Food Friendly

A weekly column

Welcome to Fast Cognition with Naomi Chun.  In this weekly feature I will keep you in the know about interesting issues not discussed anywhere else.  Fast Cognition will be a unique column full of helpful advice and random facts about a myriad of topics.

Today’s discussion is about dining hall food.  As college students it is, it seems, among our responsibilities to complain about the cafeteria food. Most of my conversations at the top of Lenoir are initiated by the question, “What is that?” But, believe it or not, comparatively, we have it pretty good.  Take for example the unlimited salad bar, the large choice of beverages, fruit, and pizza.   Inevitably, however, many of the most popular menu items served by the university are anything but healthy. But have no fear!  Below I offer what amount to three easy tips on how to stay healthy and cut down on calories.  It is a blueprint for surviving the dining hall.


1) Drink water:  Everyone knows the 8 cups a day rule but giving up the sweet drinks is just not appealing, especially with the flowing fountains of soda, juice, and that oh so sweet ice tea in the dining halls.  I myself am a coke fiend.  I drink about 2 or 3 cups of liquid during a meal.  But, here is the good news: you don’t have to give your habit up.  Simply by cutting down a little bit, you can make a dramatic impact.  For instance, try drinking two glasses of water and having one glass of coke.  Already, the calorie intake is reduced by 2/3.  That is 67%!  Even a little effort adds up during the week. 


2) Naked salad:  Salads are great things but sometimes overloading a salad can be pointless.  On your next trip to the salad bar try to add more vegetables and cut down on salad accessories like cheese, croutons, and dressing.  Adding veggies is always good.  Take cucumbers for example, they are mostly water so no harm there.  Also, cutting out the cheese in your salad can make a huge difference.  On average, one ounce of cheese contains about 100 calories; forgoing even this one accessory can more than shave some time on the treadmill.  Furthermore, croutons are bad news.  They are merely condensed carbs and are full of salt.  In other words, it is not all that good for you.  As to dressing, try not to drench the salad.  Dressing is supposed to accent the salad, not be the soup base for it.  If you have a hard time controlling your dressing intake try a different method.  One idea is to place the dressing in a side bowl, dip your fork in your dressing, and then grab a bite of lettuce.  This will allow you to have that creamy caesar without the guilt.


3) Question Special Lines:  Be afraid, be very afraid.  The trickiest specialty line is the wrap line.  Chicken, tuna, turkey wraps all sound very healthy right?  I mean, they are loaded with lettuce, tomato, and fresh ingredients.  Yes, turkey and vegetables are good but dining services usees large flour tortillas to wrap all that healthy goodness.  And, unfortunately, each tortilla contains over 250 calories.  That is a staggering amount of calories that are simply empty.  I recommend trying the sandwich line.  You can keep all those fresh ingredients but a slice of bread averages around only 60 calories. 


In conclusion, you don’t necessarily have to take all the soda and cookies and throw them down Mt Mordor like Mr. Frodo.  Just cut down on them.  The dining hall will be there tomorrow with some more cookies and soda.  It is all about portion size. 


That’s it for this week but be sure and join me next Sunday for more fast cognition.  Until then, I guess I’ll see you around at the dining halls.


12 thoughts on “Food Friendly

  1. M.S. Tic Reply

    Wow, I didn’t realize how unhealthily I have been eating. Those wraps really are bad news if they are using flour tortillas. I want to eat a more balanced meal, but I am continually drawn to the tater tots and the waffles. This was a real eye opener and very well written.

    Thanks Fast Cognition!

  2. A.Lee Reply

    The soda fact is actually really true! I had a friend that only cut out soda and she lost up to 10 pounds!!! Soda really does pack on the pounds because its saturated with sugar and you don’t even realize it because its liquid!

    And I do the naked salad thing too! Except I put a bit of hummus on it instead. Do you think that that hummus is less healthy than just putting some dressing?

  3. Mingli Reply

    I really do love salads for the taste, or else I’d feel like a horse. So instead of a completely naked salad, how about balsamic vinegar?

  4. EEE Reply

    So, what would happen if I cut out everything BUT soda? Tricky, right?

  5. PM Reply

    Are you saying all Republicans are fat because they eat tortillas? That’s racist.

  6. jlcrowde Reply

    All Republicans are going bald because they have four more years of pulling their hair out. Therefore, they eat more because they feel bad about their self image. Thus, they become fatter, yes. And if the implication is that the Dems are racists that is utterly ridiculous…everyone knows it is the independents who are racist.

  7. nchun Reply

    A.Lee: Hummus is GREAT! Hummus has about 27 calories per table spoon compared to dressing that can have up to 50 calories per tea spoon.
    that is almost half! Also hummus has great proteins and vitamins that dressing lacks. So go right on ahead and substitute!

    Mingli: Balsamic vinegar is actually better than the creamy dressings. Also it is about 10 calories per table spoon and gives a lot of flavor. It is actually one of my favorite dressings.

    EEE: If you cut out everything BUT soda, you would eventually… die.

    PM: Um, not quite sure where you got this conclusion or how but no I am not saying that. And I do not quite know what your definition of racist it, but I don’t think the articles reflects such ideas.

    Jlcrowde: tisk tisk

  8. A.Lee Reply

    Thanks Naomi! I will continue with my hummus regimen. Also, do you think eating too many raisins is fattening?

  9. nchun Reply

    A.Lee: I don’t know about fattening but raisins do have a LOT of sugar. Try to find sugar-free raisins or just eat grapes! Grapes are loaded with electrolytes that are great for your body.

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