Hello from University of Central Florida!  🙂


I’m at the student union because I’m doing two Operation Beautiful presentations today.  My presentations are a part of “Healthy Knights” Week.  Super excited to be doing more speaking engagements!


Since I had a presentation scheduled at 11 and another at 1, I decided to not pack a lunch and eat on campus.  Makes me feel young again!


I wandered around and checked out a few options:  pizza, burgers, and fast food EVERYWHERE!  But then I stumbled upon this sign:


Um, yes please!


I ordered a falafel wrap with a Greek salad and hummus on the side.  With a water, it was $8.  Not too bad for campus dining.


The wrap was pretty good.  Not super healthy by any means, but definitely tastier than pizza.


I had a little more than 1/2.


Plus, all of my Greek salad:


And most of the very delicious hummus.


I am very pleasantly surprised by UCF’s healthier options.  Go, Knights!


Currently, I am eavesdropping on three students who are watching Obama’s address on health care.  So collegiate.  I remember being so involved in politics while in school!  I’ve become a little apathetic.  Must read up on CNN!


Whether you’re a former student or a current one, what are the best tips you have for eating healthy in college?  My favorite tip has always been to start each meal at the buffet with a bed of spinach, and then pile everything else on top!



  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 23, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Wow that falafel looks SO good! Man eating well in college was so hard and I was really bad at it. One tip is to take advantage of having a free gym membership (if your school offers one!) and workout as much as you can to counteract all the crap you eat (and drink)!

  • Laura H. March 23, 2010, 12:21 pm

    I’m thinking you might mean that the wrap was pretty good rather than “the water was pretty good but not super healthy by any means.” hahaha! I got a good chuckle here at my desk… 🙂 I hope the presentations go well!

    • caitlin March 23, 2010, 12:22 pm

      hahah oh, typos. so ironic.

  • Emily March 23, 2010, 12:22 pm

    I work full time and I’m in school full time (mostly online). However, on Tuesday I work from 8-5 and the have class from 6:30-9:30. We have a small fridge at the office that will hardly hold enough for my lunch and I’m at a community college so there is no eateries on campus (boo!). I just have to stop by and grab something on my way. Sometimes I’ll get a Subway footlong and eat half for lunch and half for dinner. When I get out of class I’ll have dessert (I need any kind of reward after sitting for 3 hours in an economics class!!!!).

  • Jessica @ How Sweet March 23, 2010, 12:23 pm

    Ohmigosh, my school didn’t ever have hummus! We had a Pizza Hut and a Burger King!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    From what I remember it was pretty tough! I had lots of sandwiches on wheat and trips to the salad bar!

  • Neely March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    I love falafel. And hey I am super impressed by how much stuff you got going on! Go you.

  • Jenny March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Eating healthy on campus is easy if you stick to dining halls and make your own salsa or wraps- steer clean of on campus chilis!

  • Evan Thomas March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Go into college being a health food and fitness blogger; that helps 😉
    I definitely think the closer to vegan you eat in the dining hall, the more heathful your choices. And that’s not to say you have to sacrifice flavor. My dining hall has great vegan food. I would just not trust the meat they serve. Maybe that’s more of an ethics thing and not a tip for eating “healthy” per say but it’s what’s most on my mind.

  • Julie @SavvyEats March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Keep healthy snacks that travel well on hand at all times, like almonds and Glo Bars!

    You get to feel like you’re back in college a lot this week, eh? 🙂

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Fabulous to see movement towards offering more healthy driven options on campus! I always found it so hard to eat well on campus when I was in college. I won’t lie…I would ALWAYS bring my food for the most part.

    My suggestions now would be to stick to fresh food as much as possible: sandwiches, salads, protein + veggies and then snag a granola bar or dry cereal for some added carbs. I think the second suggestion would be to keep things full of variety when possible! Step out of the box and try something new when you can..you never know what you may find!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    you know, i never lived on campus, so i always either ate at home or went for the healthy options around campus. the starting with the salad bar thing sounds good, plus carrying your own water and snacks with you saves $$$ PLUS you get to make healthier decisions that way!

