College Meal Plans: 5 Ways to Eat Healthy on Campus

Going to college is a drastic change from what you’re used to. You are planning your day, living alone, and making your own meal plans. Before you know it you’re looking in the mirror and not liking what you see.

Should you go on a diet for college students? Diets are never easy to follow, and no one hates being told what they can and can’t eat. With diets being a challenge to the majority of the American population, you can only imagine how difficult a diet would be to a college freshman who is on a meal plan.

Luckily, there are a few great ways for students to manage their college meal plans without gaining weight.

If you have a college meal plan…

Chances are that if your cafeteria has a Mongolian Barbeque, Burger Grill, Pizza and Pasta Bar like mine does, you’re probably not eating salad and fruits. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re going to have to change your eating habits if you want to stay healthy, lose weight, or simply avoid the freshman 15.

  • Step 1: Color Your Plate

In spite of all the grease and fat your dining halls are handing out, believe it or not you can use your college meal plan for healthy options too. Base your meals on low-calorie foods. Make sure you’re adding color to your plate – this means veggies, fruits and salad. Make sure you’re getting a lean protein in there so try to eat chicken, turkey or fish. If you eat these healthier options the majority of the time then you shouldn’t feel bad about occasionally eating a slice of pizza.

  • Step 2: You Don’t Need More Flavor

A lot of people don’t know this, but a lot of fat comes from the condiments you dump on your salads, spread onto your bread or dip your chicken nuggets in while eating in your college cafeteria. You’ll see yourself gradually gaining weight if you don’t limit your use of topping and condiments such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, barbeque sauce, ketchup, oil, heavy dressings such as ranch, blue-cheese or thousand island, and other toppings like peanut butter, gravy, sour cream and cream cheese.

  • Step 3: Monitor Your Portions

Make sure you don’t over eat, a lot of college meal plans offer the “all you can eat” buffets, but you don’t have to stuff your face. Listen to your body; eating is not like exercising so when you’re full don’t try to push it a little further.

Start by only taking small portions, if you’re still hungry you can always come back for more. This way, you’re more likely to stop eating when you’re satisfied and not necessarily when your plate is clean.

  • Step 4: Stay Away From Sugary Drinks

Water is not your enemy; it’s your friend. By drinking more water, or more low-calorie beverages, you can keep those extra calories at bay. Make sure you aren’t drinking too much soda, smoothies, milkshakes, juice, sweetened coffee, or even milk.

There is a lot of sugar in all of those drinks, it’s basically liquid candy. Instead, substitute it with water or tea. Just like with food, having unhealthy drinks once in a while isn’t going to hurt, just don’t make it a habit.

  • Step 5: Don’t Skip Meals

This is probably one of the absolute most important steps. Don’t skip meals! Missing meals causes you to be extremely hungry, this will make it easier to cave into your cravings and overeat. If you make a rough eating schedule and train your body to expect meals three times a day, then it will be more difficult to skip.

  • Step 6: Slower is better

Eat slowly! This means you should allow yourself enough time to eat and not get in the habit of scarfing down your food five minutes before you have to go to class. It can take up to 20 minutes before your body feels full. Have you ever been in a food coma? It usually happens when you eat fast and stuff your face. So slow down! Try to savor each bite and enjoy your food.

  • Step 7: Work it out

Any diet you hear about that does not involve exercise will not give you long-term results. Participate in a physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably an hour. Jog, swim, bike, weight train…anything!

Are crash diets necessary for college students?

No, just use your college meal plans to eat healthy, If you’re thinking about doing a crash diet, don’t do it. A crash diet will not help you in the long run.

A healthy diet should be a part of your lifestyle. You should always eat right and exercise. Check out the website below, there’s an example that will show you where your calorie target should be and what kind of food you should be eating.

A great 1200 calorie diet for a college student. 

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty is a Senior at the University of California, Davis. After graduating in June she hopes to find or invent a career that will utilize her love for writing, spending money and making people laugh. In her spare time you can find her crafting things off of Pinterest, swimming, line-dancing or watching re-runs of “Friends.”