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We Tried to Eat Healthy in the Dining Hall for a Week, Here’s What Happened

We attempted to eat healthy in the SMU dining hall for five consecutive weekdays. Here is our feedback, so that you can know the ins and outs of surviving the entire week on a dining hall meal plan.

Day 1:

We had eaten out on the weekend, so Monday was a fresh, first day back in Umphrey Lee.

Breakfast- Greek Yogurt with granola and strawberries.

Lunch- Grilled chicken from behind the counter (ask them if you can have some chicken and there you go), rice, with a spinach and cucumber salad.

Dinner- Spinach tortilla wrapped turkey, and lettuce sandwhich with some raw veggies from the salad bar.

Day 2:

We were still going strong with our attempt to eat healthy on Tuesday, but did have to get creative after salad already felt overdone.

Breakfast- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, sliced banana, and honey on top.

Lunch- Grilled chicken with quinoa salad, including hummus, onions, tomatoes, and cucumber with olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Dinner- We headed to Arnold for some Mongolian stir fry, featuring grilled veggies, chicken, ginger, rice and a side of pineapple.

Day 3:

We got lucky, because as the lull of hump day tempted us with delicious cookies and ice cream, the dining hall had newer healthy options for us to try.

Breakfast- Egg white scramble with bacon, ham, spinach, and tomato.

Lunch- Curry spiced chicken, steamed vegetables, and pasta salad with edamame and peppers.

Dinner- Chicken Parmesan with ceasaer salad.

Day 4:

As Thursday came upon us, it was starting to get boring eating the healthier options in the dining hall, but we perservered!

Breakfast- Greek yogurt with peanut butter and sliced banana.

Lunch- Pulled pork, brown rice, spinach cucumber and quinoa salad.

Dinner- Spinach salad with quinoa, edamame, grilled chicken, and green apple slices.

Day 5:

By the last weekday in the dining hall, we gave in to having some unhealthier options, because we realized we were repeating our healthy ones.

Breakfast- Pumpkin pancakes with syrup.

Lunch- Pasta with red sauce, peppers, zuchini, onions, and mushrooms.

Dinner- Breakfast for dinner, because why not?! Eggs scrambled with cheese, onion, mushrooms, peppers, ham, and spinach, with a side of homestyle potatoes.

Our conclusion to eating healthy for a week in the dining hall:

Is it possible? Yes! Is it easy? No, not at all. We recommend keeping track of what you eat for each meal, that way you can hit every food group. Plus, you can know when to splurge and have ice cream, or run and get cookies after you hear that cookie bell ring. Remember, there are other options on campus to mix up your healthy choices. The Lawyers Inn has great salads and paninis. Chick-fil-A has a delicious salad, featuring grilled chicken and berries. Mac’s Place features salads, or get grilled chicken by ordering a grilled chicken sandwhich with no bun.

We encourage you to get creative. Don’t limit yourself to one dining hall, or even one station within a dining hall. Lastly, always walk around the dining hall to see all your meal options, before putting anything on your plate.

All photos by Avery Kout and Karna Small


Karna is a Junior at Southern Methodist University studying Public Relations, Advertising, and English. She is the Social Media Director for Her Campus SMU, as well as a member of STUMO and Alpha Chi Omega. She is from Orange County, California and loves going to the beach and spending time with her younger sisters when visiting home. When she is not studying, Karna is usually exploring Dallas, listening to country music, or updating her blog, Simply Karna.
Avery is a freshman at Southern Methodist Univeristy from Iowa and is planning to study Markteting. She is a member of SMU Student Foundation and SMU Dance Marathon. Avery enjoys playing golf, doing yoga and traveling. 
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