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething March 23, 2010, 12:25 pm

    ooooh that looks so good!
    i went to college many years ago and the way i kept my freshman 15 off was skiing and doing triathlons….the food was never too good so exercise was the key for me back then 🙂
    good luck on your presentaions! i am so proud of you and operation beautiful 🙂

  • Jessica March 23, 2010, 12:27 pm

    The University that I work for (University of Michigan – GO BLUE!) currently has a program for healthy eating on campus for students, faculty, and staff (http://www.med.umich.edu/mfit/). The department have been working with restaraunts on campus to designate healthy options on their menus to help students make good eating choices.

  • Allison March 23, 2010, 12:28 pm

    What worked for me: joining a sorority. Seriously! I was surrounded by happy, healthy, positive women. Also, instead of eating in the cafeteria, we had a cook at our house. She was cooking for 40, so it wasn’t always the healthiest, but it was better (I felt) than cafeteria food. First, there was ALWAYS a big salad bar for lunch & dinner. Second, she kept healthy snacks like yogurt and fruit in the kitchen for munching. Not that I didn’t eat my fair share of 3:00 A.M. nachos and hot pockets, but I also snacked regularly on healthy stuff!

  • Molly @fuelherup March 23, 2010, 12:28 pm

    My school has a sub shop and a coffee shop, but then each dorm has a servery- a buffet with sandwich, salad bar, burgesr/fries/baked potato bar, and then a hot food bar that changes everyday. Oh, and ice cream and dessert everyday. It’s definitely harder for me to eat healthy but not impossible at all.

  • Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn March 23, 2010, 12:28 pm

    My strategy in college used be just like yours! I stuck very closely to the salad bar, and started each concoction with a huge bed of greens. Also, if I got the hot dinners or lunches served, I stuck to the rule of 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs, 1/2 veggies.

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle March 23, 2010, 12:28 pm

    My college had a cafeteria option or another area with different stations where you could get just one meal: wraps, burritos, “grill food” (aka mostly fried), pizza, or salad/soup bar. I found my eating greatly improved when I stopped going to the caf. When you are faced with endless variety, you’re way more likely to overeat or go back for more!

  • Karla March 23, 2010, 12:29 pm

    I’m a grad student now. Cornell surprisingly has a lot of healthy options. I think a lot of it has to do with the local food movement here and the fact that Cornell is largely an ag school. That being said, my best healthy eating on campus advice is to bring a lunch from home. There are microwaves all over campus to heat things up (same was true at my undergrad school) and it’s a million times cheaper! While a lot of the food looks good, I think it’s pretty expensive (for me $8 for a lunch everyday would be WAYYYY too much).

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 23, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Man, that is much healthier than anything we had at my college! I wish I could give some healthy eating tips here, but the truth is that when I was in college, my eating habits were pretty abismal.

  • Kelly (Local Foodie Fight) March 23, 2010, 12:31 pm

    Eating healthy in college, an oh-so-important thing to do but often no so easy. I lucked out at my school, we have really great options and really no so great options, but I enjoyed our food (don’t eat it anymore as a senior off campus). We have Bon Appetit, which is a great, sustainable, healthy dining service. I stuck to the vegetarian stuff. My problem was portions! The unlimited-ness of the dining hall was definitely a detriment to my diet 🙁

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers March 23, 2010, 12:32 pm

    My tip for unlimited cafeteria plans would be to remember that it will be there tomorrow too! You don’t HAVE to get ice cream everyday, I promise it will still be there tomorrow (by the way, I did not follow that advice in college haha)

  • mal March 23, 2010, 12:35 pm

    I am currently a freshman in college. My first semester was pretty rough and a huge wake up call as far as my eating habits. Not gonna lie, I did put on about 5 lbs. But come 2nd semester I have definitely realized what I needed to change. I now fill up the majority of my plate with veggies!! And I have recently become ‘flexitarian’. I’m happy to say those 5lbs from last semester are long gone! And you wont be hearing anything about freshman 15 from me! 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and good luck on your presentations!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] March 23, 2010, 12:35 pm

    I’ve been able to eat healthy food during college, but that doesn’t cancel out the freshman 15. My advice is to minimize late night snacking – especially carb-dense ones.

  • Laura Smith March 23, 2010, 12:36 pm

    i’m a freshman right now so in the dining hall i always make a huge salad with as much veggies as i can. and always have a glass of skim milk too. need some protein1

  • Liz March 23, 2010, 12:36 pm

    I was not healthy at all in college! It’s not like I ate pizza at every meal but I wasn’t concerned with the nutritional value of anything.

