Lifestyles Center Blog

SURVIVOR SERIES: SURVIVING THE DINING HALL

If you’ve got a meal plan and you’ve ever visited the campus dining halls, you know that there are some really awesome meals. Regardless of this though, students should realize the intakes they are making towards their body. In the dining hall the lines of what is and what is not healthy are blurred. For some meals, things that look like great vegetables may be covered in oils or other, not-great toppings. With these types, it will become much more manageable to eat smart and in return, healthy, in the dining halls:

  1.   Use the services provided to you. Student meal plans can be costly, take advantage of all the school has to offer by using services like the website which offers multiple features including nutrition facts and an interactive chart showing you accumulated nutrition from each of your meals (link).
  2.   Limit plate allowances. Giving yourself a limit to how many plates (whether it be small, large, or bowl-like), means that the amount of food you can accumulate and eat will be limited. This option can also be enhanced by not taking a tray.
  3.   Understand symbols. While certainly advertised, the dining hall does offer some options that have limited calories (below 500 have a heart symbol), are vegetarian (symbolized by a vegetable symbol), while also offering gluten-free and vegan options, as well. Notice these and the dining hall gets a lot easier to navigate.
  4.   Be smart. While menu items may seem appetizing and delicious, thinking before you thoughtlessly grab for an item can prevent you from picking up needless calories and sugar. Quickly, one can notice things that are breaded, buttered, or fried as poor food options. Not necessarily swearing it off, you could also ask for half proportions.
  5.   Never skip a meal. This is a must. Eating keeps you energized and continuously eating small meals throughout the day is better than eating really big ones at the end of the night. Use the bagged lunch the day before or day of if you can’t get up early enough or won’t be able to make it to lunch or dinner.


Riley Ackley, Peer Educator