One to the most defining factors of boarding school is eating at school. Home cooked meals become a rare commodity, a serious treasure. Me and my fellow boarding school friends have the “honor” of being able to experience college-style dining halls four years EARLIER than most. Whether you’re a boarding school student like me or college student, I hope these tips and tricks will help you be smart and eat healthy in the dining halls! Remember, nothing can get in the way of eating healthy!
TRICK #1: Tupperwares and ziploc bags are your saviors.
One of the cons about dining halls is that they only open on certain hours. But, I’m sure a lot of you can relate, I need to snack and my hungry times don’t match up with the dining hall operating hours!
These are where tupperwares/ziploc bags come in the save the day. Bring a tupperware and a pack of ziplocs from home. I use my tupperware to put yogurt from the yogurt bar. This is especially helpful on Sunday mornings (where no breakfast is served but brunch at 11) when I can have yogurt to hold me over until brunch.
I use my ziplock bags to hold another breakfast item. During breaks or whenever I go back home, I put nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) plus my favorite granola (Love Crunch Granola) into small ziplock baggies. These daily servings are convenient because the granola in the dining halls are okay, but sugar laden, and they never have my favorite nuts. Also, these daily servings of nuts/granola is helpful or else I would be eating too many!
I personally don’t do this, but I know several friends do, which is packing dry cereal in ziploc bags. If you’re a cereal lover, than why not do this instead of spending money on cereal?
TRICK #2: Stock up on apples/bananas
Or this really goes with any food that are easily portable. Pretty much everyone I know always leaves breakfast with a banana in their hand. Why? Because they know they are going to get hungry mid-way through the day and a banana is a perfect mid-day pick me up snack.
TIP #1: Do what you would do at home
I think the main reason why it’s so easy to gain weight is because of the plethora of food but no one to stop you from it. At home, you had your parents to stop you or not allow you to have dessert every day for lunch and dinner. So why not do that at school too?
TIP #2: Go with the water
Going along with the above tip, you wouldn’t drink soft drinks or juices every day right? As tempting it is to have soft drinks, just go with the water. Your body will thank you (and me) later.
TIP #3: Healthy substitutes
I know, I know, you have a sweet tooth. So instead of suppressing or restricting that, get in the know of some healthy substitutes. Such as yogurt and granola instead of ice cream.
TIP #4: Use your creativity hat
Realize that you don’t have to resort to just standing line in the hot bar to get your food. I usually get most of my food at other places in the dining hall (sandwich bar, salad bar, omelette bar) while only a small portion of my plate is from the hot bar.
For example, I don’t like omelettes (egg in the morning don’t work for me), but I use the omelette bar to make sautéed spinach.
Also, I know for people who live by protein shakes : use chocolate milk: great recovery drink!!!
Do you have any tips and tricks to share from your college dining hall experience?