Food for thought: Navigate dining halls with smart and healthy eating habits

By: Grace Bruening – Health Columnist

With a new year approaching, it can be easy to forgo any healthy eating habits you may practice at home, with the help of your parents’ grocery-shopping. Now, amidst the luxury of dining halls every which way you turn, you’re salivating at all of these delicious, greasy foods that are (technically) free thanks to your meal plan.

Mac and cheese, cheeseburgers, french fries, loaded potatoes, quesadillas, cake, brownies, cookies, Rice Krispie treats, ice cream, OH MY. The dining halls are filled with temptation and it can be difficult to swear off the fried options that you so badly crave.

“I swore to myself I wouldn’t gain the freshman 15,” you think to yourself as your friends are already running to the mac and cheese bar. As they’re topping their cheesy goodness with bacon, sour cream and more cheese, you shamefully go to the salad bar and scoop up white iceberg lettuce and a few croutons and top with Caesar dressing.

As the days and weeks continue, you find yourself getting tired and lazy and feel that you “deserve” those cheeseburgers and fries after your exam that week, every week. One thing leads to another, and you end your first year off with that broken promise to yourself and feeling helpless. Some may be reading this and thinking this sounds familiar and some may have yet to experience this, but could be on the fast track.

I’m here to tell you that you have more options in a dining hall than iceberg lettuce to give you the energy to get through those late night study sessions and those hard-to-pass exams. As a dietetics major, I have a passion for nutrition and eating delicious foods in a way that won’t make you hate yourself.

With these easy fixes, you’ll end the year right, while fueling your body with the proper nutrients every college student so badly requires.


Try these quick fixes for a few weeks, and I guarantee you’ll feel better about attaining your health goals throughout the year. Happy eating!

If you’re interested in more tips for a healthy lifestyle, follow my blog: Posts include tips for exercise and eating out, as well as healthy recipes and weekly updates.

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