Dish It: Navigating the Dining Hall

While working in the business world, Harvard Business School grad Divya Gugnani realized her true calling was food.  Author of Sexy Women Eat, Divya provides women with tips on how to stay healthy and look great.  And now, Divya has expert tips and advice for college students looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Packing on the pounds in college is way easier than a late night cram session for an 8 a.m. final.  To put it plainly, other than your degree, weight is the only thing you can count on gaining when you embark upon the college journey. In my book, Sexy Women Eat, I provide the everyday woman with simple and usable tips to stay fit and still enjoy food. Now I’m here to do the same for the college student. Be gone “Freshman fifteen!”

Here’s how to avoid stacking on those spare tires while at school:

–Leave your car in the lot. Walk to class; walk to the dining hall– Not only will an extra twenty minutes of walking a day burn calories, it’s also a stress reliever (Did I mention that stress causes weight gain?).

–If you live in a dorm use the stairs. Even if you’re only on the third floor, taking the stairs up and down will firm up that rear. And if you live on the eighth… well imagine how tight that tush will become by graduation.

–When you are out at parties (or alone in your dorm) don’t forget to dance! You’re young, you’re free of your parents, celebrate with loud music and dancing.

Now that we’ve got basic calorie burning tricks covered, it’s time to learn how to navigate the college dining hall. Your school’s dining hall is filled with pizza, fried chicken, burgers and perhaps a nacho station. Who can resist scarffing Doritos and extra large frappaccinos during an all-night study session? When it comes to the dining hall, there are a few simple tips that will keep the bulk in your brain and away from your belly.

Divya Gugnani’s book, “Sexy Women Eat”, provides great tips on how to eat right and stay healthy.

  1. Always eat breakfast!

Too many college students skip breakfast because they wake up late, run to class and wind up binge eating by the time midday comes because they’re starving. By the way, coffee does not count as breakfast.  The morning is the best time to treat yourself to a yummy meal that will sustain you with energy throughout the day. Hitting the dining hall first thing, you will most likely find an omelet station and loads of delicious fresh fruit. Load up! Stick to lean proteins that will keep you full till lunch time like egg whites and Greek style yogurt.  Berries will add a wide range of vitamins as well.

2.  Grab some healthy snacks and be on your way.

Instead of sitting down to a whole pre-cooked meal of lasagna and garlic knots in the dining hall, make a point of hitting the grocery store. Buy items from the outer aisles that have all the fresh produce loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Get back to your room and bag up carrots, hummus, celery, apples and more in individual servings so you can enjoy them on the go. This will prevent you from making a pit stop in your nearest dining hall to pick up a butter loaded cookie.  Regular healthy snacks every few hours will keep your metabolism up and keep you in good shape.

3.  Serving Size Sexy.

Staying fit is all about portion control. And let’s face it, a dining hall filled with unlimited food can mean portion control goes out the window. A piece of chocolate is fine, but whole a bar is too much. The best way to figure out how much you need is to relate the amount you consume to day-to-day objects. Slice your calorie intake in half by having a hockey puck sized bagel, a tennis ball’s worth of broccoli, a shot glass worth of hummus, or  a piece of chicken the size of a deck of cards. Got it? Good!

4.  Stay away from food after midnight!

In college, late night eating causes far more weight gain than anything else. So after a night out with your friends try to avoid hitting the 24- hour dining options. Eating before bed means the calories don’t get burned off. They just sit there all night! Eat BEFORE you go out to avoid late night hunger pains. Gearing up for a toga party where fried snacks will be abound? Eat something healthy before you leave your dorm room.  It’s the healthy way of pregaming.

Now that you’re on the path to a slim bod and a higher education nothing can stop you.

–Guest Blogger, Divya Gugnani


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