With all of the dining improvements and additions around campus, it can be easy to get a little carried away with your Deacon OneCard in hand.
Now, I’m not saying we don’t deserve a Zick’s BBQ flatbread or Shorty’s chicken fingers once in a while, but it’s important to try to maintain a balanced diet in the first few weeks of school because that will likely set the tone for the rest of the semester.
Especially for freshmen, the Pit can be overwhelming with all its options. Familiarize yourself with the healthy options at the dining halls. The most obvious choice is to make a salad at the salad bar. If you want to upgrade this to be your main course, you can add grilled chicken. To go even further, try swapping ranch or caesar dressing with balsamic or olive oil.
At the deli station, you can make a vegetable wrap or sandwich and use hummus instead of the high-calorie spreads.
One of my favorite semi-healthy meals at the Pit is a vegetable egg white omelette with feta cheese, spinach and tomatoes. If omelettes aren’t your thing, you can order scrambled eggs instead and add them to wheat toast with some Sriracha or hot sauce on top.
Another easy meal is a veggie burger at the grill. The Pit may not always advertise the fact that they have them, but they usually do. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can get hummus or ranch from the salad bar instead of using ketchup.
Other healthy options include basically anything from the station to the left of the pizza, non-cream based soups and some variations of rice dishes at the Mongolian Grill or Southern Food station.
If you feel like venturing somewhere outside of the Pit, there are other dining options that serve healthy choices as well.
Many people prefer getting salads from Forest Greens in Benson over the Pit because there are so many toppings and dressings to choose from.
For à la carte dining, Shorty’s and Bistro ‘34 have several healthy items on their menus, ranging from salads to veggie burgers, to more unique dishes at Bistro ’34.
One way to gain unwanted weight in college is stress eating desserts on a regular basis. It’s really easy to grab a few cookies on your way out of the Pit without even really thinking about it, but eating healthier dessert foods is a subtle change that will result in long-term benefits.
Instead of getting a pint of Ben & Jerry’s from the P.O.D., drive the short distance to Whole Foods and pick up some Halo Top ice cream. This brand is an alternative to normal ice cream that ranges from 240-280 calories per pint, so if you’re having a stressful day, you can eat the entire pint and not feel bad about yourself. Also, it actually tastes good unlike other Halo Top wannabes.
One of my favorite desserts is fruit with a few tablespoons of Nutella or Cool Whip. This guilt-free dessert is easy and very satisfying.
If you don’t have access to shopping off campus, you can also get creative in the Pit. Now that there’s a permanent yogurt station, you can make a yogurt-based dessert by filling a bowl with Chobani and adding a small handful of toppings from the ice cream station.
Eating healthily in college is a difficult task, but if you’re creative and know where to find everything, it is doable.