An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Surviving the College Dining Hall – InfoGraphic

Surviving the College Dining Hall
Via: Online Universities Blog

You have all heard of the freshman 15. Well, according to this InfoGraphic nearly 20% of freshman gain at least 10 pounds during their first year of college. Might not be 15 pounds, but it is still 10 unhealthy pounds that often comes about because of a poor diet, lack of sleep and stress.

Freshman living on campus are required to have a meal plan. This covers the University in that they know that all of their new students will at least have food to eat, and won’t be going hungry. What it means for students, is that they have a never ending source of food, constant temptation to over eat, and no restrictions on making poor food choices.

I have said before, that ditching your college meal plan is a smart decision. I still believe that, but I also understand that freshman are required to have one. So what do you do before you are able to ditch your college meal plan? Take advantage of the healthy options in a dining hall!

I like the infographic’s recommendation to load up on fruits and vegetables. As a college student, you will likely have weird hours and eat meals at odd times. A late night snack in the Library is 99% guaranteed to be unhealthy. Most dining hall’s that are cafeteria style won’t let you take food out, but they will almost always let you carry out one or two pieces of fruit as you leave. This could give you a great beginning to a late night snack, and save you from the extra expenses of that $3 muffin from the coffee shop.

Portion control is also a big issue in dining halls, especially among males. We all like to eat, that’s a given (males and females). So, how do you combat an entire cafeteria filled with delicious food and never ending ice cream machines? I know it’s tough, believe me I do, but this is where we have to practice moderation. Too much pizza and ice cream will make for one very long and frustrating college experience!

How did/does your college rate with their dining services on campus?

Do you have any good tips for anyone looking to save money or eat better at their college dining hall?

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6 Comments

  1. this is a sweet infographic – though when i was in school we didnt get a certain amount of money on our meal cards, we just got a number of meals – 2 or 3 per day, depending on the plan you purchased. the food, like you note, isnt always the healthiest.
    Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog recently posted..Will your CSA Save Money?My Profile

    • @Jeff – If I remember right, I actually had both kinds of meal plans, dollar amounts and then meals. But none of it was very healthy. A whole different issue is the amount of food that is wasted by dining halls every day too. But I’ll save that for another day!
      MoneyforCollegePro recently posted..Surviving the College Dining Hall – InfoGraphicMy Profile

  2. As a university professor for several years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to various campuses and dining halls. You’ve done a great job with this article. One of my favourite dining halls I ate at had a huge fresh bar selection (i.e. salads, fruits, greens, etc). The only bad part was it was all you can eat once you swipe your card on the way in the door.
    Doctor Stock recently posted..Steps to Diversify a Small Stock PortfolioMy Profile

  3. I LOVE this infographic!!!

    When I was a freshman, I actually lost about 10 pounds my first semester, mainly because I hated everything in the dining hall except for the omelet bar, salad bar and baked potato toppings bar. Other than that, I subsisted on grilled chicken sandwiches and cherry coke.

    Overall, our dining halls weren’t too bad. There were enough healthy options if you wanted them.You just had to be careful with the all-you-can eat part of it.
    Jana @ Daily Money Shot recently posted..Self-confidence? What’s that?My Profile

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