Easy-to-follow Tips for Eating Healthy on a College Campus

January 28, 2011 · 1 comment

This is a guest post by Brian Jenkins.

Eating healthy on a college campus doesn’t have to be a difficult task. These days most college campus dining halls provide healthy options. Just remember: even though dining halls might be all-you-can eat, you shouldn’t take that as a challenge! Eat in moderation, and don’t turn eating into a hobby. Simply avoid student union fast food joints, residence hall vending machines, and late night study snacks.

Listen to Your Stomach

Just eat what your body needs at the moment. When you feel satisfied, simply stop eating. Don’t keep eating until your stomach feels full. You can avoid a lot of calories with this healthy strategy. Before you get a second helping, ask yourself if you’re really still hungry.

You don’t have to completely give up eating ice cream and cake. Just eat them only once in a while and in moderation. Eat them slowly and savor them. You only have taste buds on your tongue, so make sure you chew! You’ll consume less food by eating it slowly. Also, if possible, use a small plate for meals. People tend to fill up large plates with more food than is necessary.


Eat a balance of vegetarian proteins or lean meats and fish. In terms of carbohydrates, stick to high fiber carbs and whole grains. And although you’ve probably heard it a million times before, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Food and Drinks to Avoid

  • The skin on chicken meat, which is loaded with fat.
  • Refined carbohydrates, high-fat foods, and high-sugar foods.
  • Sauces in Chinese food, which are typically loaded with fat.
  • Fried foods.
  • High calorie desserts.
  • Obviously, don’t eat junk food. They call it junk food for a reason!
  • Some coffee drinks have as many calories as a meal should contain.
  • Whole milk
  • Alcohol, unless you want to end up in alcohol detox centers.


Mayonnaise is very fatty and ketchup typically includes a lot of unhealthy high fructose corn syrup. Use mustard when it makes sense. Cheese is fattening, so if you’re going to add cheese to your food, use grated Parmesan; it’s packed with flavor so you use a lot less of it. Salsa and vinegar are also good choices for adding some flavor to food. If you’re going to eat pizza, make sure it has thin crust. Thin crust pizza is very tasty and contains far fewer carbs than deep dish varieties.

Some dishes at dining halls seems to be healthy because they include a few vegetables; however, many of these may still include a lot of fat. Cooked vegetables are often doused with butter. Talk with the dining hall head cook and find out which dishes contain a lot of fat.

Salad Bar

If the dining hall has a salad bar, make low calorie salads. Pile on the dark leafy lettuces and other vegetables. Avoid creamy dressings. Select a low calorie dressing such as a vinaigrette and use just enough to lightly coat the salad ingredients.


If you’re determined to have a snack, then try these healthy alternatives. (But not all at once!):

  • Canned fruit in light syrup
  • Fresh fruit
  • Nuts (in small quantities)
  • Soup
  • Celery
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Graham crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Dried fruit

Unhealthy Snacks

Here’s a really good tip for avoiding unhealthy snacks: Don’t buy them! Eating out of an open box of cookies or crackers can amount to 500 to 800 calories in one snack session. If you do choose an unhealthy snack, take out only a small portion and put the container away.


Alcohol is packed with calories. One beer contains approximately 150 of them. If you’re going to drink, have a light beer. Besides the calories, alcohol lowers the amount of fat your body burns to make energy. Instead of being stored as fat, most of the alcohol is converted to a substance known as acetate. When acetate levels rise, your body burns more acetate and less fat. If you’re going to drink, consider having an occasional beer or glass of wine (that is, of course, if you’re of drinking age).

Late Night Eating

A study conducted in 2005 showed that eating between 8 pm and 4 am was a leading contributor to weight gain. So don’t have a fourth meal!

While going to college, study, have some fun, have an exercise routine, and eat healthy.

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{ 1 comment }

kathyj333 January 29, 2011 at 9:15 am

Great post, John. And I love the cartoons.

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