Moving Beyond the Vending Machine: Healthy Campus Eating for the New Year


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By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor


With the beginning of the new year, most of us have resolutions that we want to adopt. Whether they are physical or mental resolutions, anyone who has tried to adhere to a resolution before knows the task isn’t easy. Change isn’t something meant to happen overnight, which is why it’s difficult to stick to resolutions to eat healthy. If you typically have unhealthy eating habits, it’s even more difficult. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Pacing yourself and setting small goals or checkpoints can help you accomplish and stick to your resolution.

For many students, the stresses of college make it easier to lose track of a healthy eating resolution. With budget constraints, daily stress and unforgiving schedules, it can be easy to feel discouraged. There are solutions to these problems. Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eat green food all of the time. Ramen, for example, is a popular college student meal. It’s not the most nutritious option, but it can be improved if you chop up some vegetables of your choice and add them in.

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Something we are always doing is snacking. It’s the easiest option when you’re constantly on the go between lectures and study groups. Consider keeping some of the following healthy choices stocked in your room and backpack, so next time you want to stop by the Union and grab some fries or go to Panda Express, you have better options. Granola or energy bars, high fiber cereal, fruit, crackers or small snack packs all make for great snack choices. Costco is a great place to find these types of items. While Costco’s portion sizes are big, you can share the treats with your roommates and friends to keep them on track, too. Surrounding yourself with people who have a similar mindset to yours when it comes to making healthy decisions will also have a significant impact.

If all else fails, you can simply switch out things that you currently have in your fridge or pantry for healthier options, like low-fat milk for whole milk or grilled foods for fried foods. Exercise goes hand-in-hand with nutrition — remember, the Student Life Center is free for University of Utah students.

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A big misconception with healthy resolutions is they have to be all or nothing. If you gradually make healthy changes in your life, you’ll find yourself more attuned to trying other ways to stick to your resolution. Some general tips for keeping on track: make time for meals, stay hydrated and make sure your portions are evenly sized.

Eating healthy on campus isn’t always easy, but it’s not impossible. If you buy all your groceries at the beginning of the month, you won’t have funds to waste on junk food. There’s always apps like Groupon and most grocers have weekly advertisements and deals with coupons. The small decisions that you make in your everyday campus life will ultimately make or break your commitment to your resolution.

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