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Buffet Your Way Buff

Do you ever walk into Stav only to be drawn in by the sweet aroma of sweet potato fries, the savory waft of pepperoni pizza, or the decadent looking cakes and puddings? Do you panic and start to fill your plate with mashed potatoes, chips, and pasta? Luckily, now you have a handy guide to refer to during those moments of sheer panic and confusion.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

You want to fill at least half of your plate with greens and non-starchy vegetables. These are the foods that will fill you up the most have the lowest calorie density due to their high water content. Foods from this category that you can find in Stav include:

  • Zucchini/summer squash

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Spinach

  • Carrots

  • Peppers

  • Cucumbers

  • Mushrooms

  • Tomatoes

  • Onions

All of these foods can consistently be found in the Caf. Check the salad bar, the cooked vegetable station next to the pizza, and the sandwich bar for consistent options. For an element of surprise, check the home line and grains for other cooked vegetables. Go for the most colorful veggies and aim to choose those that are not drenched in oil, dressings, butter, or cheese. Steamed or grilled is the best way to go.

Starchy Veg/Grains

These foods are higher in calories per gram because of their lower water content and higher glycemic index. However, they are still an important part of any diet because when your body needs quick energy these are the stores that are initially tapped into for instant fuel. Where can you find this in the caf, you ask?

  • Sweet potatoes (sometimes in Grains/Home)

  • Brown rice (Bowls)

  • Squash (sometimes in Home/Tortillas)

  • Quinoa (Salad Line/Prepared Salads)

  • Oats (Either raw above the Salad Line or cooked at breakfast)

  • Potatoes (sometimes in Home/Grains)

  • Peas (Salad Line)

  • Granola (Cereal Station)

  • Whole wheat bread (By the toasters)

  • Corn (Home Line)


Although there is a common misconception that you need an abundant amount of protein every day, this nutrient source should really only fill about 20% of your plate. Here are some healthy protein sources that are regularly offered in the caf, including a plethora of vegetarian-friendly options!

  • Tofu (Salad Line, Bowls)

  • Tempeh (sometimes in Grains)

  • Chickpeas/Hummus (Grains Line, Sandwich line)

  • Black beans (Salad Line)

  • Quinoa (sometimes in salad line/pre-made salads, Grains Line)

  • Black bean burgers (Grill Line)

  • Edamame (sometimes in Salad Line)

  • Lentils (sometimes in Soup)

  • Fish (sometimes in Home, Tortilla Line)

  • Chicken (Grill)

  • Turkey (Home)


Fats are easy to overdo because they have such a high calorie density per gram, so be careful on portion sizes. You really need only a small serving with each meal. Some tasty fat sources that can transform a meal include:

  • Sunflower seeds/Pepitas (Salad Line)

  • Natural peanut butter (near the soup)

  • Dressing (Salad Line)

  • Avocados (rarely do we ever get so lucky)

  • Feta Cheese (Grains)

  • Olive Oil (Salad Line)

  • Olives (Salad Line)

  • Full-Fat Yogurt

Take a photo of this guide for a quick reminder of all of the healthy options readily available to you in those moments where you need a little inspiration pick-me-up. Remember that Carleton is always an option when you’re craving a change of scenery. Most importantly, moderation is key!





Cover Image by Sena Spinella


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