“Healthy” Foods to Skip at the Dining Commons
Freshman 15 is a pain!
Everyone has heard the tale of the “Freshman 15”: unsuspecting students in their first year of college gaining 15 pounds (or more!) of weight due to diet change, increased alcohol consumption, and other new lifestyle adjustments. This phenomenon is so infamous, in fact, that many college freshmen stick to strict diets consisting of only healthy foods. However, some of the foods that they think are healthy might actually be causing the problem in the first place!
One example of fattening food disguised as a healthy choice is salad from the salad bar. Many people assume that just because they’re eating a salad, it’s healthy; this belief is far from the truth. When loaded up with creamy dressings like ranch or bleu cheese, topped with salty croutons or sugary processed fruit, and made with iceberg lettuce, a salad is capable of being just as bad for you as fast food! Instead, try choosing a dressing like vinaigrette, topping it with fresh veggies, and using a base of arugula, spinach, or romaine.
Chicken is generally regarded as a healthier choice than beef, but beware: it can be prepared in a way that will clog your arteries just like a Big Mac. The grilled chicken option for many sandwiches and pasta dishes in college cafeterias is doused in butter and oils before being put on the grill. Check out the ingredients of the dish you’re considering before choosing it… Sometimes, it’s actually smarter to go with a hamburger!
At breakfast in the dining hall, it often seems like oatmeal is healthier than the eggs, bacon, and waffles that your hallmates are enjoying. If you top it with brown sugar and sweetened-dried fruit, the negative aspects of oatmeal can add up fast! Try to use a teaspoon of honey, cinnamon, and nuts as the topping for your oats to make the meal healthier.
Every college has unique items that are made in all different kinds of ways, so this list is not necessarily universal. However, the takeaway lesson is to check out the ingredients and not assume that you’re eating healthy… Because bad meals can sneak up on you!