Eating Healthy at the Café


Eating Healthy at the Café

By: Tia Hildebrandt

Living on a campus with a beach has its perks.  If you want to dig your feet into the sand while working on Calculus homework, you can.  You want to hang in a hammock and read Fifty Shades of Grey, go for it!  Unfortunately, with no cold winter months in sight, the pressure to have the best “beach bod” lingers all year long.  The “freshman fifteen” becomes a reoccurring nightmare for girls. 

It is easy for girls to become overly critical of their bodies since the campus is crawling with beach bums in bikinis.  However, these images of literally skin and bone are unrealistic and ridiculous.  That said, staying fit, active, and healthy should be more of a priority to college students.  I realize that it is difficult to stay healthy with the café’s unhealthy servings of pasta and pizza for every meal, but I have been determined to stick to my healthy eating habits.  Eating healthy is simply not something worth sacrificing while at college.  Even though many students complain about the food (including yours truly), I have found that the café can actually be a beneficial tool in your endeavor to stay healthy.

Now I realize that this is hard since pizza and pasta are served nearly every meal, and to be honest, some days they are the only food that looks appetizing.  I will also acknowledge that the desert is always point on and super tasty (why is it that the unhealthy foods always taste the best?).  However, I found that it is okay to allow yourself to enjoy these “junk food” items in moderation.  Eating in moderation is an important aspect of staying healthy since too much or too little of one thing is never good.  Pick one meal -- breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- to allow yourself a dessert item.  My policy is, if you have had a stressful day, go for that second piece of cake. 

Additionally, it is crucial that you aim for balance when you choose your meals for the day.  You should be eating from every food group (protein, dairy, grain, fruit/vegetable) every day.  The Café always serves yogurt (fruit and plain) and fresh fruit (cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple) every morning for breakfast.  These foods fill you up and give you energy for the day.  Utilize Saturday morning breakfasts as well since the café always seems to up their fruit game with grapes and sometimes strawberries.  If you are a fruit fan, you are in luck because the café is usually stocked with apples, pears, and peaches throughout the week.  If you are a veggie fan, you can benefit from the café’s salad bar.  During lunch and dinner, the salad bar not only serves the typical salad items (lettuce, tomatoes, etc.) but cut up veggies (broccoli and cauliflower) are also available.  Dried cranberries can also be found in the salad bar.

At first glance the Café seems like an endless pit of “junk food” and bad decisions.  However, it is clearly possible to maintain healthy eating habits while at college.  By eating pasta, pizza, fries, and desserts in moderation and choosing a balanced plate of food at each meal, college students can easily stay healthy.  It is important to take advantage of all the Café has to offer and get creative when eating meals.  Next time you go, try mixing dried cranberries, honey nut cheerios, and chocolate chips to create the perfect homemade trail mix to snack on throughout the day. Use the Café to your benefit and stay optimistic!