Eating healthy on campus
By Ari Snaevarsson, Features Editor
The “freshman fifteen”
First-Years, welcome to possibly the four most exciting years of your life. Underneath all of the fun, engaging elements of college lies a newfound sense of independence. While this can be a great thing, it also comes with a responsibility you will either adopt now or push off until senior year, at which point I guarantee regret will set in.
The “freshman fifteen,” about which you have undoubtedly heard, is a very real thing. This college, in particular, offers no shortage of delicious foods. When you combine this with the independent decision-making you are now tasked with, it is not hard to see the truth this expression holds. But the “freshman fifteen” is not an inevitability. Read on to discover just how easy it can be to maintain (or pick up) healthy eating habits in college while still enjoying yourself.
The Dive, Ike’s, Bullet Hole, and Commons
Because your first-year meal plan requires you to eat the vast majority of your meals in Servo and limits your usage of these other dining halls, I will not get into much detail here. However, you do have some dining dollars at your disposal and can theoretically add as many as you wish.
So, I will briefly mention that The Dive serves a wide selection of delicious and nutritious shakes and smoothies that can be great on the run (if sitting down to eat is not an option).
It is my fourth year here and I have still yet to venture out to Ike’s, but I hear their salads, sushi, and soups are worth trying.
Bullet Hole, colloquially referred to as “Bullet,” is probably the most popular choice for upperclassmen and, with a little bit of strategy, can be a healthy option as well. They not only offer a considerable variety of lean cold cuts and veggies as toppings for subs, but also Greek yogurt, fresh fruits and fruit or vegetable cups.
Finally, the Commons Café mainly sells snacks and coffee; in the morning, I need a little pick-me-up caffeine, so I have definitely gone there a few times. Of course, by “morning” I mean “every morning,” and by “a little pick-me-up caffeine” I mean to say “my fix.” Kidding (sort of).
Servo is the main dining hall where you will likely be eating most of your meals. Fortunately, this is the easiest place to make healthy choices. With a salad bar, a constant supply of various fruits (which you can grab on your way out as well) and vegetables, fat-free Greek yogurt, a soda machine that serves virtually any calorie-free drink you can imagine, a station to make your own healthy sandwiches (pro tip: the sprouted bread is the healthiest) and usually at least one healthy, low-calorie entrée or sauté line option, you almost have to go out of your way not to eat well.
In the morning, you can grab some egg whites, fresh fruits and oatmeal; or, alternatively, you can choose a made-to-order omelet loaded with veggies. For lunch and dinner, you have the choice of a hearty entrée, a delicacy from the sauté, any combination of salad you care to make and everything in between. In the middle of lunch and dinner, they switch to Lite Fare, which I find to be a lifesaver for maintaining my healthy eating habits. Unlimited freshly cooked chicken breasts and steamed veggies as well as fresh fruits and vegetables? Goldmine.
Inclusive versus exclusive
My number one tip for eating healthy in college, no matter where you go to eat, is to adopt an inclusive rather than exclusive mindset. This is not to say eat all the Servo desserts you want without a care in the world, but instead focus more on the healthy habits you aim to keep rather than “all of the things I have to give up.” If you crave a warm, chocolate chip Servo cookie, by all means, enjoy yourself. But do yourself a favor and find ways that work for you to practice moderation and overall mindfulness of what you are eating throughout the day. Snacks, sugary drinks and salad dressings add up quicker than you might think.