Getting enough protein and eating well w/ college dining

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So I'm working on not only losing weight, but also gaining muscle. As a poor college student, I use my free college gym (which ROCKS so hard) and live off dining hall food. It's free, it's convenient, and did I mention it is free?

However, attending a Southern university means that a lot of the meats are fried and/or smothered in gravy. Which is just not going to happen, because I don't even think I can stomach it. However, I can't live on salad alone- It's just not a attainable goal. So how do I ensure I'm getting enough protein? Does anyone have college dining hall eating tips? What should I look out for and what should I avoid?

Replies

  • malavika413
    malavika413 Posts: 474 Member
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    It's not just Southern universities, too. My Catholic, midwestern university is notoriously unhealthy. Salads are okay to a point, and the problem with the stir fries and pasta dishes are portion sizes, they just dole out the food and you have no idea how much you're eating. I'd love some tips as to how to eat at a college dining hall.
  • leahraskie
    leahraskie Posts: 260 Member
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    Does your college offer nutrition content by your food, or if they don't you could ask the university nutritionist for something like that? We always had an allergen station so there was always something that was not fried at all, but the sizes of their portions were debatable especially with pasta.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
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    Request the nutritional information from the head of the kitchen/ web site/ student government/ dorm officials
    Request a low cal menu. If you have enough students, they can do that for you -- esp if you get some assistance from the health center or student gov.

    Learn how to visually manage portions of pasta, rice, . .
    Good options in the mornings -- eggs, bacon, fruit and veggies
    Lunch - salad with protein, fruit, yogurt, vegetable soups, -- you can tell them you only want the chicken and to leave the rice off your place for example, skip the fries
    Dinner -- anything baked or broiled, fruit and veggies, (burgers (because you can good make a good guess on the size,
    Be mindful of the calories in alcohol.
  • NotJustADieter
    NotJustADieter Posts: 229 Member
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    They do offer nutritional information, plus MFP actually has it all loaded as it is all Sodexo Campus.

    I think I'll be able to do the mornings- was leaning towards cottage cheese, eggs and fruit (no bacon bc kosher and trying to really keep to it).

    Lunches will be hard because on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have no time for lunch. I like the salad with protein idea though- they do sliced grilled chicken. We don't have yogurt and the veggie soups are always cream based though :/

    Dinners will be what kills me. Everything is always fried and COVERED in gravy. I usually can get something without the gravy but part of me is considering asking for steamed fish every day, which is an option because kosher and dietary needs, but I'd rather just pick and choose what is good for me. How are lentils, all things considered? We have a South Asian specific area just because so many Indian and Pakistani students come to the school, but I don't handle spicy well (IBS).
  • NotJustADieter
    NotJustADieter Posts: 229 Member
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    Also we have a specialized dessert chef and he makes amazing things and it kills me so I need ot do some serious self control/portion control with that.
  • malavika413
    malavika413 Posts: 474 Member
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    Trust me, they temper most of the Indian/South Asian food to fit the normal palette. I'd recommend yogurt to eat with all Indian food (we do it all the time as part of our cuisine) but if you don't have yogurt, you could try milk or cottage cheese. I have an aunt with IBS and this is how she manages while getting to eat her native Indian food.
  • NotJustADieter
    NotJustADieter Posts: 229 Member
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    I've tried it, sadly, and it is still too spicy for me. The issue isn't my palate, it is the IBS- I cannot have heavy spices in anything I eat or I'll be sick for days. There's only cottage cheese in the mornings, and never any yogurt.
  • malavika413
    malavika413 Posts: 474 Member
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    Lentils, on a whole, are not at all spicy and very filling. I eat lentils like 3 times a week at home, they're a staple. If you can get good lentils at your dining hall, go for it.
  • monolith66
    monolith66 Posts: 168 Member
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    Buy from Walmart, eat what fits your macros.
  • Tal_Kyrte
    Tal_Kyrte Posts: 38 Member
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    For dinner, try eating the vegetarian option. There shouldn't be any gravy, and it'll probably be much healthier.

    For protein, cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk are all great options. Lentils (especially black beans) are loaded with protein as well. And tofu. If you eat these fairly regularly, you shouldn't have any problems getting enough protein. I believe that it's something like 97% percent of Americans get enough protein (actually double or triple the recommended dosage), including vegans and vegetarians. So I wouldn't be too worried about it. It's much more common to not get enough nutrients and other essentials like fiber. Make sure to eat plenty of plants, preferably raw. You don't have to subsist off of salad, but try eating a dish of broccoli with mashed potatoes or some other staple.
  • NotJustADieter
    NotJustADieter Posts: 229 Member
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    Buy from Walmart, eat what fits your macros.

    Like I've said, walmart is a pretty solid distance away, I have no car, and I do not have the money. Dining hall is free.
  • meshashesha2012
    meshashesha2012 Posts: 8,326 Member
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    you should be able to get a note from the health center that says you need a "special" diet to meet your health specifications.
  • NotJustADieter
    NotJustADieter Posts: 229 Member
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    you should be able to get a note from the health center that says you need a "special" diet to meet your health specifications.

    It's not a disability situation and they only do that for disabled students.
  • Lizzy622
    Lizzy622 Posts: 3,705 Member
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    My daughter's university meal plan is also run by Sodexo Campus. They have a Kosher Kitchen dining hall on campus. The offerings there tend to be better. If they don't have one you may want to get a petition together. The company seems open to suggestions and willing to change (although not too quickly).
  • PRMinx
    PRMinx Posts: 4,585 Member
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    They do offer nutritional information, plus MFP actually has it all loaded as it is all Sodexo Campus.

    I think I'll be able to do the mornings- was leaning towards cottage cheese, eggs and fruit (no bacon bc kosher and trying to really keep to it).

    Lunches will be hard because on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have no time for lunch. I like the salad with protein idea though- they do sliced grilled chicken. We don't have yogurt and the veggie soups are always cream based though :/

    Dinners will be what kills me. Everything is always fried and COVERED in gravy. I usually can get something without the gravy but part of me is considering asking for steamed fish every day, which is an option because kosher and dietary needs, but I'd rather just pick and choose what is good for me. How are lentils, all things considered? We have a South Asian specific area just because so many Indian and Pakistani students come to the school, but I don't handle spicy well (IBS).

    I can understand not wanting to do it every day, but steamed fish is a really great alternative for you. It's kind of awesome they do that...