(BlackDoctor.org) — Why does it seem inevitable for college freshmen to succumb to the weight gain of the dreaded “Freshman 15?” There are many reasons why college students pack on the pounds. Surprisingly, one of the most common reasons is a college dining hall. The food may not be great, but it’s plentiful, and it’s not necessary very nutritious!
To help you eat as healthfully as possible in your cafeteria, here’s a guide to foods you should choose and foods you should eat only in moderation.
Healthy College Dining Hall Choices
•Fresh fruit. Cafeterias are full of processed foods, and a piece of fresh fruit is as close to nature as you’re going to find. Try to eat a piece of fruit every day. It’s also a good idea to incorporate fresh fruit into other dining hall options– like cutting a banana into a bowl of cereal, or by eating fresh strawberries with yogurt.
•The salad bar. Load up on healthy, fresh veggies as often as you can. Proceed with caution, however. Eat fatty salad toppings like cheese and croutons in moderation and avoid full-fat salad dressing (see below).
•Whole grains. Whenever possible, eat whole grain bread, cereal, pasta and tortillas. These are immensely more nutritious than products made with processed white flour. However, you may have to ask to find out if products are actually whole grain. Lots of brown breads and such are made with processed wheat flour, which is not nearly as nutritious.
•Water. Water provides an abundance of health benefits and may help fill you up. Get into the habit of drinking at least a small glass of water with every meal.
•Healthy hot or cold cereal. No, don’t eat Corn Pops every day, but eat your fill of Cheerios, shredded wheat, oatmeal and anything else that’s relatively healthy. Even if there’s some sugar in your selection, this is a much healthier breakfast habit than bacon, pancakes and other fatty choices.
•Ketchup, mustard, and other low-fat condiments. No, ketchup isn’t the best food available–it’s full of high fructose corn syrup– but a tablespoon of ketchup is a much healthier alternative than a tablespoon of fatty mayonnaise. Other good condiment choices include salsa and vinegar.