If there is one thing everyone knows about Milwaukee, its that we have crazy unpredictable weather. We just had a blizzard in late April and are struggling to learn a semester's worth of content due to our three cold and snow days in January. You never know when you'll be trapped in your dorm due to weather, and are limited to your dining hall food. I am lucky enough to go to school in Milwaukee and have 24-hour access to my dining hall. Here are some of my best tips in staying healthy while still enjoying your cafeteria's food.
1. Carry a reusable water bottle
With constant access to food, it is easy to convince yourself that you are hungry. Drinking the right amount of water is crucial for keeping your body in top condition and can be the first step to healthier eating habits. Walking around a college campus, you will see tons of students carrying Hydro Flasks, Yetis and cute water bottles. If you set a goal to drink 64 oz of water every day, you will be full throughout the day and not be as tempted to snack. You can always spice it up and add flavor with lemon or cucumber.
2. Brush your teeth earlier than later in the night
After a late night of studying or hanging out with your friends, I can promise you that a quick trip to the dining hall will be on your mind. I find myself snacking on a bowl of lucky charms or a glass of chocolate milk and then going to bed feeling gross and bloated. To avoid this, try doing your bedtime routine and brushing your teether earlier in the night. That way, you won't want to wash your teeth again later in the night and say "no thanks" to a late night snack.
3. Be Creative
When you are always eating at the same dining hall, the same food can get extremely repetitive so sometimes you need to be creative. Here are some of my favorite ways of putting a healthy and delicious twist on a basic meal:
- If you have access to a stir fry station, ask for brown rice and your choice of protein. Instead of eating their marinated veggies, go to the salad station and add your own veggies. This way you can add more greens without eating the oils and chemicals the marinated veggies are soaked in.
-Hamburgers are hands down my favorite food and I wish I could eat them every day, but we all know it would be a bad idea to have a daily hamburger. My dining hall has great burgers so I started asking for them protein style. You get the burger with no cheese and no bun. I add lettuce, tomatoes, and onions for my veggies and then dip the burger in ketchup. It is still delicious and you don't get the extra calories from the cheese and bun.
- The Deli Station is one of my favorites, but I always end up with way too much mayo or hummus- the fattening part of a sandwich. Ask the Deli worker for a tortilla or whole wheat bread and take it to the salad station and add your own protein and veggies
4. Set a goal to avoid carbs in one of your meals
All of the best options for a meal tend to include carbs. Don't get me wrong, a no carb diet is nearly impossible in college but it is easy to cut down on carb. If you find yourself eating a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner try changing lunch or dinner to a salad. Carbs contain the most calories and are the hardest to burn off. You will feel lighter and more energetic if you try cutting out some of your daily carbs.
5. Listen to your body
My last tip is to listen to your body. If you are hungry, you are hungry and you can't change that. Skipping meals when you know you need food can lead to risky eating habits and lead you down a bad road. You and only YOU know your body. Take care of it, respect it and remember you only get one