because of the high levels of protein and vitamins that are valuable to your health, but some meat in dining halls are packed with saturated fat, which can shoot your cholesterol through the roof.
8. Eat your veggies: Like fruit, there’s not much a dining hall can do to change vegetables and their healthiness. So don’t skip the veggie section of the buffet, they are high in potassium- not to mention low in calories!
9. Moderation moderation moderation: Don’t get sucked into the convenience of having a buffet at your fingertips. You’re better than that! Keep your portion sizes normal. Yes it’d be easy to grab a piece of pizza after the nacho bar, but try going for one or the other.
10. Break up meals: Like mentioned above, it’s important to keep an eye on portion sizes but it’s even more beneficial to eat 4-6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones. If you have time time to eat snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a feast a few times a day, you will keep your metabolism kicking all day long!
11. Pass on the chips: Many dining areas and small food shops will let you upgrade to a meal with the purchase of a side and a drink- but don’t get the chips! Spring for a piece of fruit rather than those extra 200 calories of powdered cheese and oil (that are ever so addicting).
12. Tea time: People often overlook the option of tea as a drink of choice when grabbing breakfast to go or sitting down for an evening meal. Tea is a metabolism booster, much like water. It also has natural antioxidants to flush out toxins in the body, leaving you energized and feeling great!
14. Beware condiments: Like salad dressing, all condiments are high in unnecessary calories and fat. Refrain from adding salt or mayo where it can be avoided and watch the difference!
15. Cheat days: Yes of course you’re allowed to have cheat days! Even if you’re not on a serious diet and are simply trying to eat healthy, that does not mean you can never get the deep fried mac n cheese or some French fries. You’re not going to become unhealthy in the time it takes to eat a cheeseburger, but these tips are here to help you create habits that will increase health over your years!
#healthyeating #dininghall #college #dininghallfoos #healthy #freshman #freshmanfifteen #fifteen