Conquering the Impossible: Eating Healthy at Bruff

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We’ve all been through those Bruff phases when we convince ourselves that a waffle for dinner seems like a good idea and that an entire plate of French fries constitutes as our daily serving of vegetables. Though it is a challenge, and often quite frustrating due to the leisurely pace of the Sodexo workers, eating healthy at Bruff is possible with a little bit of creativity. With all the stress we face as college students, it is crucial that we maintain healthy eating habits. In fact, eating unhealthy can lead to low energy levels, skin problems, mood instability, and of course, weight gain. Hopefully these ideas will inspire your own health-conscious, culinary endeavors at the lovely Bruff dining commons.

Morning:

 Unless you got stuck in an 8 am class this semester, you should really try to wake up with enough time to eat breakfast before you start your day. Grab your book bag and make a quick run to Bruff before you head to class or whatever else is on your agenda. You should eat:

            1) Hard-boiled eggs: Skip the questionably yellow scrambled eggs and grab a few hard-boiled eggs. A single egg packs about 6 g of protein and is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Hard-boiled eggs are also healthier than scrambled eggs or an omelet because they don’t require any excess oils or fats to cook them.

            2) Whole wheat toast with peanut butter: Carbohydrates are healthy in moderation and also necessary to provide and sustain energy, so having a slice of toast for breakfast will definitely keep you going for the day. Although wheat bread contains gluten, a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye, it is much healthier than white bread, which contains almost no nutrients because the flour is refined. Most people don’t like eating naked toast, so spread a little peanut butter on it for that extra source of protein.

            3) Fruit: We should be eating at least three servings of fruit per day, and many nutritionists say that ½ of your plate each meal should contain some sort of fruit. I’d suggest getting a grapefruit half if you’re willing to put in the effort of cutting it up. Grapefruits are very high in vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient that plays a large role in sustaining properly functioning immune systems. We all know how easily illness finds us being on a college campus—I know I’ve had my fair share of visits to the Health Center. Otherwise, grab a banana or a cup of melon to supplement your meal.

            4) Green Tea: Morning grogginess is usually only cured by a much-needed caffeine fix but opt out of drinking coffee and choose green tea instead. Although coffee isn’t necessarily unhealthy for you, green tea is much higher in antioxidants and also speeds up your body’s metabolism. Also, unlike coffee, green tea does not call for any supplemental add-ins such as cream, sugar, or flavored syrups, which load on calories and can turn a morning beverage into a dessert. Besides, who likes having coffee breath anyway?

 

Mid-Day:

Lunch time can get rowdy at Bruff as everyone scrambles to get food in between class or meet up with friends for a study break. It may be a bit frustrating to wait in long lines and to be patient when the food temporarily runs out but don’t skip out on a well-balanced meal. You should eat:

            1) Bean Salad: Almost every day Bruff has multiple types of beans on the salad bar, ranging from garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, cannellini beans, and even green beans. Minus the jelly kind, beans are a great source of protein and a yummy alternative when the cold cuts at the sandwich station are looking a little gummy. Steal a pasta or cereal bowl and fill it with all the different types of beans you like. Then, drizzle them with some olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything around and—voila!—a healthy, and easy, bean salad. For more texture, you could also add some chopped up tomatoes or bell peppers.

2) Hummus and Carrots: Hummus is always a go-to option when the only thing appetizing to me is the wedge of lime in my ice water. It’s healthy and fills you up pretty quickly. Stay away from the greasy pita chips and instead go for carrots or celery as your dipping devices. 

            3) Fruit: Once again, fruit should be a part of your meal and you should be eating a least one serving of it. If you’re sick of eating granny smith apples and kiwis, you can always opt for a handful of raisins, which are usually located near the yogurt and granola. Just remember: a strawberry milkshake does not count as a serving of fruit!

 

Evening:

As the day winds down and your energy slow deteriorates from the countless hours you spent listening to lectures and typing up papers in Howard-Tilton, eating dinner might be the last thing on your mind. You may eventually find yourself horizontal, but unless you can convince your roommate to order Pad Thai with you so you can stay glued to your bed watching Netflix, a trip to Bruff may be inevitable. If that’s the case, you should eat:

            1) Grilled Chicken atop a salad of greens: Make a salad using spinach greens instead of iceberg lettuce because the spinach leaves contain much more nutrients compared to the iceberg lettuce, which is mostly water content. Add whatever vegetables and toppings you’d like to your salad and lightly dress it (too much dressing will drown the salad in an excess of sugar). Sometimes the sandwich station will have cold, sliced up grilled chicken that you can place on top of your salad for protein, or you can get a piece of chicken hot off the grill by the burgers. Regardless, it is important you eat some form of protein whether it is meat, legumes, or tofu.

            2) Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are definitely one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. They’re chalked full of complex carbohydrates as well as other nutrients that are essential to your health. Also, sweet potatoes, with their dark orange pulp, contain something called beta-carotene, which provides us with ample vitamin A. Adding a small pat of butter and maybe even some brown sugar to your sweet potato will spruce up the flavor and still make it a much healthier alternative to a regular potato.

            3) Chocolate Milk*: If you’re craving something sweet, get a glass of chocolate milk instead of heading to the dessert bar. It’s a great source of calcium and chocolate in moderation can actually be healthy for you. It’s full of vitamins and antioxidants, as well as the neurotransmitter called serotonin, which boosts feelings of well-being and happiness. Also, chocolate naturally contains caffeine, so it’s good if you know you’re going to have a late night ahead of you.

*Studies have shown that chocolate milk is also an awesome post-workout recovery drink. It strengthens bones and builds muscle mass, as well as aids in faster muscle recovery. It contains double the carbohydrate and protein content and replaces fluids lost to sweating, which in turn prevents dehydration. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman says chocolate milk is her recovery drink of choice after a hard day of training. 

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