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Dorm Dining: How to Stay Healthy

By Sara Butler

When leaving home for the first time when going to college, you're free to make decisions for yourself -- including what you eat. For a lot of people, that translates into weight gain and unhealthy habits, especially when you live in a dorm. Fight back against the "freshman 15" with some healthy habits that can help you to stay healthy when you go away to college.

It's All About Portions

Portion control is essential to eating well. Many dorms offer buffet-style eating and that can lead to some major issues with portions. What you can do is to become familiar with portion recommendations to understand what one portion of something really looks like. You can try:

  • Choosing healthier foods first and loading your plate up with vegetables, then moving on to the more calorie-dense foods and sweets
  • Buy some measuring cups and measure out the serving sizes of food you eat a lot so that you can eyeball portions on your plate in the dining hall
  • Visit your campus dining services website for nutritional information on the foods they serve

Be on the Lookout

Extra, empty calories are lurking everywhere. Many foods and drinks are high in calories (mostly from added sugar) that don't offer you any actual nutrition -- and they don't help you to feel full, either. To fight back against these empty calories, you should:

  • Avoid soda
  • Be careful of ordering pizza late at night
  • Avoid fried foods

Have Food on Hand

You can't really cook for yourself when you live in a dorm, but you can keep healthy foods on hand to help get you through the day. Try keeping a few things in your room such as:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Cheese
  • Hummus and whole-grain crackers
  • Peanut butter and whole-grain crackers
  • Almonds

Having a few things around to munch on can really save you from making poor food choices later when you're really hungry.

Going off to college is an exciting time in every person's life, but it's also a time when you have to put what you learned from your parents into action. Don't abandon all your healthy habits when you break free on your own, but instead work from what you have already learned to create your own way of doing things. As long as you keep your health a priority, anything is possible!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Long Beach, Calif.

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