The Painted Plate would like to welcome new and returning students to Murray State! We are here to encourage healthy living to all Racers. Many students worry about options at the cafeterias on campus. MyPlate has created some tips to stay healthy in the dining halls:
Know what you’re eating.
Quite a few dishes from MSU’s menus are already posted either online or on-site. Look ahead so you can plan to eat healthy once you get there. ChooseMyPlate.gov, SuperTracker, and My Fitness Pal are great references and tools to help you keep track.
Enjoy your food, but eat less.
Richer foods may taste great, but typically have more calories. Use smaller plates and smaller portions to prevent overeating.
Make half your grains whole grains.
Healthy swaps include whole grain bread or pasta instead of white, and oats instead of more refined grains.
Re-think your drink.
Americans drink an average of 400 calories per day! These are empty calories, meaning they don’t provide any nourishment. Choose water, milk, unsweetened tea, and black coffee over sodas, sweet tea, sports drinks, and sugary, creamy coffee.
Make half your plate fruits and veggies.
Fruits and veggies fill you up without contributing many calories. They also add color, nutrients, and flavors to your dishes.
Make it your own.
You don’t have to eat strictly according to the menu. Feel free to mix and match! You could add protein from the hotline to a salad, or slice some fresh fruit to add to your yogurt.
Slow down on the sauces.
Dressings, gravies, and sauces are added calories and often are high in fat. Cut down on the amount you use or try adding flavor with spices and seasonings instead.
Be on your guard at the salad bar.
Just because something is from the salad bar doesn’t make it healthy. Some ingredients to look out for are bacon bits, croutons, fried noodles, olives, and some dressings. All of these contain high amounts of fat and sodium. Choose low-fat or fat-free dressings and fresh veggies to add variety and color.
Make dessert special.
Allow yourself dessert only once or twice a week, or only on special occasions so you don’t overdo it. If your sweet tooth is calling, satisfy it with some fresh fruit or yogurt.
Once you and your group have finished eating, don’t stay for an extended period of time. You may be tempted to eat more. Make a suggestion to go somewhere else to socialize, like a study lounge, library, or the wellness center.
Hopefully these tips will help you get by in the dining halls this semester. Happy Painting!