    From what I have read campuses are offering more healthy options, so I would say try to eat wraps, salads, etc (anything with veggies) and drink lots of water after those nights out. The late night/post-drinking eating is usually what “gets” people, so try to keep healthier snacks in your dorm room as an alternative to ordering delivery.

    Good luck on the presentation!

  • Nicci@NiftyEats March 23, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Aww, I loved how my private college has d a burger joint on campus with veggie burgers and salad bar. I frequented there often and cheese pizza. haha Sometime, it was tempting to eat whatever with the 8 different food lines and it beign all you can eat.

  • Sara March 23, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Wow what a great thing! I wish my cafeteria had better options when I was in school…

  • Laurie @ Write to Live March 23, 2010, 12:38 pm

    First of all, the dining halls require a lot of will power! In my first two years of college, I remember getting up a few times for seconds–it’s so easy when it’s already paid for! Now living off campus, I pack most of my lunches because the options may seem healthy (ie. veggie wrap) but are usually laden with not-so-nutritious stuffings. I stick to my own food so that I know what’s in it. But, on the outside change that I do eat on campus, I make a HUGE salad, eat that first, and then decide if I really want the other offerings.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs March 23, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Wow what a giant campus!! I think that’s a uni I was looking at for possible postgrad study…it’s just crazily big looking lol!
    I don’t think I really have many good tips for healthy eating in college, other than buy lots of veggies!!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 23, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Wow those are some pretty delicious looking eats, especially for a college!!! I’m a college student (though i’ve taken this semester off) but i’m a commuter, I live at home. So my biggest tip is to pack your meals and snacks!!! It will save you money and be so much better for you (well, depending on what you pack).

  • Becky March 23, 2010, 12:45 pm

    For someone who is admittedly appatheic regarding politics, you sure made a big deal when Obama got elected…

    • caitlin March 23, 2010, 12:56 pm

      yes, well… my life is a lot busier than it was 1.5 years ago and i just don’t have as much time to pay attention to cnn. not really sure what the point of your comment was, though.

      • Becky March 23, 2010, 2:41 pm

        Well, my point was simply that you made quite the big deal about the election, but have somehow stopped caring (or maybe you never did, and were just on the bandwagon) about what is happening in your country. And for someone who is self employed, and pays for their own health insurance, you should probably pay a little attention to what is going on.

        • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 3:30 pm

          you are assuming wayyyy too much in both of your comments. please keep it friendly!

    • Lauren March 23, 2010, 6:27 pm

      Wow, calm down Becky.

  • Tay March 23, 2010, 12:46 pm

    That place looks like a mall foodcourt! haha. My campus has randomly scattered food places, and a few kiosks in one building,but nothing huge. My best tips would be to eat a good healthy breakfast. Pack snacks and lunch for the day. If you must buy on campus, look for a sandwich place, or salad bar. Our campus recently got an excellent salad bar (but it’s pricy! My normal salads come out to $14!). You only live once, so don’t stay in and not drink just because you’re scared of calories. Go out and enjoy yourself! But if you’re going out to drink, try not to let the drunk munchies get out of control!!

  • Liz March 23, 2010, 12:47 pm

    I’m currently in college and am VERY lucky to be living in a dorm that is apartment style living. I love having my own kitchen! Last year, though, I lived in the traditional dorm and grappled with the infamous college dining hall. I found the best thing was to walk around the dining hall and plan your meal. The few times that I didnt’ do this I had major impulse “buying” and picked up pretty much one of everything. So, yeah, definitely focusing on a balanced meal helps. Also, utilizing the salad bar and just the dining hall in general. You could get grilled chicken breasts upon request but a lot of people didn’t know that. Oh-and plan your splurges. We had AMAZING brownies and soft serve and I had a spell where I had made a brownie a la mode with dinner every single night, haha. It was delicious but it also stopped feeling special (and the freshman 15 slowly crept on). I definitely enjoyed it more when I spaced out my treats.

  • Danni March 23, 2010, 12:47 pm

    if you’re drinking for one purpose only…stick to vodka and water. dont waste calories on a fancy and expensive cocktail you wont remember 🙂

    • Emily March 23, 2010, 1:51 pm

      LOVE YOUR THINKING! lol I’ll have to try that!!

