As a healthy eater and athlete, dealing with college food was a huge adjustment. I had to learn how to deal with some frustrating circumstances in order to stay fit and fueled for each day.
Here are some issues:
- Inconvenient Hours: I quickly figured out that the cafeteria hours often did not fit with my personal habits and class schedule.
- “Where the heck is the meal in this meal plan?”: Sticking to a colorful diet is hard while confined to a meal plan.
- Weekend food: Most of the dining options were closed over the weekend and they did not re-stock supplies until Monday. (They basically run out of food).
Here are some helpful (I hope) tips:
- “Lets Wrap”- If your cafeteria has a wrap or sandwich station, that is a great way to get in a balanced meal for lunch or dinner.
- Wraps are easily portable for ‘on the go’ and are hard to get bored of. Choose whole wheat or multigrain breads and make sure to include lots of fresh veggies and a good source of protein. If your wrap creation comes with a side, choose a side salad or fresh fruit instead of a bag of chips.
*All bread is wheat, so look for whole wheat not dyed white flour, and avoid pre-packaged salad dressings with unnecessary additives.
- Be Assertive and Creative- Tell people what you want. This goes for dining out as well. As long as you are polite it is 100% O.K. to ask if substitutions are possible. Go around to different stations and get a side from each if you have to.
*Look for food cooked in olive oil or water rather than butter.
*Go with grilled, broiled, and steamed over fried.
*Choose water and real fruit juices over soda.
- Stock up- My school has a little convenience store, and I often took weekend trips to the supermarket with some friends. Keep some easy, healthy options in your dorm room, such as cereal and milk for breakfast, instant oatmeal, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, yogurt, string cheese, whole grain crackers, and peanut or almond butter – Justin’s makes portion sized squeezable packets of amazing nut butter combos which are great for on the go (preferably paired with an apple). If you have the option, I suggest getting a mini fridge and microwave for your room. My roommates and I rented these through the school and shared them for the year. I also know a lot of people who bring their own.
*Keep a bowl/ large mug, and some silverware in your room.
*I would not have survived without my Bobble (a water bottle with a replaceable filter to counteract that suspicious drinking fountain water). They are really cute and come in lots of different colors.
- Look for the real thing!- Look for bars with real ingredients.LARABARs (yum) are gluten free and can have as few as two or three unprocessed ingredients. If you are more into the granola part of granola bars, Clif Bar & Company makes a lot of good optionsfor different active lifestyles. The same rules apply to other foods as well. Check out options free of added salt and sweeteners.
Of course it is not always possible to stick to these tips, but by keeping these pointers in mind, your body will thank you in the long run.
Miriam S has 6 post(s) on RTR On Campus