Dining Hall Food Got You Down? Here’s How to Cope

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Just took a bite out of another burnt omelette? Yeah. We’ve all been there.

In my opinion, dining hall food is the absolute WORST part of freshman year. Not only is it greasy, boring, and flat out unsanitary, but dining hall food gives you no way to manage your crazy specific diet.

As someone with a tomato allergy and lactose intolerance, I consistently entered my dining hall and exited within several minutes completely unimpressed with the food they offered because I couldn’t eat any of it…

Although I was extremely frustrated with my diet for the majority of the year, I did figure out ways to overcome the horrors of the dining hall and nourish my body.

Read on below for my best tips and tricks to overcome the dining hall.

5 Hacks to Healthy Freshman Year Eating

Avocado toast

1. Find Anything and Everything Green

You’ve heard it before. Go green. Green is the key food color when it comes to eating healthy. Try searching your dining hall for a salad bar or even grilled vegetables. The less processed the food, the better your stomach will feel.

2. Avoid Fried Meat and Opt for Grilled

Dining halls LOVE to fry their meat. Not only is it a quick way to cook food in bulk, but it is also tasty and makes students eat it–and lots of it.

Instead of grabbing as much fried chicken as you can see, search for grilled meats that are lower in carbs and fats. They also won’t drip grease all down your clothes (ew). And before you eat any dining hall meat, ALWAYS make sure it is well-cooked. (I’ve been food poisoned one too many times)

3. Stay Away from the Tempting Soda Machines

You know the feeling: you’re exhausted from studying and are suffering from the well-known sugar cravings. Push through. Drinking dispensable soda is absolutely terrible for your body. The amount of processed sugar in those drinks is unreal. Stick with water, and you will not regret it the next day.

Tip: If you don’t like drinking plain water, try a squeeze of lemon or lime, throw in sliced fruit, or even toss in a few sprigs of mint. This gives you some flavor with little to no added sugar.

4. Buy Healthy Snacks and Frozen Microwavable Meals

As the dining hall got unbearable for me, I started taking weekly trips to my local grocery store to pick up microwaveable meals and healthy snacks. Not only did this save me a dreaded trip to the dining hall, but also let me study in bed while eating dinner (win-win? Um, YES).

{RELATED POST: The Ultimate College Apartment Grocery List}

5. Check Out Healthy Restaurants Near Campus

On those nights when you are in the mood to treat yourself to a nice, solid, REAL meal, grab a group of friends and check out local restaurants that offer healthy, flavorful options. Although this a pricier option, you won’t regret it.

What do you think?

We all have suffered through the dining hall phase of our lives and have come out stronger as a result. It will help you appreciate home cooking so much more. If you have any questions or comments about dining hall hacks, comment below!

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