  • Kristi March 23, 2010, 12:51 pm

    When I was in college-almost 3 years ago I would try very hard to eat healthy, especially my last semester there. My favorite items to buy at school were the build you own salad and sammy. If you are building it, you know what is in it and can control it too! I was also a huge fan of the breakfast options-instant oatmeal and an apple everyday I ate breakfast on campus 🙂

  • Meredith @ Sweat Every Day March 23, 2010, 12:52 pm

    When I started to get healthier, I was still in college! My university was ranked in the Top 10 Fittest Campuses in the country, so thankfully I had a lot of good options. I checked our Dining Services website and was surprised to find an awesome Nutrition Calculator that had all food options from all places around campus, even the pastries at the coffee shop! I could look at the menus and build my meals ahead of time, calculate the nutrition, and see how I was doing. Amazing!

  • Ashley @ Good Taste. Healthy Me March 23, 2010, 12:53 pm

    It was really tough to eat healthy in college. I was basically stuck eating salad, sandwich or cereal. The rest of the stuff was fried, full of fat etc. My school wins awards for their dining halls too, but yuck I hated it!

  • Bethany (Not Unless I'm Being Chased) March 23, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Not only was I on campus for 4 years as an undergrad, I work on one now — so the unhealthy eating choices abound!
    My suggestion is go ahead and fill your plate in a balanced way: fruit, veg, lean protein (if you’re not a vegetarian) and grains. Then eat in this order: veggies first, fruit second, lean protein and then grains (white flour refined dinner roll anyone?). You’re filling up from the start with the “good” stuff and working your way down to the “not as good” stuff.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing March 23, 2010, 12:58 pm

    Our food was SO expensive and there as no salad bar. 🙁 I definitely put on wait the first couple of years in college.

  • Catherine March 23, 2010, 12:58 pm

    That’s pretty good fare for college eats! My school used to have massive salad bars in each dining hall with everything imaginable so I used to make sure to start every meal with a big plate of salad before I even touched the non-salad options to make sure I got my nutrition in! Esp since my school had a dairy farm that churned their own ice cream which was trey tempting. 😉

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired March 23, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I have no advice on eating healthy while in college because I was probably the unhealthiest person ever in college. I would probably say just stay away from the pizza. Stick to your veggies and try to make homemade meals as much as possible…although unless you have a kitchen that is pretty hard!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 23, 2010, 1:01 pm

    $8 seems like a lot for a campus meal.

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 3:40 pm

      really? i thought it seemed cheap. maybe U PITT just robbed me blind??

      • Julie @SavvyEats March 23, 2010, 4:54 pm

        Yeah, for what you got, that seems fairly pricey…

        • Cyclist Kate March 23, 2010, 5:32 pm

          I’ve noticed that campus food is more expensive than food I would get elsewhere. That may just be my campus, but it certainly ain’t cheap!! Rice and beans at our campus mexican place costs $6!!!

  • grace b March 23, 2010, 1:04 pm

    I don’t know if this was mentioned, but grocery shopping is my best way of eating healthy. I try to grocery shop one or twice a month and stock up on healthy snacks, breakfasts, fruits, veggies, and some frozen meals for nights when our cafeteria/dining services have closed and I need food.

    I end up supplementing that with our dining options. The cafeteria is definitely better than the schools cafes but I try to combat this with my groceries and drinking lots of water. Not gonna lie, after spending last semester in a major city where food was expensive and the school food options were pretty poor (big school I went to for off campus program) I have been eating a lot of my school’s food so probably not eating as healthy as I could be.

    Can’t wait to graduate next year and get away from the pressure of having a meal plan!

  • Matt March 23, 2010, 1:06 pm

    My biggest tip is PACK YOUR OWN FOOD. It is cheaper, healthier, and tastier if you know what to pack. Honestly, I think campus food sucks.

  • Kelly March 23, 2010, 1:06 pm

    I did not worry about eating healthy in college at all, sigh, why can’t I have that metabolism back. I think I ate everything on a bagel, haha.

  • Sophie @ yumventures March 23, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I always made my own everything (salads, sandwiches, stir frys)…that way you know what is going into it, and you can make healthier choices!

