I have the college luxury of being able to cook my own meals, but for 2 years I suffered eating dining hall food, so I understand what a pain it can be to enjoy what you’re eating, never mind eating healthy. Last year at my school—when I wasn’t eating meat—I asked if the dining hall (who claimed to be really open to conversation) could start serving healthier options for the meat-less. A pasta-lifestyle does not a healthy diet make. Let’s just say I was shocked at the push back I got from a certain head chef who “claimed” they cared about the health of her students. It was appalling and still makes my blood boil. The cooks practically went out of their way to make healthy food unappealing. Eating healthy doesn’t need to be overly expensive, per say, but it is a lot cheaper to feed everyone pizza and chicken nuggets than fresh food. It’s a sad truism in this country. It seemed Sodexo (the notorious food provider we had) was more interested in saving a buck, getting rebates from the junk snacks they were hocking at us, and being lazy in their chef prep skills. Thankfully, there are ways to navigate the pizza, fries, burgers, and soft-serve machine. One of the first things I started doing was incorporating a salad into my lunch and dinner. I allowed myself to eat what the main course was, but filling up with good for me foods beforehand helped me cut down on the greasy, buttery, salty, laxative (mmmhmmm) laden food.
Now, salads can seem really boring, but once you get used to eating them I guarantee you’ll crave them. For starters, you need to make a real, healthy salad. Ditch the ice berg lettuce and try using the darker, leafy greens, as these are true super foods! Add in hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, baby corn, mushrooms, onions (bring gum), olives, etc. Sliced apples, mandarin oranges, and pears are a nice added touch. Nix the croutons, bacon bits, and cheese. If you want something sprinkled on top try dried cranberries or sliced nuts. And for Pete’s sake, no more calorie heavy dressings like ranch, Italian, or Catalina! Why undo all your hard work by slathering it in gunk? Instead drizzle on some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You’ll feel fresh and light afterward, and since your stomach registers volumes you won’t be as ravenous.
At the same time, accept the fact that your body will crave different things during different times of the year. A lot of it is weather dependent. Most people like eating salads, fruits, and raw vegetables during the hot summer months and warm, hearty foods during the winter. During the fall season you have to practically force a salad down my throat, but oddly enough, come winter, I’m back on the greens. We’re all wired differently, but I can safely say that most of us could use more salads in our lives.
Only get ice cream or a dessert one day of the week.
Even if it kills you, get up in time to have a sit down breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, milk, juice, yogurt, etc, whatever you want. Don’t be the student who’s always grabbing a bagel on the run; trust me, your waist will thank you.
Wean yourself off of sugary sodas and juices by starting each meal with at least one glass of water.
Grab fruit like bananas, oranges, and apples for mid-day snacks.
Peel Away ❤