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October 1, 2013

5 Tips for Healthy Eating on Campus

A huge thanks for the inspirational guest blogpost from Angela! Check out Angela’s blog Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat.


5 Tips for Healthy Eating on Campus
Whether you’ve already had your first day of school, or you’re heading back to campus in the next couple of weeks, use these tips to keep your healthy eating regime on track.
1. Fuel your body with wholesome, real foods.Although it may be tempting, don’t try to survive on caffeine! I became a coffee drinker in university, but I never let myself have more than about 2 cups each day. Aim to get your energy by eating a balanced diet of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. University and college dining halls tend to have much healthier choices today than 10 years ago, and don’t forget that you can also stock your dorm room each week with fruits, veggies, and other nutritious choices from nearby grocery stores.
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2. Make wise choices in the dining hall. I was on a meal plan in university, so one of the first things I did was figure out where the healthiest on-campus dining areas were. This ended up being the sandwich station, salad bar, and Pita Pit. Sure, the salad bar was probably the most expensive choice in the place. However, it had a lot of things like mixed greens, veggies, hard boiled eggs, tofu, sunflower seeds, and chickpeas that could be thrown together to make a healthy but filling meal. Keep your dressings light – try balsamic vinegar with a little olive oil, and aim to steer clear of the thick creamy ones.

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If you’re ordering a sandwich, look for whole grain bread with lean protein like tuna, turkey or chicken breast (tofu, tempeh, and hummus make good high-protein sandwich fillings for vegetarians), and tons of veggie toppings. When ordering hot foods, look for items that are baked, steamed, or grilled, rather than fried or breaded.

3. Stock your dorm with a few key items.Many dorm-style residence buildings have shared kitchen areas, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of them. Keep a bin in your room with the following cooking tools:

  • A cutting board (for chopping fruits and veggies)
  • A good knife
  • A frying pan (for making stir fry dinners, pancakes, etc)
  • A small pot (for making boiled eggs, veggies, and pasta)
  • A flipper
  • A can opener
  • A dish towel
  • Cutlery, a plate, and a bowl
  • Dish soap (yes, you’ll need to wash your dishes!)

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4. Keep healthy snacks on hand.Here are a couple of ideas that either keep well on a shelf or in your dorm fridge:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole grain cereal and oats (especially Love Grown Foods oat clusters, hot oats, and super oats!)
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Canned tuna
  • Whole grain granola bars
  • Low sodium canned soups
  • Dried fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Hummus
  • Hard-boiled eggs (to be kept in your fridge)
  • Whole pieces of fruit and veggies that are bought on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, chopped, and eaten raw.
  • Tea bags


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5. Find like-minded friends.One of the best choices I made in my first year was to join my university’s varsity cross country team. Not only did I get to keep progressing with my running, but I also met a ton of friends who had the same values and interests as me. As varsity athletes, we had to make sure we ate well in order to perform well. When you surround yourself with like-minded friends, positive energy builds and positive influence spreads. Research has shown that people who dine with friends that choose healthier foods are more likely to do the same, so find some like-minded buddies to eat with!
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Now tell me, what are some of your strategies for eating healthy as a student?