  • Kait March 23, 2010, 1:16 pm

    I agree with your advice! When I was on the meal plan I always started at the salad bar when I was building my meals. Now that I cook for myself, I always pack my lunch (to save money) and to resist the temptation of eating what they offer on campus since most options are fast food and greasy…

  • Lauren March 23, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Skip the meal plan. I forced myself to cook in our tiny little kitchen and never gained the freshmen 15. In fact, because I had some free time and a gym within a 2 minute walking distance I actually lost a lot of weight and toned up. Best body I’ve ever had!

  • Robyn March 23, 2010, 1:26 pm

    When I was in college it was hard to eat well. We were surrounded by fast-food mexican, chinese and pizza. I hope by now they’ve come up with some super healthy alternatives.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople March 23, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Is falafel spelled wrong on that sign or is it just the angle? How funny.

    Awesome that you were able to find something! When I went to community college I was not trying to be healthy whatsoever. Lunch was always cheese pizza and a pepsi. On Fridays they had taco salads, so I at least got some iceberg lettuce in there. At least it is full of water, so I was getting something.

    Now that I think about it, other than getting a plain salad, the college didn’t offer anything of nutritional value.

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 3:41 pm

      hahah falafel was spelled wrong.

  • Miriam March 23, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Haha I do not think I am the best one to give advice. When I was in college I was fueling on scones or low fat muffins (if I could find any) & coffee! Been a poor student I couldn’t afford the salad bar/buffet or anything complete or and healthy. At the end of my college years (see there the years I began to be serious about exercising) I was addicted on proteins bars and I would always carry some fruits and small containers of vanilla soya milk with me.

  • Caroline March 23, 2010, 1:36 pm

    My tip: Don’t procrastinate on writing papers and studying tests! Then you will not have to stay up ALL night working (and eating). I would stay up all night almost once a week and, in order to keep myself awake, made countless trips to the vending machines, 3 am fast food runs, late night cookie baking extravaganzas, etc. etc. etc. You know, “Study for 30 more minutes and you can take a cookie break…” that kind of bribing myself. Surprisingly, I lost weight in college. But I felt like CRAP much of the time. Sleep deprivation + sugar rush = MAJOR crash and hard to get back on track.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) March 23, 2010, 1:40 pm

    My early (and only) college years of college were when I actually acquired healthier eating habits and lost all of my high school weight. Perhaps it was partially in thanks to the brand new cafeteria built on the campus. It had a ton of healthy options from healthy, fresh sushi to salad bars. Come to think of it, I can’t think of much junk food other than what was present in the vending machines all over the campus. When I go back this fall, though, I think it would be more economical and healthier to pack snacks/lunch.

  • caronae March 23, 2010, 1:40 pm

    Sounds like a decent choice! My school is extremely wealthy and has a ton of fresh, healthy options in cafes and dining halls. We get delicious homemade salads, sushi, smoothies, burritos, whole wheat pastas, etc. My advice to other students is not to be afraid to combine things! If you want to take some brown rice from the stir fry station and top it with some plain yogurt and veggies, go for it!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat March 23, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Wow, I wish they’d had that where I went to school! I ate like crap in college, but I think if I had it to do all over again, I would bring my lunch as much as I could. We did have a Subway though, so that would be a better option than pizza or burgers. I guess just doing research and finding out what all of your options are would be a good first step. There’s also fruit in the cafeteria, I think 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 23, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I always stole fruits and veggies from the dining hall for snacks later. Saved on eating junk in my room although I did a good bit of that too.

  • Lindsey @ Sound Eats March 23, 2010, 1:57 pm

    I knew you’d end up eating there when I saw your post was at UCF. 🙂 I used to love getting their hummus and soft pita…sooooooo good.

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self March 23, 2010, 1:58 pm

    My school had an amazing stir-fry bar where you could customize your order. I got tons of servings of veggies that way!!!

  • Monica (Musings of the Granola Girl) March 23, 2010, 2:03 pm

    I attended DePaul as a freshman and they had some healthier (although ridiculously expensive to go along with the tuition) options. At a state school now with slim to no options, I pack my own food!

  • Julia March 23, 2010, 2:06 pm

    If I could travel back in time, I would never get up for seconds at the dining hall! I ate my share of pizza and french fries in college, but I often ate pretty healthy too (veggie burgers, giant salads, omelet bar). However if I got up for seconds I would almost always end up getting french fries, dessert, tater tots, and other unhealthy stuff. It was never because I was actually hungry, it was just because I wanted it.

