Sometimes it takes effort for students to maintain healthy, balanced diets while on campus, where the only things catching their eyes are hamburgers and pizza.
According to Lisa Eberhart, Dining and Catering Operations’ registered dietician, the truth is that students need variety. Eberhart stressed the importance of students learning what foods are available to them and becoming more adventurous eaters.
She and other members of University Dining agree that eating a seemingly healthy grilled chicken salad at every meal will cause students to lose out on other nutrients and elements the body needs to survive.
With the help of University Dining, the following list of on-campus food items attempts to show students possible items they can incorporate in their diet. Please note these show the possibilities of what you can put on your plate and may not suit your individual dietary needs and goals.
In addition, moderation is key with any of these options, according to Eberhart. For example, removing sauce or dressing for certain items means sacrificing the flavor of the eating experience, which, in terms of the calories or grams of fat you will save, may not be worth the cost. As such, students should think of the following items as healthy swaps only, according to Michelle Borges, University Dining Nutrition Department Coordinator. For nutritional advice, please make a free appointment with one of the nutritionists on campus.
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• Try mixing sushi from the Asian station with sautéed vegetables from the Mediterranean station, or crackling cauliflower from the global station. The chicken crunch roll provides an interesting alternative for those looking for cooked sushi.
• Kung Pao tofu and eggplant with steamed rice instead of fried rice (Asian)
• Carrot ginger salad (Asian)
• Thai salad (request half of the dressing)
• Wild rice and apple salad (Global)
• Grilled vegetable sandwich from the Mediterranean section (remove the top piece of bread to save on carbohydrates)
• Chicken shawarma from the Mediterranean section (excellent source of lean protein)
• Apple crisp (a lighter dessert featuring apples and oats from the global section)
• Garden hummus wrap (Remember to check the amount of carbohydrates for wraps using the iPads stationed throughout the dining locations. Wraps do not always mean they are low in carbohydrates.)
• Nutty mixed up salad
• Selecting any of the bowls will reduce the number of carbohydrates, but getting a taco instead will avoid overloading your diet with carbohydrates.
• When choosing sauces, try guacamole, which is a healthier fat than sour cream.
• Lay low on the cheese. (A thumb’s worth of cheese is a good measurement to go by).
• For vegetarians, a beans and rice combination is a great source of a complete protein.
• Black bean burger or grilled chicken sandwich in place of a hamburger
• Sweet potato tots in place of french fries (note the tots will not replace a full serving of vegetables)
• Grilled chicken pita (Try using only half of the ranch dressing in the packet.)
• Evol bowls
• Any light and lean meals (Take caution when choosing a low-calorie meal, such as something that is 100 to 200 calories. It might not fill you up, causing you to snack on unhealthy items later. Meals typically fall between 400 and 600 calories.)
• Rice crispy treats, salted caramel corn, or fruit and nut granola (For when you are craving something sweet.)
• For a snack, try fruits or sea salt and cracked pepper chips. (The chips are kettle-cooked, low in fat and sugar, and high in fiber compared to other chips.)
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• Calories for flavored drinks can add up quickly, so try to ask for just one pump of flavor or grab a regular coffee or tea instead.
• Don’t let whole milk scare you, as it can provide a great source of calcium.
• Delirious offers many toppings for salads, so you might feel comfortable skipping the dressing given the flavor you’re already getting. Again, don’t go overboard with cheese, and try the spinach. Its darker color indicates increased nutritional value.
• Try a whole-wheat wrap instead of a white wrap.
• For meat toppings, opt for chicken or tuna in place of a more processed protein.
• Choose tomato-based soups instead of creamy ones.
• Drizzle noodles with the tomato-based marinara sauce (tomatoes are healthier when cooked) and add vegetables and chicken for a well-balanced meal that just reaches equivalency.
• Choose the grilled chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun or the char-grilled salad.
• Try a fruit cup instead of fries.
• Vegetarian Wok Creation with crispy tofu and either white rice or noodles is wolf-approved, as well as the California roll, spicy crab roll and the Tekka Maki Roll.
• Avoid the sauces, since they can be high in sodium.
• Hummus and pretzels (great snack option)
• Hummus vegetarian wrap
• Cereal (high in iron)
• Milk (made fresh from N.C. State’s own cows and contain no hormones)