Headed to college this semester or know a college student?
Maintaining a healthy diet in a college dining hall can feel quite challenging when faced with unlimited options, but it's very possible!
Remember, eating well in a college dining hall is all about making smart choices and being mindful of what you put on your plate.
Following these 5 helpful tips can nourish your body, fuel your mind, and thrive throughout your college journey.
1. Follow the Plate Method
Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables - this helps you meet your fiber and micronutrient needs while keeping you full on fewer calories.
Make one-quarter of your plate lean protein - this can come from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, or plant-based options like beans, legumes and soy.
Make the other quarter of your plate high-fiber whole grains, or starchy vegetables such as corn, squash or potatoes.
Use dairy as a flavor enhancer (cheese) or to add protein and calcium to your meal as needed
2. Start with a Salad
Make it a habit to start your meals with a salad. Some of the healthiest options are:
Dark leafy greens - vitamin K, folate
Tomatoes - vitamin C, the antioxidant lycopene
Carrots - vitamin A
Avocado - heart-healthy fats, fiber, and potassium
Nuts & seeds - magnesium (use them instead of croutons for crunch)
Choose a vinaigrette or oil based dressing and avoid creamy dressings that can be high in calories and saturated fat. Use just enough to enhance the flavor. *1 tablespoon should be enough for a starter salad
3. Skip Sugary Drinks
With a plethora of juices, soft drinks, energy drinks & sweetened coffee now available at all times, it’s easy to start adding them throughout your day without thinking twice. The problem is that this can easily add 300-600 extra calories daily.
Save these beverages for special occasions and instead rely on water, unsweetened coffee, or unsweetened tea for everyday meals.
4. Be Choosy with Dessert
Dining halls usually have indulgent treats at every meal so it can be tricky to navigate.
Here are a few simple tips:
Pass on anything you don’t love. In other words, just because it’s “there” doesn’t mean you have to take it.
If you do indulge, make sure you have time to really enjoy it. If you’re in a hurry, it’s probably not the best time for dessert.
Split it with friends. If you see something that you would love to try, ask friends if they want to share so you get a taste without overdoing it with sugar.
These foods are easy to overindulge. Be mindful when choosing to add them.
5. Slow Down to stay Satisfied
Allow yourself time to feel full to prevent overeating. Many people are inherently fast eaters and go from starving to stuffed in a matter of minutes. Remember that many hormones in your digestive tract communicate with each other as a meal is consumed. Research suggests that if you eat too quickly, you aren’t providing enough time for those hormones to tell you “I’m full” and the risk of overeating increases. Take your time, enjoy your meal!
Head over to my website to get your FREE eBook on Fueling for your Future! While you are there check out my resources tab to find additional FREE resources & recipes!.
ENJOY! And I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful school year!
And, if you would like a more personalized approach, book your 15-minute FREE exploratory call to discuss your goals and how I can help.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog post is not to act as a personal healthcare professional to any reader and is not meant to directly or indirectly diagnose disease, dispense medical advice, or prescribe the use of any products or services as treatment for sickness or disease. This information is for educational purposes only. You should always cooperate with a licensed health professional of your choice to create optimal health. Please consult your physician before implementing any of the strategies mentioned in this or starting any diet, exercise, or health program—especially if you are pregnant or nursing. Any application or use of the information, resources, or recommendations contained here is at your own risk