College Dining

Your new freedom and the overwhelming number of dining options can make it difficult to stick to a healthy eating plan. Use the tips in this section to help you choose healthier options.

Make a plan before you eat:

  • Check out the available options before filling your plate.  Most colleges have nutrition information posted online or in the dining facilities so you can compare your options.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, then select the rest of your meal.
  • Be creative and utilize different dining options to avoid eating pizza or nachos every day.
  • Mix and match your menu to create the healthy meal you want.  For example, start with cooked vegetables and brown rice from the stir-fry station, then top it with a grilled chicken breast from the carving station. 
  • Get the most out of your dining plan by taking a piece of fruit to snack on later. 
  • Use your school's suggestion box to request healthier menu items, or to suggest ways they can improve the items they have.  Campuses are always looking for ways to make students happy! 
Prevent overeating with healthy portion sizes:
  • Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate when dining from a buffet.
  • Skip the tray and carry each item separately.  This will keep you from piling extra food onto your plate.
Don't drink your calories:
  • Drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help you stay energized and may curb snack attacks.
  • Choose water, unsweetened tea, coffee, milk, and small amounts of 100% fruit juice instead of sodas or energy drinks.
  • Remember that alcoholic beverages have extra calories.  Drink responsibly and in moderation.
Plan ahead for your treats:
  • Limit indulgent desserts to one day a week and choose fruit on other days.
  • Share large treats with a friend, or save half for another day.
  • Plan ahead with healthier treats so you don't binge during times of stress.  Stock your dorm room with low-sugar instant oatmeal, nuts and seeds, cheese sticks, low-sugar yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables.