Freshman 15 vs. meal plan


By Serina Taluja, Assistant Special Sections Editor

The freshman 15 is one of the scariest phrases you’ll hear over and over again during your college years. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We’ve got a big campus with a lot of options, so it’s important to know which fits you and your schedule best. While learning how to properly feed yourself can be tricky, working around a meal plan and dining hall can make it feel even more daunting if you’re not sure what’s available to you.

But have no fear. In this column, we’ll look at seven simple tricks for eating healthy within your meal plan. Follow these tips and you’ll feel great, satisfy your taste buds and make the most of your meal plan.

Take advantage of the salad bar. Every dining hall on campus has a salad bar full of veggies and an abundance of dressings. No matter where you are or where you’re running to, a salad is always an option for a healthy and filling lunch or dinner.

Don’t be tempted by the pizza (at least, not every day). At both Ikenberry and PAR, pizza is an option seven days a week whenever dining halls are open. It’s a great option for those nothing-sounds-good kinds of days, but don’t let yourself fall into the cycle of only eating pizza every day just because it’s there.

Grab some fruit on your way out. The dining halls allow you to carry out one thing after you’ve eaten, so make sure you pick something nutritious. Yes, soft serve ice cream is delicious, but a piece of fruit is going to do a better job of satisfying your hunger throughout your day. Not to mention you’ll avoid the sugar rush and subsequent crash when you choose fruit over ice cream or cookies.

If you’re looking for vegetarian options, check out LAR on Wednesdays. For both lunch and dinner, the LAR dining hall has all-vegetarian and even some vegan options that still provide you with all the food groups you need to stay active and healthy.

Snack often rather than eating large meals once or twice a day. You can go back for as many pieces of food as you want in the dining halls, but don’t let this force you to eat more than you need in one sitting.

Bring snacks to munch on during the day to keep yourself from a serious stomachache after an overloaded meal.

Don’t forget about your cafe credits. If you’re on a meal plan with cafe credits included, use them. You can buy salads and fruit from 57 North at the Ikenberry, Penn Station at PAR and Chomps at ISR, as well as fruit smoothies from the Caffeinator at Ikenberry and Busey Bean & Green at Busey-Evans.

Finally, let yourself eat food you like. Constantly worrying about what you eat, and when and where, can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your body on top of your academic commitments. Let yourself enjoy your meal plan and the fact that you don’t have to do any cooking or dishes.

Take advantage of your meal plan while you have it.

Serina is a senior in LAS.

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