How to Eat Healthy with a Meal Plan

The food court, inside our main Student Union, is where a lot people eat at least one meal a day. It has a very wide variety of food choices.  

The food court, inside our main Student Union, is where a lot people eat at least one meal a day. It has a very wide variety of food choices.  

Let me guess, you put on a couple of pound this summer, and you are afraid of gaining the Freshman 15?  One year ago, that was me too. Guess what, starvation and not eating carbs is not the answer. By reducing total intake amount, you are depriving your body of various nutrients. Instead of not eating, try eating better, more nutrient-rich foods. That is totally possible with a college meal plan.

Many students (that live on campus), do their grocery shopping at the UMart (which is also located in our main student union). It is clean and has more of a variety of healthier options.

Many students (that live on campus), do their grocery shopping at the UMart (which is also located in our main student union). It is clean and has more of a variety of healthier options.

Step One: Do your own research. Don't trust every "expert" out there. Everyone out there has an opinion on how you should take care of your body. Go to trusted sources and get a second opinion on everything. Find out the pros and cons of the different lifestyle diets out there.

Step Two: Decide what type of lifestyle change are you going to make. Don't make the rookie mistake of thinking "vegetarian" is an actual diet.  Vegetarian is a category that includes vegan, pescatarian, and others. See what options the different places on your campus have to offer. Are there any grocery stores that accept meal plans on your campus? If so, sometimes grocery shopping can be cheaper than eating out all of the time.

Step Three: Try new places. There should be somewhere on your campus that has healthy food options, go to it. Or, grab a friend and try that new place you've been dying to see what the rave is about. 

Step Four: Don't eat a salad everyday. Salads get boring. Salads aren't even always healthy; once you add cheese, croutons, and ranch (sorry), it's really just a bowl of fat and carbs with a side of lettuce. Salads can get expensive ($9 on my campus) and you wouldn't like to burn up your meal plan on it.

Step Five: Don't forget to snack. Use your meal plan to buy an apple, pack of carrot sticks, pack of peanuts, or something to that effect to snack on between classes. If your campus is anything like mine, walking to and from class, you are burning calories and using electrolytes that will need to be replenished.

Your Turn

When was the last time you tried a new food? What are your favorite things to snack on throughout the day?