    However, when I lived in an apartment junior and senior year, I started eating healthy breakfasts regularly and ate much better overall without french fries to tempt me all the time! If only I had drank half as much beer and worked out more often… 🙂

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place March 23, 2010, 2:15 pm

    my tip for cafeteria life is to SKIP the free frozen yogurt a few times a week! I usually ended lunch and dinner with a soft serve cone every single day..not to mention the toppings bar….eek!!

  • Amy Botta March 23, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I am currently working on my masters degree, and one of the main problems with out campus is the lack of healthy items available to eat. However one trick that I often use is to scope out the veggie soup of the day. Most of the vegetarian options tend to be loaded with veggies, and are not cream based. Also I tend to also end up going to the sandwich bar and getting a veggie filled wrap or sometimes something with a bit of meat. Also during the week we have this great stir fry bar, which allows you to choose what goes it in, including oil.

    I find that eating healthy on campus can sometimes be difficult, but as long as your creative and not to picky, anything can be made healthy! When living in residence I used to use the burger toppings to make a nice healthy salad.

  • Jes March 23, 2010, 2:23 pm

    I must have missed the announcement about your presentations; otherwise, I would have come by to say hello.

    I have found that if I bring snacks that are good for me, I am less tempted to go to the vending machines.

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 3:31 pm

      aww i forgot to say something 🙁 i would’ve liked company!

  • Lauren March 23, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I am in school in Chicago, so I have a bit of a different experience than people who only have access to campus food. But when I did eat from the on-campus dining hall, they had these convenient to-go boxes that had separations for different foods. It really helped you realize exactly how much you were consuming because if the chicken breast, sandwich, or pizza slice didn’t fit into the compartment for the “main” compartment, you knew that it was probably too big of a portion. And you can’t go wrong with the salad bar, but sometimes they do not have healthy dressing options. I had to ask the manager to provide an option other than the highly caloric ranch and thousand island dressings provided. Finally they gave in and put a “light” ranch option out. It’s better than nothing!

  • Maura March 23, 2010, 3:01 pm

    I tried to drink as much water as possible, load up on veggies at meals, and skip the frozen yogurt (or top it with fruit). Unfortunately, now that I’m out of college & at a desk job- I seemed to have gained more weight? I can’t win hahaa

  • Gavi March 23, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I lost 50 pounds during my junior and senior years in college. I moved into apartment-style housing with a kitchen, and I taught myself how to make healthy, fresh meals. I continued to attend Weight Watchers meetings on-campus and I learned how to make good choices in the dining halls. Most campuses have a lot of healthy foods available–you just have to know where to look!

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion March 23, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Lunch looks great! My best tip was waking up early and having SOMETHING for breakfast. That way I was starving and ready to eat my own arm off when it was time for them to bring out the steak and cheese and fries at lunch. If I wasn’t starving at lunch I always made a better choice.

    • Julie @SavvyEats March 23, 2010, 4:56 pm

      Ditto on this one, regardless of whether you’re in college or not! I always took an extra piece of fruit up to my room at lunch/dinner to have with breakfast the next day!

  • melmo March 23, 2010, 3:25 pm

    aw that looks delicious. It’S horrible that in every college or school or whatever they just sell fastfood.

  • Amy @ Second City Randomness March 23, 2010, 3:26 pm

    I think my tip would be to try something new at least every other day (for those who eat in the dorm cafeterias). When I was doing that, I got in such a rut of just going to my regular plate of pasta or chicken sandwich and large plate of fries. We don’t even need to discuss all the reasons this was bad! Ick… I’m surprised I still even like fries the way I used to take them down!

  • Dotsie March 23, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Don’t you just love college campuses!? Great pics-makes me want to go hang out at my old college campus! I wish Greek options were available where I went…heck, I wish more Greek places were open in my town!

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries March 23, 2010, 3:33 pm

    I also love doing things that make me feel “young” again! Too funny. My best piece of advice is to keep healthy snacks in your room. It’s often much cheaper than belonging to the meal plan that provides 3 square meals a day. That way, you’re not tempted by all the fried stuff. Not to mention, my cafeteria ALWAYS had ice cream. So not conducive to healthy eating!!

  • Stacey March 23, 2010, 3:34 pm

    YUM to your food..I haven’t eaten on campus since I ordered fries and they came AUTOMATICALLY drenched in Ranch dressing 🙁 What is this world coming to?!

