Healthy Eating on Campus

Written by: Dustin Swinney

We have all heard and some have even experienced the dreaded freshman 15. Many students who come to the University of North Florida to gain an education leave with a little bit more than they planned, especially around the mid-section. The good news is there are healthy options here on campus that not only promote a healthy diet, but also keep the weight off. Some places make healthy eating an easy task, but in most cases finding the right foods require the will and the knowhow.  

While UNF still has restaurants that offer some of the comforts foods we have become accustomed to with places like Sbarro Italian Eatery and Quiznos Subs, many healthier restaurants like Freshens and Outtakes Quick Cuisine have a variety of healthy choices. Outtakes Quick Cuisine offers a completely vegan section for those who prefer the lighter side as well as fresh fruit and soups. Freshens is known for their fresh sushi and full smoothie bar which offers fruit smoothies and the option of an added boost of your choice ranging from immunity to metabolism.

Choosing food from the lighter side can also be a great way to save yourself from high calorie meals while allowing you to eat something you enjoy. If you are a fan of the Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks try their skinny version and save yourself 2/3 the calories. Starbucks also offers a low calorie breakfast sandwich, which includes turkey bacon and egg whites on a low calorie English muffin.

For those with big appetites, finding something to eat that is both healthy and filling can be a difficult task on campus but I have found both at Chick-n-Grill. Chick-n-Grill offers “chicken bowls” that can be supplemented with brown rice instead of white and all the vegetables you want for the same price as a regular bowl. Chick-n-Grill also has several different styles of chicken to choose from ranging from buffalo to teriyaki. The chicken bowl serves as an awesome post workout meal packed with the protein and complex carbohydrates that will help get you through the rest of your grueling school day.

The real key to eating healthy is being informed about what is healthy and what is not and making the right food choices. You should always look at the nutritional content of food items if they are available to make sure your food choice is not packed with calories, fat and sugar. Sometimes restaurants claim they have a healthy product, but when you look at the nutritional content it tells a different story. I find most places that offer healthy choices are up-front with their nutritional content, so if the place you are eating does not offer nutritional content it would be safe to assume the food you are about to consume is not good for you.

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