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.