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Doing D-Hall right: how to eat healthy on campus

We all know the feeling at the end of the first week of class: realizing that for the next three months you’ll most likely be posted up in the library, agonizing over the loads of work assigned by our beloved professors. While it may be too late to use the “it’s syllabus week” excuse to go out Tuesday through Sunday, it is never to late to start working on the New Years resolution that coming back to school ha s seemed to push far to the back of our minds: losing weight for spring break or summer, to impress guy you’ve had your eye on, and my personal favorite, a Myrtle Beach trip at the conclusion of finals.

With the work starting to pile up already, we all begin to resort to excuses that we don’t have time to work out: it’s too cold to walk to the ASFC, or that you’ll go tomorrow. While working out is an important factor to losing weight, diet goes hand-in-hand and is much more in your control because—let’s face it—everyone’s got to eat. For those who live in spaces with their own kitchens, eating healthier is very much up to them with the choice of buying and preparing their own food. To the many stuck on campus, here’s a few guidelines to start trimming out the excess in your diet in order to slim down your figure.

  • Avoid Pandini’s at all costs

Girls, just don’t do it. Eating at Pandini’s is asking your body to digest fried, processed, delicious, calorie-laden food. Next to the pasta, salad, and tenders section is a board listing all of the caloric values of the meals and other various food items served by Pandini’s. It isn’t pretty. Instead of getting mozzarella sticks and the three-cheese panini, opt for the make-your-own salad with the dressing on the side. For those of you who were here last year, the salad bar has been increased extensively and provides the opportunity to create something delicious. If you choose to get pasta, ask for whole-wheat penne and say no to the cheese on top.

  • Resist the urge to get 5 plates of food at D-Hall

Perhaps the worst thing about buffet style d-hall is that everything looks so appealing and you can just keep getting more, and more, and more. Try going into your meal with an idea of what you are going to get. If you’re not sure, take a circle around all of D-hall to see what each section has to offer. That way if you already have a wrap and realize you want the special in Kivo, you won’t be tempted to eat both. Eat slowly, finish what you have in front of you, and wait a bit to see if you feel full before getting up to get a plate of fries because you think you’re still hungry.

  • Be mindful of your choices at D-Hall

Simple carbohydrates, sugars, and oils are hidden in a lot of cafeteria food. Pita and hummus might seem like you aren’t eating a lot but be aware that the pitas are made from white flour and that most store-bought hummus has between 70 and 100 calories per two tablespoons. The tofu in the vegetarian section of Sustenance is usually fried, defeating the purpose of choosing tofu as a low calorie option. Try to fill your plate with as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible to reduce the chance of unnecessary oils and sugars that are used commonly to cook fruit and vegetables. Also, remember that wraps are loaded with simple carbs. Usually there is a lot of excess wrap not necessary to hold all the food in that can be cut off.

  • Try to cut out animal products from your diet

Quesadillas, chicken tenders, and burgers are easy meals to resort to but one of the quickest, healthiest, and the most-eco friendly way to lose weight is to cut meat and other animal byproducts out of your diet. Many will argue that it’s not healthy to do so because you will not be getting enough protein in your diet, or that it is impossible to do soas an athlete. This is not the case; there is a multitude of literature on the positive health effects of going vegetarian and vegan that can be explored. Going vegetarian is daunting but simply cutting back on your intake of meat and cheese can have a huge effect. When the wrap-lady asks if you want cheese, say no three out of five days. Try to limit having meat to only once a day, or a few times a week.

  • Do your best to avoid late-night snacking

We’ve allbeen there: stuck in the library at night, up late doing homework in your room, back late from a night out at the lofts. Try to avoid the late night snacks that call to you from your food stashes. Aneasy way is to just not have snack foods at your immediate disposal. If possible, keep healthier options around like carrot sticks or other raw vegetables and fruit.

  • Carry a water bottle, everywhere

Staying hydrated is key to losing weight. Keep a full water bottle on you at all times. Many times the feeling of being hungry is in fact that you are thirsty. Instead of buying bottled water, go out and buy a cute water bottle so that you’ll want to carry it everywhere while being eco-friendly. An added bonus is that you’re sure to be hydrated if you do choose to go work out.

These are just a few of the many ways to start gleaning your diet of excess fats, carbohydrates, oils, and sugars. The most important thing is to be aware of what you’re eating. Remember that you can still eat what you want but portion control is key. Don’t restrict yourself to a plate of greens with oil and vinegar; no one can survive on that. Give yourself opportunities to indulge. Set aside a day or a meal to eat what you’ve been craving. Reward yourself, keep your goals in mind, and know that its OK to slip up sometimes, just don’t let it discourage you from keeping at it. 

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