How to Eat Healthy at Locke's

Eating healthy does not have to be boring and it should not feel like a chore. It shouldn’t feel like something you are forcing yourself to do or it will be that much harder to stay consistent. As college students, it can be especially difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle because of our tight schedules and barely having the time to sit down and eat a proper meal. Even if you do not have the time to sit down, instead of grabbing for that bag of chips, try to grab a banana or an apple instead.

The key to healthy eating is being conscious of your choices and making sure you are adding variety to your meals. Eating healthy does not mean you have to have a salad for lunch everyday. I always aim to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein to my plate to make sure I am getting a well-rounded meal with all the right nutrients. I also try to be conscious of how whole or processed the foods I am eating are. My rule of thumb is the less processed or minimal cooking it takes to change a foods form, the healthier the option is.

 

Make a Game Plan

When you first walk into the dining hall, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of food and choices there are at your disposal. Therefore, before I even get to the dining hall, I like to make a rough plan of what I want to eat for that meal. For example, every morning I make a plan of what I am going to have for my post-workout breakfast. It always includes a bowl of mixed fruit and either a slice of multigrain toast with an omelette, or peanut butter and banana on toast. If I still do not know what I want to eat, I first take a lap around the buffet to see my options and then make the best and healthiest choice for myself. When you go in with a plan, you prevent yourself from grabbing for the first and easiest option you see, which is not always the most healthy.

 

Balance is Key

One of the hardest parts of eating healthy and being consistent is feeling like you are constantly restricted or not able to enjoy the foods you love. No one is perfect and we all crave unhealthy foods, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, moderation and balance are key. If you are sticking to a strict diet or just simply trying to only eat whole foods, consider allowing yourself one cheat meal a week or maybe a sweet after dinner twice a week. Making conscious choices and allowing yourself this occasional cheat meal will help you stay consistent with your plan because you will not feel like you are denying yourself anything. One day of conscious cheating allows you to enjoy the foods you crave and may keep you from future unhealthy behaviors.

 

Home Kitchen

If you have the time during the week or on the weekend, I would definitely recommend checking out Locke’s home kitchen. This kitchen, which is available for students use everyday from 7:30am to 10pm, is one of the easiest ways to make a healthier choice in your dining hall. Cooking your own meals allows you to be aware of the exact ingredients that are going into your dish and how the meal is prepared. I would much rather take the few extra minutes to make my own meal rather than having to question half the foods that I put onto my plate from the buffet.

 

When in doubt - Salad Bar

When all else fails, the salad bar is my best friend. I know a salad may not sound like the most appealing meal at first, but the beauty of a salad is that you can make it exactly what you want it to be. Salads do not have to be just a bowl of lettuce; take some time to find different combinations that work for you and make you excited to be eating a salad. One of my go-to salads is a mix of quinoa, shredded carrots, red onion, mixed beans, tofu, and an egg for a little extra protein on a bed of spinach leaves, topped off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I myself am a vegetarian, but you can add grilled chicken or other assortments of meat on top to give the salad some more volume.

 

QUICK MEALS/RECIPES

Unconventional Waffles

Although it does not hurt to occasionally treat yourself, if you are looking for a healthier alternative to your traditional waffle, all you need is one medium banana and two eggs. To make this waffle, mash the banana, combine it with the eggs, and just like that, it is ready to go into the waffle iron. This simple but delicious combination is the perfect way to get in a portion of your daily fruits and protein. It is even more delicious when topped off with a tablespoon of peanut butter or fresh berries such as blueberries or raspberries (if you get lucky and Locke’s actually has them).

 

Fresh Omelettes

If you make it to Locke’s for breakfast or lunch and are more than likely tired of the buffet options (or lack of), you can have a fresh, personalized omelette made just for you. Make your way to the Expo station right when you walk into the main doors and you can have your personalized omelette in 5 minutes or less. There are a variety of options as to what you can have in your omelette, but my favorite is the Protein omelette; packed with fresh veggies and proteins that provide me with a perfect post-workout meal.

 

Fried Rice / Pasta

Even if your cooking skills are not exactly on par, you can make your dishes as simple or complex as you want. The salad bar in the kitchen is often stocked with fresh ingredients and pasta, as well as a crock-pot with rice and another with a red sauce. One of my go-to recipes is fried rice. My favorite combination is rice with broccoli, spinach, tofu, and beans. If you prefer pasta, another good recipe I would recommend is a pesto pasta with spinach and tomatoes. Exact measurements are not crucial; add as much or as little of your favorite ingredients to make it just how you want it.

 

Keep in mind that making such a lifestyle shift does not happen overnight, but it takes time. You may make a few mistakes here and there, but that does not mean you should give up completely; one wrong choice does not constitute a failure. Making a meal plan or keeping a food log are probably some of the easiest ways to make sure you stay on track, but do not forget that you are allowed to treat yourself. Consider asking a friend or your partner to start a healthy eating journey with you so that you do not feel so alone in it. Cheer each other on and encourage yourselves to make healthier lifestyle choices. Start off my making the conscious effort to make better choices for one day and soon that day will turn in weeks, months, and even years.