  • Hilary March 23, 2010, 3:35 pm

    I lived at a dorm my freshman year that had (and I’m not being at all sarcastic) the best food. I always started with a BIG salad and then had a much smaller helping of whatever the main course was. I managed to avoid the Freshman 15, so I guess it worked.

  • clay March 23, 2010, 3:56 pm

    i am eating at college now. I have to live on campus as a freshman and my only cooking method for now until i get my apartment in the summer is a microwave. I do all my own grocery shopping and NEVER eat what they serve in the horrible dining hall!

  • LindsayH March 23, 2010, 4:28 pm

    i work at a university, so im sometimes faced with eating here. my tip is to check out nutrition info! my university’s dining services has a great interactive site for nutrition information (you can see it here: http://www.dining.iastate.edu/nutrition/netnutrition.html). another idea is to familiarize yourself with offerings surrounding the campus. depending on the type of campus (urban vs. small town, etc.) there might be some good options in a “campus town” location that is within walking (or bike or bus) distance.

  • Janna (Just Flourishing) March 23, 2010, 4:30 pm

    My tips for eating healthy in college probably stem from everything I did WRONG.

    1)Befriend the salad bar. My caf had a pretty good salad bar and I should have gotten acquainted with it sooner
    2) Try and cook for yourself if you can
    3) Limit your pizza and beer consumption – that is what got me. The pizza and beer. I would drink the beer and then I would want the pizza!
    4) Get in some exercise. take advantage of your college gym or join a sports team, dance group… whatever it takes!
    5) SLEEP – i think this gets a lot of people. To be healthy you need sleep!

    • Julie @SavvyEats March 23, 2010, 4:57 pm

      Add to number 3: Ice cream! That’s what always got me… 🙂

  • Ada March 23, 2010, 4:44 pm

    I am currently in college and my tip would be to sneak a microwave into your dorm room by covering it with a blanket. Oops, did I just say that?

  • Shayna @ Cuts and Curves March 23, 2010, 4:58 pm

    I’m a college student, and I never eat at the school. I always, always bring my own lunch. It’s better (tastier and healthier) than the stuff they offer.

  • Miri March 23, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Aww I’m so sad I missed your presentation! I was actually wondering if you were ever going to give a presentation in Orlando, and then I saw this lol. The worst part is I work on campus so I was right there!
    I went to UCF for undergrad, and now grad school. During undergrad, I lived off of Subway and that place you visited. LoL. The food options are changing, so I will probably have more options as a grad student.
    So exciting that you were at UCF! Hope you enjoyed your visit 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 23, 2010, 5:07 pm

    When at uni I would definitely try and bulk out my meals with salad etc – but yes – it can be hard eating healthily on campus 🙁

  • Jayce March 23, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I also went to UCF and lived off of Subway and that Mrs. Fields place while on campus also. It’s funny they had that sign up because the only sign they used to put up was “2 hot dogs and coke for $2.99!” which was ironic because all their other food was way better. I also regularly drank those giant to-go cups of sweet tea from Wackadoos, so bad but so good!

  • Keri March 23, 2010, 5:11 pm

    ughh I was sooo NOT healthy in college! Until senior year anyway, when I dropped the meal plan and food shopped every week!

  • Lauren March 23, 2010, 5:13 pm

    Hey Caitlin

    I am in a Nutritional Science class in college and today we were talking about the “proana” blogs. I had never heard of them before today in class and i know that you have the operation beautiful blog which promotes a healthy body image so i didn’t know if you had any opinions or thoughts about these blogs? I just thought it’d be great to hear your opinion about these blogs that seem to “encourage” anorexia when there are so many blogs out there (like Operation Beautiful) that are trying to help women of all ages realize they are beautiful the way they are.

    Also if anyone else wants to comment but doesn’t know what proana blogs are these are two examples of them:


    Just thought this kinda went with the topic of the post today. Love your blog!:)

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 5:25 pm

      Pro-ana blogs are very, very sad and destructive. I recommended anyone suffering from distorted eating or an eating disorder not view the blogs (which is why I deleted the links). I do not think people should run such websites and should have more consideration for people who are suffering from an ED. It hurts my heart 🙁

  • Molly March 23, 2010, 5:28 pm

    the freedom that came with campus dining did a nasty toll on my body. in my first semester of freshman year i gained nearly 25 pounds.. it was not healthy and not okay. Thankfully sophomore through senior year I lived off campus and was able to buy my own groceries and cook my own food and slowly as in 5 years almost the weight has come off.. whoosh.

