Good Eats

 

One of the most difficult adjustments to college living is managing a healthy and balanced diet.  Since we are no longer able to depend on our parents to determine portion sizes or require “no thank you helpings” of veggies it can be difficult to hold back on that order of Bistro fries.  Sometimes it feels like the only option for healthy eating is off campus (see Whole Foods and Trader Joes only a few miles away) however, there are a few healthy gems hidden away between the questionable packaged meals of the Cave and the dessert Mecca of Mather. 

Let’s start with the most dismal of healthy food options: Mather.  Normally, I beeline straight for the salad bar and the pizza (who doesn’t love those pizza rolls?), not a great choice but still better than the mystery meat on that cutting board.  Last year I made a discovery that completely altered my opinion of Mather: do it yourself stir-fry.  You don’t have to be the Barefoot Contessa to make a tasty wok concoction, all you need is some veggies from the salad bar (I go for broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, corn, and carrots), a spoonful of rice from the pasta bar, and chicken (or if you want a vegetarian option the tofu from the salad bar is great too).  Add all of your ingredients into the wok with a dash of olive oil (*important to add some sort of oil otherwise you’re going to start a fire in Mather), flavor to taste (soy sauce, sesame seeds, and ground pepper), and stir until the veggies are cooked to your liking.  This surprisingly satisfying meal combines a healthy serving of greens, protein and starches.

Next up on the totem poll of healthy options is the Cave; notorious for mile long common hour lunch lines and snacks on snacks on snacks.  While food at the Cave is often individually packaged, one can always choose to order a sandwich or something from the grill.  This year they started offering an Asian-Inspired Infusion, Sushi, and Gluten-free bread as alternatives to the traditional deli sandwich.  My choice for a healthy lunch can be found in two forms: the first, an avocado and cucumber sushi roll, fruit cup, and a juice or I opt for a soup of the day (I live for the tomato basil bisque) and a grape/cheese/cracker cup with a water.  The Cave has also amped up their pre-packaged salads, although still not up to par with the Bistro.  As long as you can avoid the deep-fried or processed foods you can often piece together a nutritious mid-day meal without too much headache.

Finally, the best food on campus can be found at the Bistro, from the smoothies to infusion everything at the Bistro looks and tastes better.  I was recently convinced to try the Hippie Chic sandwich- Portobello mushroom, tomato, red onion, pesto mayo, goat cheese, and greens served on a hearty, toasted muli-grain roll.  It was awesome.  It a good idea to lessen consumption of cold cuts to once or twice a week and even the substitution of regular cheese to goat cheese will make a big difference- it has less fat, and is higher in protein and calcium.  When I want a filling but balanced dinner I opt for infusion, the gilled chicken is always a hit and I try to pair it with a least one vegetable option (broccoli) and a starch (love the baked potatoes).  Although this takes more time than ordering a sandwich or making a salad I feel like if I’m going to make the trek to the other side of campus I want it to be worth it.  Of course, nothing beats the salad bar at the Bistro.  Almost everything in the salad bar can be mixed and topped with grilled chicken from the deli line for a great lunch or side for a meal.

With a conscious mind you can make a plethora of healthy food choices, of course a little work in the gym will help keep those lbs off during this winter bread-craving season. Happy eating!