Campus dining serves up healthy alternatives

Rarely does a college student have enough money to even consider shopping for healthy groceries.

Fortunately, students with a meal plan at The Rock Café have a multitude of healthy choices at their disposal for every meal of the day.  

The Rock presents healthy options for every meal, but knowing what constitutes a healthy meal and what doesn’t isn’t always easy. It’s more than just counting calories; one should also take into account the amount of sodium or lack of protein in order to make the most health conscious choice possible.  

Eating healthy involves knowing the elements of food that are healthy for you, like protein, multiple vitamins and maintaining a balance between the good and the bad. After that, it’s all about knowing what to eat and when.

“It’s more important to watch portion size,” said Ferris dietitian Brenda Walton. “All the food we serve has nutritional value, but if one puts together a lot of high carbs, fried food, things like that, it turns into a less nutritional meal.”

Here is a typical healthy diet for college students: Try eating two hard-boiled eggs with a bowl of yogurt on the side for breakfast instead of a waffle, which has more than 400 calories and twice the carbohydrates of a donut – even without the toppings and whipped cream. Breakfast should be a meal high in protein, one that is filling enough to get one through to the lunch hour without having as many calories as later meals.

Lunch should be substantially more filling than breakfast without making you stuffed. A sandwich from the deli with white meat and a good array of vegetables with a salad on the side is a good option, as it’ll keep you full until dinner.

Anything from the Comfort Zone isn’t the best option for a healthy meal due to the large portion sizes and high amount of calories and sodium.

It is commonly a tradition in America for dinner to be the largest meal of the day. A good sized helping from the Mongolian Grill is a good choice as long as you don’t have too much of one particular meat and eat enough vegetables to balance it out. Pizza, meanwhile, should be avoided as it’s loaded with sodium while not having much in the way of protein or vitamins. With around 250 calories per slice, you can’t eat enough of it to make you feel full without going far beyond the suggested amount of daily calories.

The dining hall table tents will often relay how to find more information about the food available and how to keep healthy.

“With our table tents, we put nutrition information on there besides our website. We also have nutrition facts, ingredients and allergens,” Walton said.

The best way to start or maintain healthy eating habits is to know what’s in the food you’re eating. To find out the nutrition facts for either dining hall on campus, use the meal calculator on the dining service’s website at ///