Eat this, not that

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience for your health

Must … finish … paper. Need … Jolt Cola.

Must … finish … paper. Need … Jolt Cola.

You are on your own for the first time. No more, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” or refrigerator stocked with snacks when you come home from school. With the multiple eateries on and near campus and availability of processed snacks, it’s easy to fall into the habit of choosing convenient food and drinks (and spending too much money on them) that just aren’t healthful for you. Here are a few healthful alternatives for those common cravings you may have on those long school days.

You crave: energy

It’s easy to fall into the habit of being lured by one of Butte Station’s more than 20 energy drinks as you cross campus. But many of the big brands contain nearly 300 calories and more than 60 grams of sugar. To get a boost in the morning without the straight-to-your-dome effects of a typical energy drink, try a large canteen full of water and a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana, which contain vitamins and natural sugars that can give you a boost. Or, help yourself to a caffeinated tea such as green or black tea, which can be served hot or cold and sweetened with no-calorie Splenda or all-natural sugar.

You crave: a morning bagel

Don’t make the same mistake I made—when your stomach is grumbling and you have back-to-back classes ahead of you, it’s easy to grab a quick bagel and cream cheese, which are sold for less than $2 at most campus eateries. However, the average bagel is low in fiber and high in carbohydrates and calories. To stay full without stuffing yourself full of bread and setting yourself up for a carb crash later, try a yogurt parfait with berries and granola from the Marketplace Café (in the BMU), which is high in calcium and low in fat—not to mention the antioxident-rich berries. Or, stop in at Butte Station and grab a hard-boiled egg, a small bag of dry almonds, a string cheese and a piece of fruit, all of which cost about $2 total. If you still need the sustenance of a bagel, go for a whole-wheat or whole-grain version and snag a fat-free cream cheese.

You crave: a bottled juice or tea

When you have a mid-day sweet tooth or are feeling the effects of low blood sugar, it’s tempting to stop in at a campus convenience store and grab a Snapple, SOBE or sweetened iced-tea drink. However, even “all-natural” juice drinks are usually loaded with sugar, and a SOBE Green Tea contains 240 calories and 61 grams of sugar. Instead, consider heading over to the hot tea station, where you can brew your own choice of tea (tea bags are around 60 cents on campus) and pour it over a tall glass of ice. If that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, head to the Marketplace Café for a low-calorie smoothie made fresh at the Sub Station.

You crave: pizza everyday

Mmm …who couldn’t eat pizza every day? However, many people don’t stop to think about how not only are the white-flour dough and cheese loaded with calories (and fat in the case of the latter), but many sauces contain hidden additives and oils. Instead of reaching for a tempting grab-and-go slice, consider picking up one of the pre-packaged sandwiches sold at eateries around campus. The sandwiches are made fresh each morning and are never left overnight. If you’re still craving that melty goodness, consider zapping a ham-and-turkey sandwich in the microwave for a few seconds.

You crave: a hot dog

With multiple hot-dog stands wafting smells throughout campus, it’s no wonder many students stop for a cheap dog and bag of chips between classes. While most people know that they don’t want to know what is in a hot dog, you can get a decent protein/carb-balanced meal and cut down on extra calories by restricting the toppings to just mustard (which is naturally fat-free), onions and maybe a little pickle relish. Avoid extras such as ketchup—which is loaded with sodium—cheese, chili and mayonnaise. And skip the chips and swap soda for water or unsweetened iced tea.