Navigating The Dining Hall

Navigating The Dining Hall

Pickled vegetables on self service restaurant counter

By Lexi Orlan, Contributing Blogger

For many college students, the dining hall is their go-to for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, the options at the dining hall are not always the most nutritious. No longer do students have mom and dad’s home-cooked meal, but they now have the ability to choose whatever they want, and in quantities they have never imagined.  But it is important to remember that calories add up fast. Use these tips to make sure you navigate the dining hall in the healthiest way possible.

  1. Observe. Take a walk around the dining hall and survey the options for that meal. Make sure to include a little of each food group to build a nutritious and well-balanced plate.
  2. Fill up on veggies. The dining hall has a large selection of veggies. Not only do they provide tons of nutrients, but they have fiber that will fill you up and help stave off the temptation of the greasy, oily foods. Not sure how many veggies to eat? Aim to fill half your plate with veggies at each meal.
  3. Choose whole grains. Like veggies, whole grains also contain fiber that will satiate you. Whole grain options also provide vitamins E, B6, and K. Some great whole grain options present in the dining halls are oats, barley, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and quinoa.
  4. What if I can’t find anything I like? This is a VERY common occurrence in the dining hall. When there is nothing I like being served, I always head to the cereal and toast bar. Here I recommend creating a peanut butter toast topped with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey. If that is not for you, choose a cereal with a small amount of sugar–my go-to is Rice Chex topped with fresh fruit.
  5. Take a break. Before going back for second helpings, take a break. Have a good conversation with your friends! If you find yourself still hungry after 15 minutes, go back for seconds. However, you will most likely find yourself feeling full, as it takes a while for your brain to catch up with your stomach.
  6. Everything in moderation. Don’t forget to indulge once in a while. It’s ok to have a slice of pizza or a chocolate chip cookie, just try not and make it an everyday occurrence.

With these tips, students will develop healthy habits to navigate the dining hall and beyond.

Lexi Orlan is a senior dietetics major at the University of Delaware. She hopes to become a registered dietitian and use her passion for food and health to better others’ lives.

1 Comment
  • Jodi Fishbein
    Posted at 21:56h, 01 December Reply

    Excellent tips, suggestions and reminders! My endocrinologist will be thrilled that I have revised this information!

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