Healthy Eating on Campus

26 Sep

On a college campus, you’re constantly faced with dining hall buffets, grab n’ go options, convenience store pick-me-ups, and not-so-healthy late night snacks. Believe it or not, you CAN avoid the infamous freshman-15 even with these options! It’s all about moderation, planning, and weighing the options.

Scenario 1: Cafe

Delicious looking pastries, mouth-watering donuts, and decadent cookies are staring back at you first thing in the morning. This is a HUGE decision to make; you’re probably still in zombie-mode and what you eat for breakfast sets you up for the rest of the day. If you choose a sugar-laden pastry, you’re more likely to continue craving and eating sugary and fatty foods throughout the entire day. Notice in the above picture where things are placed? Marketers WANT you to see the unhealthy options first, so it’s constantly in your eyesight. Fruit and muffins (although not the healthiest because of their size) are towards the bottom because it’s the last place you’ll notice- veryverysneaky. If you’re truly craving a pastry or muffin, order one (moderation) and split it in half to share with a friend or save it for later in the day; also, order a piece of fruit on the side! Some nutrients are better than none at all.

Scenario 2: Dining halls

Most likely your dining hall is buffet style with lots of different options to choose from. Sandwich station, salad bar, cereals, and “featured meal of the day” are usually your main choices. The first thing you should do before entering a dining hall is look at the menu online! The dining hall staff is using technology to their advantage and posts the menu of the day right on the website.

Next to each option, they list a rough estimate of the calories (use it as a guide) the food contains (take note of the portion sizes!) and even gives you the option to plan out your meal.

Also provided is a legend that signifies which items are:

  • balanced-foods that has balanced nutrients and portion sizes.
  • sustainable- food that contains a sustainable ingredient, such as local produce or seafood.
  • vegan- no solid meat, dairy, eggs, or honey.
  • vegetarian- no solid meat but may contain eggs or dairy.
  • today’s special

Scenario 3: Convenience stores

Open all night long, convenience stores offer everything from hot dogs to microwaveable meals, slushies to ice cream, and everything in between. If have you a class that runs through your usual lunch or dinner time, this is probably your best bet for a complete meal. Here are some tips for picking the best items:

  • pre-made deli sandwiches; ham, turkey, or veggie with lettuce, tomato, and onion (maybe) on whole grain or white bread (whole grain>white).
  • microwaveable soups; higher in sodium so watch what you pair it with!
  • packaged trail mix and nuts-portion out a handful then store the rest away. *If it’s in your eyesight, you’ll likely continue to eat because it’s available and not because you’re hungry!
  • fruit, string cheese/yogurt, and crackers/pretzels.

These are just examples! There are plenty more options and pairings, it just depends on what your convenience store keeps in stock. Some grab n’ go stores are fancy-nancy’s and offer refrigerated salads and meals, while others only store the basics. Either way, ‘”there’s nothing that’s good for me” -said no one ever’ applies here; it’s up to you to weigh your options and choose what you like but also what’s healthiest for your lifestyle.

Bon Appétit!

12 Responses to “Healthy Eating on Campus”

  1. Claire @ Live & Love to Eat September 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    This is a wonderful article with some really great tips!

    • K.E.P.T. You Fit September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks Claire! I may be contacting you and getting some RD info for another post..if that’s okay!

  2. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because September 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    This is a great post! Fortunately, I moved off campus and started cooking during my sophomore year or I know that I would’ve ended up eating a lot of ice cream and pizza…

    • K.E.P.T. You Fit September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      I’m the same way (thanks goodness for my waistline 🙂 ). This particular campus is a commuter campus, so a lot of the students live off campus after their freshman year but are forced to stay on campus all day because of their schedules. Healthier options are doable!

  3. Angela @ Health's Angel September 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    This is a great topic to post about. When I was a freshman, I definitely fell into the trap of “convenience” foods and I ended up looking and feeling like crap. My eating habits changed for the better when I moved off campus!

    • K.E.P.T. You Fit September 28, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Exactly! It’s so convinient to stop by and grab something quick which usually means unhealthy. These stores actually have a lot of healthier options to choose from!

  4. Brittny September 28, 2012 at 6:15 am #

    Hey very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of useful information here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  5. Shawn September 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I’m so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  6. Pinterest October 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I think this is one of the most important info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

    • K.E.P.T. You Fit October 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Thank you! I appreciate and welcome all feedback so please share 🙂 Are you on a college campus? If so, did you find this helpful?


  1. 10 Rounds X 10 Reps Challenge « K.E.P.T. You Fit - October 3, 2012

    […] hope you all enjoyed the post last week about healthy eating on campus. There really are tons of better-for-you options, you just need to do your homework, plan, weigh […]

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