As the school year dies down, it's easy to slip into less-than-great eating habits after a long year of hard work. This is especially true when eating in a dining hall, where unlimited pizza and french fry options sound much more appealing than soggy lettuce from the salad bar. So, to keep those cravings at bay, here are five tips for eating healthy in college dining halls.


1. Don't stick to exactly what's being served.

Since dining halls often don't serve the most appealing healthy foods, get creative with the set menu options to find healthy things that you actually want to eat. If you're not in the mood for plain tofu skewers, chop them up with some lettuce and veggies to make a good salad or throw them over some brown rice and add a little soy sauce to make a mock stir-fry. Re-imagine ways to eat what the dining hall has set out for you.


2. Find a few healthy things you like to eat and stick to them.

Finding two or three healthy combos that you like to eat can be super helpful in times when you feel like the easiest option is pizza. My personal favorites are yogurt and granola, banana and peanut butter, and carrots and hummus.


3. Load up on veggies and fruits.

Dining halls usually make a point to serve a few vegetable options each night. Pile these on your plate to fill up on healthy carbs for dinner. Eat fruit instead of cake or brownies for an equally delicious, but healthier dessert option.


4. Bring in little things to amp up your healthy food options.

If you can, bring in foods that you love that can also spice up your food options. Taking an avocado to the dining hall, for example, lets you make avocado toast, makeshift guacamole, and yummier salads, to name a few options.


5. Don't kick yourself if you eat a cookie every once in a while.

Don't underestimate how hard it is to eat healthy in the dining halls. It's unreasonable to expect yourself to avoid every unhealthy option 100 percent of the time (especially when they serve the hot cookie bar on Fridays). Let yourself cheat sometimes to keep up the motivation to eat healthy long-term!