Seven Tips For Healthy Eating At The ‘Caf’


Carson Crow, Sports Editor

Each day school is in session at Allen Community College, hundreds of students trek to the Student Center cafeteria once, twice, sometimes three times a day to get nourishment, as well as socialize and re-energize for academic studies, activities and athletics.

Staci Talkington is director of Chartwells Dining Services, the food service provider at Allen, and she recognizes that some students struggle with making healthful choices when they move away from home and have a wide variety of food from which to choose at each meal.

In the list that follows, Talkington offers some suggestions for making the trips to the Allen “caf,” as it’s known to many, more enjoyable, more nutritious, and perhaps even better for students’ everyday diets.

Eat a Balanced Plate

Talkington says that one of the easiest ways to begin eating healthier is to make sure you have a balanced plate. That means making sure you have your mix of protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy. Filling your plate with a balanced mix of those 5 staples can help fill you up and help fight the urge to indulge in less healthier options.

Start One Plate at a Time

Eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet three times a day can cause students to sometimes overeat. Students can often get overwhelmed with all the different food options. Wanting to try too many different things at first can lead to getting too much food. The easiest way to combat this is to start with one plate. If you’re still hungry after your first plate, get another one or try something different. This can help you prevent eating too much or having a lot of leftover food that gets thrown away.

Eat More Soup

Some days it can seem to be a struggle to find healthy options to eat at the cafeteria. These are the day you may need to be a little creative. Talkington noted that one of the most overlooked food options are the daily soups. Students fail to recognize that many of the daily soups can be a low-calorie option that provides a balanced meal.

Read Labels

An initiative that Talkington is beginning to implement at the cafeteria is providing food labels. These labels placed by the food options describe things such as the serving size, amount of calories, grams of fat and carbohydrates. The director is also working to make a phone app available in the near future that will provide menus and their nutritional information, making it easier for those who are trying to keep track of what they eat.

Drink Water

This is an easy one. Replacing those sugar filled sodas, teas, and other drinks with water can probably be one of the simplest ways to begin eating healthier. If it’s too much to kick the habit, try limiting yourself to only one soda or drink a day and replacing the rest with water.

Limit Your Desserts

Being surrounded by a limitless supply of desserts can be a huge distraction when trying to eat healthfully. If you’re trying to fight the urge altogether try replacing desserts with healthy fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth. But if the struggle is too real and you have to indulge, try saving your dessert as an end-of-the-week treat on Fridays and limit yourself to only one.

Stay Disciplined

If you’re trying to eat more nutritiously, stay disciplined while standing in the food line. There are going to be all kinds of options, good and bad, and the key is to differentiate between the two and make smart decisions. Don’t allow one slipup or bad decision to ruin your whole day or week. Stay committed and disciplined.