Burgers, fries, chicken nuggets: the options you’ll find on most college meal plans. While these options taste (very!) good, they’re not necessarily good for you. College meal plans can limit your healthy eating options. If you’re looking to start next semester on a healthier note, read on for tips on eating healthy on a college meal plan.
Processed grains like white wheat contain just as many carbohydrates as whole grains, with half the nutrients. Making the simple change from white wheat to whole grain can really make a difference in your daily nutrient intake. If you love bread (and who doesn’t?), try whole grain or whole wheat options. Brown rice is another great option, especially for those who are sensitive to gluten.
Nobody can stress enough the importance of staying hydrated. As a student, you’re probably doing a lot of walking. Most people require at least half their body weight in ounces of water per day to remain healthy. College dining halls offer a plethora of soda and sugary drinks. These unhealthy yet attractive options can lure students away from the water their bodies need to function. After drinking too much soda, the body often feels thirstier. Always carry a water bottle while on campus. Fill it as often as you can throughout the day, especially when you’re eating at the dining hall. Try to stay away from soda and sugary fruit juice.
When you’re on a college campus, pretty much everything is in walking distance. This means that whether you’re heading to class or to grab a bite to eat with friends, you don’t have to drive. Walk whenever possible to get a bit more exercise in throughout the day. This steady burning of calories is great for preventing heart disease and other serious health conditions.
When you’re in the dining hall, scavenge amongst the regularly offered food options to find a healthy alternative. Let’s say they’re serving a grilled chicken sandwich. Instead of getting the whole sandwich, ask for the grilled chicken breast alone. This is a great way to find healthy food without wasting the parts you don’t wish to eat.
Find What’s Fresh
Most dining halls have a salad bar. The salad bar is a great place to find fresh fruits and vegetables. You might even find boiled eggs and ancient grains. Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, nutritious, and contain less sugar and sodium than their canned counterparts.
Text by Martha Kendall Custard