How to Make the Perfectly Nutritious Plate in the Dining Hall

by Caroline Weinberg

As college kids, there’s only so much a microwave and mini fridge can do for us. We’re bogged down with hectic schedules and often need to consume food in a quick, orderly manner. But students often skip meals or settle for subpar foods, neglecting the nutrients and protein needed for a healthy, balanced diet. But there are many ways to reinvent on-the-go eating in a college setting.

The first step to organizing a balanced meal is fulfilling your dietary needs and deciding which dish is right for you. Getting a nutritious breakfast is definitely an important factor in determining how your day will go. With options such as biscuits, malted waffles, and scrambled eggs, you can begin your day positively with a balanced collection of carbs and proteins.

In the dining halls, most lunches and dinners have choices of chicken and vegetable meals that will ensure students are eating vitamin rich, healthful foods. Hearty dishes like Spiced Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops and Campania Spaghetti Puttanesca with Sausage & Broccoli Rapini are packed with protein and carbs that will satisfy your hunger cravings and keep your inner body happy. Everyday options offered fresh off of the grill include french fries, grilled chicken sandwiches, hamburgers and hotdogs. All of these foods have significant amounts of protein and tastiness in every bite! They are American classics that most students enjoy on and off campus, so it’s like you never left your backyard barbeque.

For those following a vegetarian diet, guaranteed daily favorites are falafel, field roast franks, a variety of salad combos, and bean burgers.

For the deli experience, dining halls like Graham offer diners a variety of deli meat choices such as ham, turkey, and roast beef, along with creamy cheeses like pepper jack to go with a diy meal or homemade sandwich. The sandwich bar is the perfect method for constructing a delectable meal that fits each individual’s personal diet. Listening to what your body wants and considering the foods that will energize and sustain your body is the key to eating the perfect meal in college.

It’s completely understandable to not always have the time to get down to a dining hall and eat in leisure at a table. In that case, having a set of go-to dining hall snacks that you can bag or are pre-packaged comes in handy. Items like bagels, donuts, bananas, and muffins are all energy-inducing snacks that you can quickly grab from the dining halls and eat throughout your busy day. For many students, snacking is an efficient and beneficial way of consuming nutrients, especially considering their jam-packed schedules and workload.

When you’re on the go, it’s important to carry tasty snacks that have enough sustenance to keep your body going through the day. Granola bars such as Clif, KIND, or Nature Valley are rich in probiotics, organic, whole grain and low calorie, which makes for a great quick snack. You can also carry trail mix with your favorite ingredients such as peanuts, M&Ms, granola and dried fruit.

It isn’t always easy or accessible to eat perfectly clean in college, but with a little bit of effort and creativity, you can find simple solutions that satisfy your tastebuds.

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