The campus dining hall is the place to be throughout the day. It’s a place to fill your plate with your cravings, catch up with friends, and even just hang out and snack between classes. It’s pretty awesome, in our opinion. The downside? (Of course, there’s always a downside…Ugh!) An unlimited meal plan and plenty of freedom mean your eating decisions can get out of hand…fast. That’s why we’re listing some healthy tips to keep in mind at the dining hall.
Stick to whole grains over refined grains.
Grabbing lunch at the sandwich station? Filling up on a delicious pasta dish? Opt for whole grain pasta and bread! Did you know that when grains are refined, it removes the dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins? According to WebMD, choosing whole grains over refined ones has a multitude of health benefits. This includes reducing your cholesterol, lowering your risk of certain diseases, and controlling your weight. Take that, Freshman 15!
Don’t skip the produce.
This is a simple tip, but it’s easily overlooked. Fruits and vegetables are an essential way to get your daily vitamins and nutrients. Plus, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. That’s a win!
All dining halls give you options in every food group, but it’s up to you to make sure they end up on your plate. So, if you notice your dish is filled to the brim with carbs during a pasta dinner, how about balancing that out with a piece of fruit or a vegetable side dish?
If you’re worried about going overboard, enlist the help of an app.
Don’t let your unlimited meal plan get the best of you! There are plenty of helpful apps out there that’ll keep you on track. We happen to be fans of MyFitnessPal, which allows you to log your meals and offers helpful insights on making healthier food decisions.
Check to see if your dining hall posts nutrition facts.
Many college dining halls offer nutrition facts for the foods they serve, so keep an eye out! This will either sit right in the dining hall or somewhere on your school’s website. Either way, it’s helpful knowing you can check what you’re putting into your body!
Think about your drink.
If you typically drink soda with your meals, consider this shocking stat from VeryWellFit.com — drinking one 12-ounce can of soda per day means you’re consuming about 144 extra calories per day or 52,560 additional calories per year…Yikes! Water is always the best choice, but if you prefer something with a little more pizzazz, how about trying sparkling or fruit-infused water?
Curb your dessert cravings.
It’s hard saying “no” to dessert when there’s an ice cream machine in the corner and an array of tasty treats left out for diners. Ugh, the temptation! We know it’s easier said than done, but try making an effort to save dessert for special days — like celebrating a good grade or a treat for getting through a rough week.