The Dining Hall Diet: How to Eat Well on a Meal Plan

Adjusting to college life can be tough, and one of the biggest struggles for college students is how to eat healthily – and happily – on a dining hall meal plan. While dining hall food can often be bland, repetitive and just plain unhealthy, with a little creativity, it’s possible to eat healthy without eating the same boring meal every day.


Meal #1: Egg White Omelette

Take advantage of the dining hall’s made-to-order eggs the healthy way. Opt for egg-whites instead of regular eggs, and fill your omelet with plenty of veggies. Ditch the cheese and salt on top to reduce the fat and sodium.

Meal #2: Avocado Toast

This one is a dining hall DIY-take on a west coast favorite. Pair whole wheat or 12-grain toasted bread with either fresh avocado or an avocado spread. This meal is packed with protein and carbs that will supply energy for the rest of the day. Top with salt and pepper, and even some hot sauce if you’re looking for some extra spice.

Meal #3: English Muffin with Peanut Butter

For a breakfast reminiscent of your favorite sugary cereal, pair a whole wheat or whole grain english muffin with reduced fat peanut butter or nut butter. Add sliced bananas, strawberries or dark chocolate on top for some added sweetness.

Lunch: Revamping the Salad Bar

Switch up the regular salad bar routine by swapping iceberg lettuce for spinach and romaine, and adding new veggies, such as chickpeas or peppers. For something totally new, top your salad with strawberries, oranges and raspberry vinaigrette if you’re looking to fuel up and satisfy a sweet craving. Ditch fatty dressings like ranch or caesar, and swap in a vinaigrette or italian dressing, to keep things on the lighter side.

Meal #1: Chicken

To get your daily protein and carb fix, spruce up a grilled chicken breast by tossing it into a salad or even a light serving of spaghetti. If available, add some roasted veggies to cut up chicken with a little soy sauce, and you’ll have an easy and healthy stir fry in no time.

Meal #2: Burrito Bowl

Make a healthy version of the Chipotle classic right in your own dining hall. Start with a serving of brown rice and add lettuce, tomatoes, corn. and peppers. Toss in some chicken and reduced fat cheddar cheese, and top with guacamole or an avocado spread. It’ll taste just like the real deal, expect healthier and more conveinent.

Meal #3: Fish

Dining hall fish may seem like something to be skeptical about, but it really is delicious and a great way to get protein when grilled chickens begins to get boring. Top a serving of brown rice with tilapia or salmon and squeeze some lemon on top for added flavor.


Option #1: Yogurt & Fruit
Craving ice cream? Substitute strawberry flavored yogurt as a fruit dip and enjoy with a large bowl of fruit salad. The combo is more filling than ice cream – since it has more nutritional value – and will help keep your energy high.

Option #2: Banana/Apple & Peanut Butter

The classic after school snack is making a comeback in college. Pair a sliced banana or apple with a tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter or nut butter for a delicious dessert.

Option #3: Parfait

Take advantage of the dining hall parfait station by making a healthy parfait. Opt for greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt for added protein, and swap frozen berries for the real deal. Avoid adding any granola with extra sweeteners or chocolate.



By: Madison Paddock