9 tips for eating healthy in UK dining halls


Kernel Opinion SIG

Meghan Daniels

College dining halls hold a lot of stigma about unhealthy eating, but is it really true? Sure, there are unhealthy options like your everyday pizza bar and southern comfort food, but those aren’t all The 90 and Champions Kitchen have to offer. I decided to put the negative stigma about college dining halls to bed. Here are nine tips to eating healthy in the dining halls at UK:

Portion control

The average American tends to exceed the recommendations of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium, yet under-eats important nutrients needed to sustain themselves. When eating in the dining hall, it is important to make sure that you’re eating the things that are good for you first, like protein, vegetables and fruits, and less foods that are processed, like fries, cookies, cakes and pizza.

Self control

The hardest thing about eating healthy in the dining halls is having to walk past your favorite foods and ignore them. If kicking cravings is one of your biggest obstacles, when you want pizza, say to yourself, “It’s okay, I can have some later.” This way you’re not denying yourself; you’re just simply putting the craving off for another time.

Seek out healthier alternatives

There is always a healthier alternative to those sugar-packed, fat-packed sweets. If you are craving something sweet after dinner, try yogurt. There are many fun toppings to put on it, like granola, fruit, honey and dark chocolate chips. There are always alternatives; you just have to be creative.

Stop drinking your calories

On average, Americans drink 400 daily calories from beverages alone. Just by substituting your soda or lemonade for water, you can cut your calorie consumption significantly. If you feel that you need to drink something flavored, try sugar/calorie free sweeteners, like Mio.

Stay away from sauces

Sauces are packed with empty calories, along with a hoard of sugar and saturated fats. The best solution to this is eliminating sauces as much as you can, or substitute them for something else, like avocado, oil and vinegar or spices.

Make dessert special

For those who have a sweet tooth, dessert can be the best part of a meal. However, you know what makes dessert even better? When you don’t have it very often and you allow yourself to have that cookie you’ve been craving for the past few days. It makes splurging that much better.

Slow down

There’s no need to rush through your meals. Enjoy your food, and let yourself notice when you’re starting to feel full.

Think ‘whole’ foods

One of the biggest contributors to empty calories and nutrient deprivation are those that are “handled” the most. Before you choose a food, think about the process it went through to get into the form it’s presently in. The fewer steps that were taken to prepare the food, the better.

Schedule splurges

Schedule a cheat day. It’s important to have self discipline, but it’s also important to allow yourself a reward sometimes.