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How to Eat Healthy on a Meal Plan

While there is so much to love about college, there is also something dreaded that comes with being a student: the freshman 15. Balancing school, work, and an active social life is already near impossible, but throw healthy eating into the mix and its impossible. If you live off campus, there is some hope. How and what you eat is completely in your control and it can be easier to work towards a healthy lifestyle; however, if you’re stuck on campus, that means you’re also stuck with a meal plan. Now at first, it’s enjoyable. With one swipe of your card you have access to unlimited food, but as time goes on, you’re suddenly it with the realization that not only is the selection small but if you want to try eating healthier, it seems almost impossible. Here are some tips to try eating healthy on a meal plan:

  • Just because things are served together, doesn’t mean you need to get everything! What I have found to be common is that foods will be served together as a meal. For example, if there is a chicken, mashed potatoes, and veggies being served, only ask for the veggies and chicken.
  • Get ready for the salad bar to become your best friend. Thankfully Taos offers an array choices from already made Caesar salad to various selections of greensand veggies. Now, in order to eat healthy doesn’t necessarily mean salads all day everyday, but  it is a nice segway into cleaner eating. To avoid getting burned out on salads, try spicing them up using other ingredients from around the cafeteria. For example, one day I took lemon cooked chicken, cut it up, and sprinkled it over my salad to make a quick, improvised chicken salad.
  • Cut out bad carbs, but don’t feel like you’re letting them go forever.  From ice cream machines to the cakery, there is never a shortage of sweet treats; however, sticking to healthy diet means unfortunately having to cut down on indulgences. I know, this can be the hardest part but it’s important to remember that when it comes down to it, food is fuel for our bodies and when you take in an excessive of heavy foods, it can weigh you down. That being said, I’m not saying the only way to be healthy is to never indulge, that’s impossible! Just focus on portions and slightly healthier options.
  • Do what works for you! No one knows your body better than you do, but always make sure to consult with a medical professional before making huge changes in lifestyle. Try what works and if it doesn’t then try something new. This is of course a bigger challenge on a meal plan, but it can be done.

Eating healthy can be hard, no doubt about it, and eating healthy on a meal plan may seem impossible, but trust me, it can be done. It will take some getting used to but the results are well worth the work. 

Student at NMSU double majoring in Journalism and Government. 
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