Prefrosh Preview: Be healthy, live sustainably in college
It’s important to know that exercising isn’t the only way to maintain good health in college. With cafeteria food being an all-too-convenient source of questionably edible food, or the opposite problem of a plethora of off-campus restaurants with rich and decadent meal options, it is crucial to take extra care to make healthy food choices both on and off campus.
In terms of on-campus dining, Vox recommends getting the Campus Dish app via the Google Play store or the Apple store and using the Campus Dish website while eating at Leo’s dining hall. Before you take that cheeseburger with a side of fries for lunch and make a cookie sundae with the serve-your-self ice cream station for dessert, you might want to know what you’re putting into your body, both calorie- and ingredients-wise. Most of the time, Leo’s posts nutrition facts for the hot food stations on the top floor of the dining hall, but the app and website are useful as well.
These tools can be especially useful for those of you who are not used to watching what you eat, both because you might be accustomed to having an active daily lifestyle and having the privilege of regularly eating healthy, home-cooked meals. What most incoming college freshmen don’t realize is that the necessary evil of mass-produced dining hall food is a huge transition from the healthy meals at home, being much higher in calories, fat, sodium, and sugar. Even if you might think you’re eating healthy by having vegetable stir-fry for dinner, you have to consider that it most likely has more oil and sauce than the same meal would have at home. And besides that, there is much greater temptation in college to have cheeseburgers, pizza, or mac and cheese for every meal, because they re always available and you know they always taste good, while most healthy options quite frankly don’t.
One way to ensure you get some nutrition is to go grocery shopping and make some of your own meals and snacks in your dorm room. There are Whole Foods and Safeway grocery stores located within walking distance from campus on Wisconsin Ave. and lots of farmers’ market options around Georgetown and the District if you are looking for even fresher, more sustainable options. (Not to mention farmers’ market food tastes so much better.) Some of the closest and most popular farmers markets are the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market, the Foggy Bottom Farmers’ Market, the Eastern Market, and the GU farmers’ market located on campus every Wednesday. For a more detailed list of farmers’ markets, you can check out this map, which shows over 160 farmers’ markets around the greater DC area.
In terms of cooking your own food on campus, Vox will be honest and say that it is extremely difficult as a freshman, because you don’t have easy access to ingredients, supplies, or a kitchen. There are communal kitchens located in every dorm’s common room, but unless you’re extremely lucky, they might not be the cleanest places to make and keep your meals.
So instead, you have to get creative and come up with some snacks to whip up in your room. Some of Vox’s favorites include greek yogurt with granola and fruit, apples with nut butter, carrots and hummus, and granola bars like Cliff, Kind, and Odwalla bars, which you can pick up at Vital Vittles on campus or any other grocery store.
Vox isn’t suggesting that you should never indulge on Leo’s cookies and ice cream and never eat unhealthy food at all, but just to be conscious and aware of the type of things you feed your body, especially because it can get really hard to maintain your health when transitioning to an entirely different living environment.
Photo: Dephine Eprieur via Flickr.