Tips for Navigating the Dining Halls

Make Time for Meals

If you permit yourself enough time, you're more prone to pursue healthy eating habits. Keeping to a regular schedule will allow you to fit in all your meals, especially breakfast, without rushing.

Don't Let Yourself Get Too Hungry

When we let ourselves get too hungry, we tend to overeat – usually on less than nutritious options. By eating breakfast and packing snacks, you can prevent that ravenous feeling. Try eating every 3-4 hours. You'll make better choices at meal times!

Browse Around, Explore Your Options, and Try to Balance Your Meals

Take 2 trips through the line: use the 1st trip to familiarize yourself with the options. Take the 2nd trip to decide what you really want to eat. Eating healthy meals that contain foods from at least 3 different food groups will help to ensure that you get the nutrition you need to stay healthy. Be sure to eat different combos of grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats throughout the day.

Build a Great Plate

Make ½ your plate veggies and fruits, ¼ of your plate a lean protein, and ¼ of your plate a whole grain.

Get Creative

Mix and match… Try a “hot salad” – start with a bed of spinach, then top it with steamed veggies, and tofu or chicken, then add corn, rice, beans, a little cheese. Pop it into the microwave and there you go!


College is about trying new things. See a dish you want to try but aren't sure you'll like it? Get your usual plate of food and sample the new entrée with a friend. You won't feel the need to overeat.

Stay Hydrated and Can the Soda

Drink water even if you're not thirsty. Avoid sodas and sugary beverages, and drink water and/or tea instead.

Know Your Resources

Visit your college's dining services website where you will probably find good info on healthy eating habits, menus, etc.

Slow Down!

Before you go for a 2nd helping, take 15-20 minutes to let your body digest the food you've just eaten. Take your time, enjoy the conversation and the food!

Remember that Moderation is Key and... We're All Human!

The overall goal is not to starve or feel deprived, but to seek balance within a healthy lifestyle that keeps you feeling and performing your best. There are no “bad foods”, only foods that should be eaten in moderation. With a focus on fueling your body to help feel its best, and being aware of proper portion sizes, it's easier to stay healthy while still enjoying the occasional treat.

If You're Hungry Between Meals or at Night When You're Studying...

Keep your room stocked with healthy snacks like these:

  • brown rice cakes   
  • whole fruit        
  • unsalted nuts
  • oatmeal (packets)   
  • whole grain cereal   
  • low/non fat milk (almond, soy, or cow's)
  • whole grain bread   
  • popcorn       
  • almond/peanut butter
  • hummus           
  • baby carrot sticks   
  • yogurt