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Dorm-Smart Food Consumption:

How to Eat, and Eat Well, While in College.

By Caitlyn Kelley

If you’re a college student with a limited income, I’m sure you’ve felt the growing reality of your situation as the semester has continued to progress. You’re running low on energy, patience, and dining hall swipes—and the world just seems slightly duller.

Well, perhaps I’m being overdramatic, but these concerns are things that my friends and I frequently discuss. As residents of Danielsen Hall, taking that 10-minute trek to Marciano seems less and less exciting as the temperature continues to drop, and in-room snacks have become our lifeline on the days when we simply don’t feel like using a swipe.

While it may seem easier to skip a few meals in order to save money, or swipes at the dining hall, it’s important that you listen to your body. According to the UK’s National Centre for Eating Disorders, under-eating and not consuming the number of calories your body needs to function can lead to irritability, lower energy levels, and even depression.

Below are just a few new and different ways that can help you eat, and eat well, when at college:

1. Stock up on non-perishable or preservable food items

The first mistake so many college students make is buying food that spoils quickly. If you don’t have access to a kitchen or other appliances, stock up on items like granola bars, oats, nut butters, and other foods you can keep for longer periods of time. For yogurt, hummus, and other such items, freeze them for longevity!

2. Couponing & avoiding overpriced food

Sometimes, you want to eat food that isn’t from the dining hall. That’s okay! Knowing how to coupon and compare prices can be an absolute lifesaver when shopping at a grocery store. Online programs like Honey and Rakuten can help you clip coupons to online shopping orders, or simply taking a flyer from the front of the store can help you save money.

Also, knowing what stores to avoid helps in the long run. If you can’t afford Whole Foods or other gourmet markets, don’t go there! You can often find the same or similar items at stores like Target, which end up retailing for much, much less.

3. Making the most of your dining hall visit

Don’t go to the dining hall if you just want a snack. You’ll most likely end up hungry later, and then what do you do?

Plan on going when you truly feel hungry, and take advantage of the food options available to you! It’s totally acceptable to bring multiple plates of food to your table—and going up for seconds is okay as well! Making sure you feel satisfied and full is the ultimate goal of a good dining hall trip.


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