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The university dorm diet | how to eat healthy on campus

It’s campus food . . . we’ve all been there, and we all know it is not exactly the healthiest food to be putting into our bodies. When the pizza and pop combo is cheaper than a salad and bottle of water, things become difficult.

So if you’re living in residence, or eat on campus because it’s easier than going home for lunch or supper every day, here are a few tips and tricks on how to keep healthy.

1. Use the “Fresh Five”: all across campus you can get a bottle of water and an entrée for $5. Now you have no excuse to buy the pack of Skittles and Gatorade because it’s “cheaper.”
2. Grab a pre-made salad – and don’t buy the extra dressing – and a cup of water. Remember, the water is free!
3. Craving that delicious stir-fry and just can’t wait to have it? Go right ahead, but don’t go overboard on the ingredients; ask for less sauce to help lower the sodium intake, or maybe you can try something new and go for the tofu . . . unintentional rhyme, but you get the point.
4. Did you know you can ask for your cook to use water instead of oil? Small substitute, but in the long haul can be beneficial.
5. Get the whole wheat instead of the white bread. Simple as that.
6. Want a cup of coffee? That’s fine, but substitute the heavy cream with low-fat milk and skip the sugar.
7. The easiest of them all is to eat healthy and exercise. But remember, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise if you are going to gobble down junk food every day – and no, not just candy, but anything that is harmful to your body such as eating chicken fingers and fries every day.
8. Know what you want to get before you get to the cafeteria. This way you won’t give-up on the plethora of varieties in front of you and get the bacon double cheeseburger and onion rings, but rather will go in, guns blazing, and get the tossed salad . . . okay, the salad part took away from the intensity, but you get where it was going.
9. Salads are a healthy choice, as it has been noted above, but don’t buy a tub of dressing to go with it – otherwise you could be taking in as many as 1,200 calories in the dressing alone.
10. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. Like I said before, a cup of water is free, so might as well indulge!

Now, obviously not everyone is going to follow a strict diet every day – and why would we? Sometimes we just need the bag of M&Ms with our popcorn – but you can also do so without overdoing it.

Want the popcorn? Get unbuttered, or less salt. Get a bowl of fresh fruit and dip it in low-fat chocolate, yum! Going out on Saturday but don’t want to drink a ton of calories? Substitute the pop with water and Mio as mix, or buy low-calorie drinks – or skip it altogether and go out sans buzz-on.

If you have any questions on how to eat healthy on campus, take a trip to the health clinic in C. C. Jones and talk to the on-campus dietician.

Happy and healthy eating!

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