In an effort to avoid the freshman 15 (and sophomore, junior and senior 15) and feel your best, a healthy diet is key in college. However, with the often overwhelming amount of choices a dining plan gives (and the $5 mozzarella sticks) making healthy choices is not always so simple. Here are some tips for navigating Hofstra’s dining plan to make healthy choices.
*We are not doctors or nutritionists. This is based purely off of the writer’s experience with Hofstra’s dining and her medical diet plan. Consult with a doctor or certified nutritionist for medical advice
Utilize the salad bar.
Hofstra has three salad bars: one in the student center, one in the Netherlands at Oak Street Cafe, and one at Bits and Bytes. Salad bars are a great way to get all your veggies in and also fill you up. Just watch the dressings as they can make a salad more unhealthy than a burger! Pop some grilled chicken or hard boiled egg on top to add some protein and fill you up.
Pass on the Grill station.
The Grill station in the Student Center gets me every time. Who doesn't want mozzarella sticks and a burger? But it is the greasiest and most deep fried place on campus. Avoid it and go for a rice bowl at Freshens or a sandwich at Au Bon Pain instead. It is healthier and better tasting in the end!
Focus on portion control.
Just because food is available doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Self serve locations, like the Chinese food station in the student center, are easy traps to overeat. Only take a little bit to start- you can always go back for more if necessary.
Avoid sugary drinks.
These are the real devil IMO. A Snapple could have 38 grams of sugar or more in one bottle. It also rots your teeth and skyrockets your blood sugar level - neither of which is good for you. The rows of juices, teas, sodas and energy drinks are the worst temptation, but if you pass on those and just go with a lemon seltzer water you can trick your mind into thinking you are having a sugary soda when you are having just the opposite. Plain water is just as good, too!
Remember blended fruit can be worse than soda.
Yes, that’s right! Your favorite Freshens and Red Mango smoothies can have more sugar than a bottle of soda! Just because there is fruit in it doesn’t mean it is healthy for you. Fruit is high in sugar, so a smoothie that's loaded with fruit will have much more sugar than the recommended serving size. Instead, eat one apple, a cup of strawberries and a banana, trust me, you will be much more full.
Consider whole foods vs. packaged foods.
The more food you eat that is a whole food, like a salad or a chicken breast, the better. Bread isn’t a whole food as it has 10+ ingredients in it, some of which are ingredients you don’t need to eat. You will see this a lot at Dutch Treats, so be warned. Stick to whole foods for healthier options, and when you look at packaged foods, look for granola bars, cereals and breads with 5 ingredients or less.
So.. what should you eat?
Whatever you want. Really! But, if you want to make healthier choices we’ve got some perfect options.
- Scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, and fresh fruit (Student Center)
- Egg white sandwich + fresh fruit (Au Bon Pain)
- Salad bar with chicken (Student Center, Bits and Bytes, Oak Street Cafe)
- Rice Bowl with brown rice and dressing on the side (Freshens)
- Any turkey or chicken sandwich with light sauces on a whole grain bread (Oak Street Cafe)
- Grab and Go salads with a protein like egg or chicken (Find at any cooler on campus)
- Salmon dinner with green veggies or side salad bar (Student Center)
- Turkey burger (Smashburger)
- Mixed cooked vegetables (the greener the better) and grilled chicken (Student center Grill + Student choice stations)
- Grab & Go Caprese Salad
- Grab & Go Vegan Quinoa Salad
- Grab & Go Fruit Cup
- Larabars (They have 5 ingredients or less)
- Grab & Go Cheese and Crackers
- Trail Mix with dried fruit and no M&M’s