Healthy Food Options in a College Dining Hall

Your college dining hall doesn’t have to give you the freshman, (sophomore, junior or senior) 15.

Here are some healthy and balanced meals you can select out of your buffet style dining hall

1. Grilled vegetables, grilled chicken/fish and baked sweet or regular potato. Get your meat from the grill, not the hot entree area. if your college doesn’t have a grill, drain our the sauce your meat is in before serving it on your plate. 

2. Salad with mixed greens, vegetables, boiled eggs and tofu. Dress your salad with as much olive oil as you want, and just a splash of vinegar. If you desperately need dressing, put  2 teaspoons of your favorite dressing on the side of your plate to dip your salad bites in to. 

3. Oatmeal with bananas and milk. 

4. Ants on a log, banana style. Slice a banana open, fill it with as much peanut butter you want, Drizzle honey and add raisins (optional). Enjoy with a spoon. 

5. Vegetable omelette and a fruit salad. 

6. Hummus and carrots

7. Avocado, jalapeƱo and kidney bean salad. The salad section always has kidney beans or chickpeas. Toss them in with some guacamole and add some spicy peppers in the mix. 

8. Soup! Any non-creamy soup is a good choice. Though they may be sodium rich, they are usually a solid and filling option. 

9. Rice and beans

10. Plain yogurt with fruits and granola

Avoid: drink dispenser, cereal, bread, bacon, cheesy pasta dishes, such as mac n cheese and stuffed shells, creamed vegetables like spinach and asian flavored foods like orange chicken or lo mein. These are loaded with grease, sodium and artificial flavors. 

Timing is everything. If you do want to eat a hot bowl of pasta or a big ciabatta turkey sandwich, its best to do this before 3pm. That way your body has all day to process the white carbs. The healthiest bread choice you can find in a college dining hall is a wrap or a multi grain bread. And yes, you will and should indulge in those occasional late night pizza hoarding sessions but if your regular diet is lean and clean, these minor binge sessions won’t do a lot of damage. 

Remember, carbohydrates are extremely important and should not be avoided. However, its important to choose the best quality carbs that will fill you up and give you a balanced meal. Though dining halls can have limited options, being a bit selective and making minor adjustments can help you maintain a healthy body weight. 

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