College campus food guide: Foods to eat to beat the Freshman 15

Sep 10, 2008 at 1:24 p.m. ET

Eating well on a college campus is never easy, especially with the late-night studying (and partying!) and still making it to your 8am classes. However, keeping weight off your freshman year and eating healthfully will be an easy endeavor with this quick food guide for college campus dining.

College Girl Looking in to Refrigerator

Your mom was right — breakfast is important

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you have a jam-packed day full of classes, sports, clubs and other social activities.

You may think skipping breakfast is a good way to keep off weight, but, in reality, it just makes you feel sluggish throughout the day and unfocused in your classes.

Great grab and go breakfasts
  • Toasted whole-wheat waffle with light syrup
  • Low-sugar cereal with skim milk and a sliced banana.
  • Whole-wheat bagel with 1 tablespoon of reduced fat cream cheese or peanut butter with a small container of orange juice.
  • An English muffin topped with low-fat cottage cheese and a small container of orange juice.
  • A hard-boiled egg, lightly buttered toast and a small container of orange juice.
  • A low-fat cereal bar with 8 ounces of skim milk.
  • Instant oatmeal with 8 ounces of skim milk and a small box of raisins.
  • Low-fat yogurt with apple slices and a small glass of 100 percent juice.
Most or all of these items are available in a typical college cafeteria.

Snack throughout the day

Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your energy up — as long as you are snacking healthy.

Healthy snacks
  • String cheese
  • Graham cracker squares
  • A few small pretzels
  • 100-calorie packs
  • Cereal and skim milk
  • 1 can of instant soup or low-fat soup from the cafeteria
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • 1 slice of pizza
  • A piece of fruit
  • Granola bar and skim milk

Healthy Lunch

Sandwiches are an easy grab, but some sandwich choices are not exactly healthy.

Healthy sandwich choices
  • Peanut butter and jelly or any nut butter with any jelly or jam
  • Turkey on whole-wheat bread
  • Roast beef on rye bread
  • Tuna on a wrap (not tuna salad)
  • Grilled cheese and tomato
  • Grilled chicken on a whole-wheat bun
  • Grilled vegetable sandwich
Not-so-healthy sandwich choices
  • Tuna salad on a roll
  • Cheese steak
  • Italian hoagie
  • Meatball sandwich
  • Chicken salad sandwich (made with mayo)

Dinner in the Cafeteria

Dinner in the cafeteria is a social event. After classes, you meet up with your friends and share your day's activities and happenings.

However, you don't want to be the only person eating a salad every night trying to stay slim, so here are some healthy dinner options that will keep you cool with the in-crowd.

Healthy dinner options
  • Sandwiches made on whole-wheat bread, pitas or tortillas
  • Tacos and fajitas without sour cream and cheese
  • Veggie or turkey burgers on whole-wheat bun and loaded with vegetables
  • Cheese or vegetable pizza
  • Lean meat with corn on the cob
  • Low-fat soups (not creamy) or chili
  • Baked potatoes loaded with vegetables and cottage cheese
  • Whole-what pasta with light marinara sauce
  • Omelets filed with fresh vegetables or scrambled eggs
  • Brown rice and steamed veggies sprinkled with soy sauce
  • Grilled or broiled skinless chicken with steamed vegetables
  • Grilled or broiled fish with steamed vegetables

Finish with Dessert

Indulging in that chocolate cake or cookie every night will potentially pack on those pounds. But, not letting yourself have sweets can lead to binge eating. Here are some healthy desserts that will keep your sweet tooth in check. 

Healthy desserts
  • Applesauce
  • Fresh fruit
  • 2 small cookies
  • Sorbet
  • Frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream
  • Popsicles
  • Fruit bars
  • Low-fat decaffeinated cappuccino