Nutrition Articles

Healthy Dining in the Dorms

20 Tips to Eat Healthier on Campus

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Even though the notorious "Freshman 15" is really just a myth, leaving home for the first time can translate into weight gain or bad eating habits. It's hard to make healthy choices when confronted with a buffet of options in the dining hall. Plus, your parents won't be around to remind you to eat your veggies and late night pizza delivery can easily turn into a habit. We turned to the members of SparkPeople, who know a thing or two about changing bad habits, to get their tips for eating healthier when you go away to college.

Ask for Help
No matter what you're trying to accomplish, going it alone can be tough. If your goal is to practice healthier eating habits, turn to those around you for support and information. There are lots of people you can ask for help including your roommate, a nutritionist at your school's health center or the manager of your dining hall. Here's what SparkPeople members had to say:
  •  "Leave comments with your dining hall manager. Ours was extremely receptive to suggestions and added many healthy vegetarian main dishes, varied the salad add-ins, and had special vegan options (including dessert!) at every meal. Many chefs and cooks will welcome the challenge as they often don't get to 'express creativity' in places like dining halls." – COTTERR
  • "Find a buddy who is interested in eating well at the cafeteria, too. You can encourage each other along and offer suggestions. I have found this to be very effective when I have to eat at unhealthy restaurants. I model my choices on someone else who already makes great choices and it seems a lot easier than 'talking myself' into it every time." – JOYFULROAD
  • "Try stopping by the dietary services office and speak to someone face to face. Explain your eating goals and see what they have available. There are often vegetarian options and lighter options, but sometimes they were hard to find amid the more popular fried foods and burgers."  – SOCPAGE
  • "My university includes nutritional counseling as part of the student health fee. Check to see if your campus has the same type of thing. The counselor is probably very familiar with the offerings at your university and might be able to give you some specific advice." – PCVCHRISTINE Continued ›
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Member Comments

  • I recommend skipping out on soda all together. Even if it is diet, it still contains sodium and make you look swollen if you drink it as much as you should drink water. A glass or two a week is ok, but I would not drink it with all of your meals five times a week. - 7/27/2010 6:07:58 PM
    This article helps! I'm going to a summer program for a month and I'm going to be stuck eating campus food the entire time. I'm just worried I'm going to mess up all my progress since I won't really be able to cook for myself like I normally do. It's definitely going to be a test of self-control in the food line. - 7/4/2010 11:37:39 AM
    yeah skip soda altogether!!! but if u do indulge just go for regular not diet!! - 4/23/2010 4:00:20 PM
  • Both regular and diet soda contain carbonation and sodium. In that respect, they are just as bad for the body. For those watching weight or counting calories, diet is the obvious choice because it is completely calorie free. For those who argue that diet contains chemical sweeteners that are so bad for the body, so does regular soda. High fructose corn syrup is manufactured from the byproducts of corn the same way that splenda is made from the byproducts of sugar.

    It all really comes down to calories. And taste :) - 12/20/2009 9:06:48 PM
  • I think diet soda is actually worst than regular soda because it is high in sodium and it's carbonation causes fluid retention (meaning your body holds in a lot of water).

    At least that is what I am told... - 4/7/2009 8:08:19 PM

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