Tips on Eating Healthy in a College Dining Hall

Eating healthy in a college dining hall is not an option but the way to go for busy college students. Eating healthy ensures that you have the physical and mental capabilities to cope with the demands of your stress-filled college life. A healthy body goes a long way in ensuring that you are able to endure long hours of work, stretch yourself beyond your limits to deal with last minute hiccups in assignments and schedules, all without being ill.

You may be surprised that eating healthy in a college dining hall is a matter of personal choice, and not something you can not do. Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign has started to rock the States, and college canteens are not spared. Before you start to go just for vegetables and fruits, do pay attention to the tips listed below. You want to be healthy, not a walking skeleton, and eating healthy and sensibly is the way to go.

1. Choose to eat healthy.

You can have all the right foods placed in front of you, and still eat an unhealthy unbalanced diet. If you choose to eat a small salad with three table spoons of egg mayonnaise and have it with a large pan pizza by yourself. The healthier option is a medium-sized green salad with one to two table spoons of dressing made from fruit juice with a dash of vinegrade, and a slice of pizza.

2. Know what constitutes a healthy balanced diet.

A healthy diet consists of body-building foods (proteins from meat and gluten-based products), energy-giving foods (carbohydrates from grains and starched based food products), health-giving foods (vitamins and minerals from vegetables, fruits, milk and diary products), and plenty of fluids, especially water.

3. Know how much you can eat.

Depending on whether you enter college with your puppy fat still on you, the number of calories that you can safely eat in a day differs from your friends at the same dining table in the same hall. Knowing how many calories you can eat per day helps you budget for the kind of food intake you will have throughout the day.

4. Know your schedule for the day.

If you know that you have a tennis game that afternoon, you are not going for a meat and vegetable only lunch. You will also need a sufficient proportion of starch such as potatoes or rice to give you the energy to move till the end of the match before the next meal or risk hitting the wall. That is, you do not want to feel faint due to hunger.

5. Know what your college dining hall offers you before picking up everything.

You are likely to pick up food from the start of the queue and leave off items further down the line because your tray is already full. Make it a habit to peruse what is offered for the day before you compose your meal and fill your tray.

6. Eat when you most need it.

A healthy breakfast gives you the energy you need to kick start a busy day and last through a busy morning right up to lunch time. You might also want to take away the fruit for a healthy mid-morning or mid-day snack instead of grabbing a burger or a bag of chips. 

7. Eat what you need.

It is important to know what your body requires, rather than eat lots and suffer indigestion. The extra calories you ingest will end up on your body as fats and extra tissue that you do not need if you are overweight. However, if you hover around the acceptable weight, cutting back on food, especially carbohydrates and proteins, can result in weight loss that poses a danger to your life.

8. Eat what is best for you.

It is easy to want to be part of the group and go along with whatever your new-found friends are eating. Your dietary needs may differ. Hence, know what your dietitian advocates for you, and stick to it. 

9. Eat a happy meal.

Instead of eating on your own, learn to make friends during a meal. Make it a point to chew through your food thoroughly instead of rushing through. Take your time and chew well. When you are stressed, take a light meal – do not gorge.

10. Eat wisely.

Many college students who are freshly out of high school and out of their parents’ clutch tend  to choose the wrong food to eat, or omit food that are good for them. Plate from the United States Department of Agriculture tells you the types of food as well as the proportion of each for a balanced diet.

Eating healthy will keep you healthy, a key to success in college. As long as you have a balanced diet and not overeat or under-eat, have sufficient fluids daily to oil the human machinery and have sufficient rest, you will be able to think and work well, and have a healthy and fulfilled college experience.