Trying to eat healthy in the dining hall

I always say that I’m going to eat healthier, but this semester I decided that I really wanted to give it a try. It is not always easy but so far I have been doing pretty well. What I’ve realized is that my best option for a well-rounded meal (or as well rounded as it can get in a college dining hall) is to go to the Home Zone (between the Grill and Dessert stations if you don’t pay attention to the names). For example, a few weeks ago they were serving meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas, and roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower is surprisingly really good when it’s roasted, so you should definitely try it if you haven’t already! That night I got everything, and even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the meatloaf, everything else was really good plus I got two servings of veggies.

I eat A LOT so what I’ve started doing is eating a bowl of fruit after dinner if I’m still hungry. I also eat fruit in the morning with a bagel since I don’t eat real breakfast food. I don’t like eggs or bacon – yes, I know it’s weird – I typically have chocolate milk in the morning too. I have no idea what the nutritional value of chocolate milk is but it tastes so good! Other than that I have been drinking nothing but water and green tea. I like Celestial tea and its usually on sale (2 for $5) at Acme. I always get a case of Peppermint Tea because to me it’s like happiness in a cup, and it has a ton of benefits like stress relief, sinus relief, and soothes your stomach if you’re not feeling well.

I have a huge sweet tooth, so I’ve learned that I must stay away from the desserts. For three years I was so used to grabbing a cookie or two while waiting in line for food. It’s definitely my weakness, but I’ve built up some pretty good self-control….except for cupcakes. I don’t know why but if there are cupcakes I have to have one.

Another thing that I’ve learned is to make healthier alternatives out of some of the not so healthy meals. For example, the crispy chicken sandwiches that are usually at the grill. Instead of getting the sandwiches I ask for just the chicken and then cut it up, and put it on top of a salad. Speaking of salad, we’re always told that the creamy dressings are the ones that are not so good for you. However, I do not like balsamic vinaigrette, it is way too acidic for me. It wasn’t until last year that I realized that they also have a lite balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil in it. The olive oil counters how strong the vinegar is and it’s really really good. I even like it better than ranch, and that was the only dressing I would eat as a kid.

I don’t think that a lot of people know this but if you ever want to know what’s on the menu ahead of time or find out the nutritional value of what’s being served, you can google ‘SJU Campus Dish’ and it tells you everything. It’s a helpful tool when you’re planning your meals.

That’s all I have so hopefully it was helpful. Of course, the easiest thing to do is eat what you want when you want, which is usually most enjoyable. But just in case anyone is having a hard time jumping on the healthy train like I did, here are a few tips.

Posted in: Campus Landmarks, Food & Dining, Health, Wellness & Safety