Healthy Choices for College Food


When I started college I didn’t know what to eat. It was my first time being on my own essentially so for the first time I got to choose what to eat for all three meals so I spent the first few months of my college years mostly eating super sweet Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast, deep fried chicken strips and fries for lunch, and pizza for dinner. I figured with a diet like that I can’t go wrong. It’s delicious and full of calories so I definitely won’t starve to death in college.

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After a few months though I noticed I gained the freshman 15 pounds as some people call it. I was playing intramural volleyball and I noticed I lacked energy. When I went for a run I thought to myself I would rather just go back to my dorm room and watch TV and just veg out. During classes, I was always groggy and I couldn’t concentrate on my homework. I knew then some things had to change and that change was going to take place in my diet.

Changing your diet in college doesn’t mean you have to go on a diet. It just meant I needed to make little changes and those little changes could come in the form of me choosing the healthiest foods available at the dining hall at RIT called Gracies. Instead of picking ultra sweet cereal for breakfast, why not go for a healthier scrambled egg that had plenty of protein. Instead of chicken strips and fries that were filled with fat for lunch, why not switch to a healthier sandwich or wraps. For dinner instead of pizza, perhaps grilled chicken breasts.

Another thing I learned to do was eat on the go so my class schedule did not dictate when I ate. That meant going to the convenience store at RIT called The Corner Store to buy sandwiches, salads, yogurts, and drinks to go so during days when it seemed I would not have enough time to eat lunch because my classes were stacked on top of each other, I could quickly eat in between classes.

The other key thing I learned to do during college was learning to buy food I liked to eat that was healthy such as fruits like grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I started researching different types of healthy foods from friends and online. I found new foods I liked pita bread with hummus for snacks. When I was a sophomore in college I moved to an apartment off campus so I had my own kitchen and I learned how to cook omelets that contained one whole egg, a few more eggs, but only the egg whites, spinach, and ham for breakfast.

I went to London to visit my aunt the summer of my sophomore year and I fell in love with chicken curry so I learned to make that on my own at home. The most important thing I learned about during my college years was the Foreman Grill. With the Foreman Grill, I could easily cook grilled chicken for dinner. Sometimes I would have a salad and then add the grilled chicken from the Foreman Grill.

An important thing to consider as a college student when eating is definitely curbing your intake of soda drinks. Often times during meals I drank my favorite drink, Coca Cola. During freshman year Coca Cola was a must have for lunch and dinner. Then I realized that Coca Cola and soda drinks, in general, had plenty of calories so I started to opt for juice or tea instead.

During college, I started to become addicted to coffee and energy drinks. In the mornings I used to go to Java Wally’s on campus at RIT and order a cup of coffee. Then during lunchtime go to a convenience store located on the RIT campus and buy a Red Bull, which is an energy drink. At first, this was the quick fix to being tired. It was a way for me to wake up for my classes. Then after awhile I started having a hard time sleeping then the next day I would even be more tired so I had to kick the caffeine and energy drink addiction and switch to tea.

Another great tip for college students is to make sure you drink lots of water. Drinking water will keep you hydrated during class or during workouts. Also, water is free, just buy a water bottle and there you have it, one of the best things for you to drink because it cleanses your system and it’s great for your skin. Drinking water will also circulate the nutrients in your body.

When you become tired of campus food or cooking your own food, don’t hesitate to try some of the best restaurants or fast-food places near your campus. Eating in restaurants or going to a fast food joint is a fun experience, but make sure to choose healthy foods when ordering. One of my favorite go to restaurants to go to when I was in college was Plum Garden, a Japanese restaurant located in the Pittsford Plaza. They had the best sushi and of course, sushi is good for you because it is high in protein and is low fat.

Another restaurant I loved going to in college when I wanted to treat myself was King and I in Henrietta. It is very close to RIT, right off of Jefferson. King and I is a Thai restaurant. I am a big fan of Thai food so I went to King and I often. They have the best calamari, deep fried egg rolls, and squid basil. They all have delicious pad thai, the perfect choice for people who are new to Thai food. For drinks, I used to order their mango shake, which was divine. The foods I ordered at King and I were not the healthiest, but they do have other healthier options you can order from.

I hope you learn plenty from this post. Here were my favorite places to eat at the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. There are more. Here is the link you can go to if you are attending RIT and are interested in finding out about all of the dining services:

Gracies– I was on a meal plan freshman year so Gracies it was. Plus it was close to the dorms and had a wide selection of types of food to choose from. They even had sushi sometimes so of course, I loved going to Gracies.

The Corner Store– My dorm room was near The Corner Store so I often went there to buy salads and sandwiches that I could take with me to class and then eat in between classes when my schedule was jam packed. I also spent many hours at the darkrooms and computer labs in the photo building so I would buy food from The Corner Store that I could take with me to the photo building and take snack breaks or lunch breaks in between darkroom time and computer lab time.

The Commons– When I was a freshman I often went to the Commons because they have great food choices and it is located near the dorms so it was very convenient. In the fall of 2009, I decided to go back to RIT to get my Bachelor’s in American Sign Language Interpreting and my Sign Language classes were held at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf building which is located near The Commons. I often went to The Commons for lunch breaks because of its close proximity to the NTID building.

Java Wally’s– I went to Java Wally’s to spend time with friends before class. We used to go there and have coffee to wake us up. They also had great chocolate chip cookies, but once I became more conscious about my health I opted for green tea and oatmeal cookies.

Café and Market at Crossroads– During my sophomore year, I often had to print photos and other projects at the Hub which is located near Café and Market at Crossroads so I ended up going there for lunch. They had great chicken strips, fries, and pizza. Later on I decided to choose the healthier salads and sandwiches.

Ben and Jerry’s– Ben and Jerry’s is located at the SAU and have the best ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s has a wide selection of flavors and they have the best waffle cone. I went there to treat myself. My favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor was Phish Food; it is a mixture of chocolate ice cream, marshmallows, caramel, and fudge.

Global Village Catina and Grille– Located within Catina is Salsarita. They make the best Mexican food. I often went there when I attended RIT to buy soft shell beef tacos. Once I left RIT in 2011, I still went back to Salsarita to buy tacos for lunch.

The Market at Global Village– They have international and ethnic foods at The Market. RIT has many international students and in order to cater to them, The Market sells international food. I went there to buy mocha, aloe vera drink, green tea Kitkats, and many more international foods. The Market also sells special dietary foods for vegans.

Here’s a video of me talking about the places I ate at when I attended Rochester Institute of Technology.

Here is a video about places to eat in Rochester, New York that is outside of Rochester Institute of Technology.


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