5 Tips to Beat the Cafeteria Blues

By: Dana Schulz ’16, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator


You walk into the dining hall and it hits: the rich aroma of burgers sizzling on the grill, French fries bubbling in the fryer. It all looks so delicious, finally free from your mother’s scrutinizing eye, able to indulge in whatever your heart desires.

…And for a few weeks, it’s great.

Then, it dawns on you; you can’t eat your hundredth turkey wrap without the possibility of growing feathers. You find yourself missing the home cooked meals you once dreaded. As it turns out, eating on your own might not be as easy as you once thought.

We’ve all been in this rut. When you’re looking for a way to escape your taste fatigue, here are 5 tips to re-introduce the meals you’re yearning for: college edition.

  1. Mix it Up! All too often, we find ourselves gravitating towards the same few food items. Not only does this limit the variety of nutrients we get, it can become terribly boring! Whether you have a meal plan or grocery shop for yourself, consider choosing different sources from each food group to spice up any meal.
  2. Reinstate the “Family Dinner.” With the fast-paced, hectic lives that most students face, eating as a group often gets pushed to the wayside in exchange for quick, time-efficient meals. Not only does eating together increase our sense of community, it introduces food variety and increases fruit and veggie consumption. Grab a few friends or roommates and start out with just one meal together, one day a week. You might be surprised how refreshing it can be!
  3. Half and Half! If you have a meal plan, finding a happy balance of dining hall and home cooked food can be challenging. Although the dining hall provides plenty of healthy and delicious options, you might be craving something the dining hall isn’t serving that night. What should you do? In an effort to effectively utilize your dining points, consider purchasing the protein item – like a piece of salmon or steak- from the dining hall and crafting the sides at home. There are many delicious microwavable recipes available today that are great for anyone, especially those living in a traditional dorm!
  4. Take a Hike. Do you feel locked into choosing a specific dining hall? Often times, students have a North vs. South mentality. Don’t be afraid to switch it up! Although both North and South Campus Dining Halls offer similar items, they vary in food stations and atmosphere. So, next time you’re in the neighborhood, consider giving the opposite dining hall a try!
  5. Make an Appointment with a Nutrition Coach! Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, the beginning of the semester can be challenging, and even a little scary. However, figuring out how to enjoy your college eating experience does not have to be a source of stress. Come in and visit a nutrition coach to learn how to get out of your food rut!

To learn more about beating the cafeteria blues, reserve your session with a Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or emailing UHC-Nutrition@umd.edu.

This entry was posted in Nutrition, Physical Wellness, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 5 Tips to Beat the Cafeteria Blues

  1. Emily Tolino says:

    I love the ideas of family dinners! I remember looking forward to those during my freshman year. They’re healthy for the mind and body! Thanks for all the great advice!

  2. Hannah Dentry says:

    Mix it up! I definitely am guilty of sticky to the same old thing at the dining hall. Maybe I’ll try some marinated steak at salad sensations to get out of my chicken rut!

  3. Katelyn says:

    I’d like to try a “family dinner”! That sounds like fun!

  4. I love your idea of “hiking” to the other dining hall to change things up! It also helps digestion when one takes a walk after a meal. With the cooler weather coming it is the perfect time to make an evening stroll part of your wellness plan!

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