Eating in your university’s dining hall may be a necessary part of college, but making healthy choices in the cafeteria can prove to be difficult for the health-conscious collegiette. After all, what’s a girl to do when she’s surrounded by hundreds of meal options in a buffet-style setting? In an effort to help you keep off that freshman fifteen (or even that sophomore, junior, or senior fifteen...), we’ve consulted with Kelly Klaczkiewicz, a registered dietitian, and compiled a list of the dining hall’s best and worst options to make choosing your meals a piece of cake (not literally!).
Pick It: Yogurt, Granola & Fruit
Grab a bowl of low-fat or Greek yogurt and add some granola. Try Kellogg’s Low Fat granola or Trader Joe’s granola if your dining hall offers it – many other brands can be high in calories. According to Livestrong’s diet & nutrition tips, the combination of six ounces of low-fat yogurt and a ¼ cup of granola weighs in at only approximately 240 calories. Plus, granola is high in fiber and protein, helps build muscles mass, and keeps the skin healthy, while yogurt contains healthy bacteria that keeps digestion moving smoothly. You can also add fresh fruit to the mix for a sweeter taste and a vitamin boost – one cup of blueberries contributes only 80 calories to your meal and gives you the added bonus of antioxidants, which can lower your risk of cancer and slow down the aging process!
Skip It: Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a Biscuit
Breakfast sandwiches are high in fat and calories because of the cheese, sausage and biscuit. In the end, a six ounce (about the size of your fist) sandwich weighs in at about 530 calories and contains high levels of sodium. However, substituting a slice of tomato for the sausage can help make this breakfast option into a healthier choice!
Skip It: Bagel & Cream Cheese
A regular bagel with cream cheese is all carbohydrates and fat. Unfortunately, carbs don’t have enough staying power to keep you full until lunch time, and cream cheese is not heart-healthy because of its high levels of saturated fat. Skip this quick fix and head for a healthy bowl of yogurt and granola instead.