  • Kate March 23, 2010, 5:40 pm

    I used to eat so unhealthy when I dormed. Hello french fries & m&ms! My tips are just to eat fruits & veggies. I never took into account the fact that alcohol had calories in it either!

  • Jalita March 23, 2010, 5:42 pm

    I didn’t eat healthy at all while I was living on campus. With temptations a few hundred feet away I ate the most unhealthy of foods. I will not say what I ate. I don’t even think there were vegetarian options. I’m not one, but I don’t think it was possible to eat healthy at this school. However, I think they had yogurt and salads, but that’s it.

  • Ellen March 23, 2010, 5:43 pm

    Unfortunately, no one could be inspired by the way I ate in college! I didn’t gain the freshman 15, but I did carry around an extra 5-8 pounds throughout most of my college life. TI remember when we got sushi in our student union, and I thought I was being so healthy, even when I was dunking each piece in that creamy orange sauce! Oops!


  • Angharad March 23, 2010, 5:50 pm

    Err I would walk home to make lunch and dinner! My problem wasn’t the normal three meals a day but the forth meal I inevitably had 4+ nights a week after several hours at the bar/club. Full plate of pasta or giant kebab at 3am? Totally normal…

  • Jocelyn March 23, 2010, 5:59 pm

    What cheeses me..is that for a slice of pizza would be 3 dollars or less. Why does “healthy” food have to be more costly? I know at my old campus the only options we had were “healthy” stirfrys and salad bar (thats IT) a big salad was nearly 10 dollars!..Crazy.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) March 23, 2010, 6:09 pm

    There was a place at my University that you could get a fresh stirfry made with whatever you wanted in it for veggies and protein, and then you would choose the sauce and they would cook it up and put it on rice or noodles for you. I would get that a lot. I also got soup a lot, which I think is a decent option usually.

  • Shannon March 23, 2010, 6:15 pm

    I definitely think hitting up the salad bar is the best bet, then maybe pick a couple healthy sides. I loved adding a cup of fruit or a sweet potato. For breakfast the options were AWESOME, you could get cereal, oatmeal, or they’d make you an amazing delicious and healthy omelette right before your very eyes. 🙂

  • Samantha March 23, 2010, 6:28 pm

    Oh my goodness what a great campus eatery(is that a word?) hah. Our campus doesn’t have very good/healthy food. 🙁 We do have a salad bar but the lettuce and leafy greens always look dry and gross. Very disappointing.

  • Whitney B March 23, 2010, 8:20 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I’ve been reading your blog for a while; I think you’re so inspirational. I just had to let you know that I finally drummed up the courage to try a Green Monster… and you’re right! It was delicious! I’m addicted!!! Didn’t taste like spinach at all. Though I have to admit that I used vanilla almond milk. Is that cheating? I’m looking forward to trying a GM with rice milk next. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, and have a great evening!

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 8:22 pm

      yay im glad you liked it! sometimes i use vanilla milk too! it’s yummy!

  • Sammi March 23, 2010, 8:28 pm

    I go to a small art college so we don’t have too many options on campus. Freshmen year I gained a little weight because the food selection was awful! But since then I’ve lived in a place with my own kitchen and I barely ever eat out. I also exercise a lot too. I’m more healthy now in college than I ever was actually. I just avoid campus food!

  • Helen March 23, 2010, 8:54 pm

    I was very lucky where I went to school. I actually went to a state school and the first year there, they opened a new dining hall. It had a huge salad bar and granola/fruit bar, stir fry station, deli counter as well as a vegan bar with different specialties. Of course, you could still get pizza and fries everyday, but if you wanted to eat healthfully, it wasn’t hard

  • Ashley March 23, 2010, 9:56 pm

    Ah, I’m so happy you made this post about healthy places to eat at UCF. I’m a grad student there and had no idea that place existed. It must be fairly new. Good to know.

    I really wish I could have made it to your presentation today…I could really use your advice these days regarding self-image.

    I should tell you, last year I saw a “you are beautiful” message written on a mirror in the bathroom at the teaching academy. It made me smile.

    You are so awesome!

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 10:33 pm

      thank you so much!

      have fun at UCF – its such a big campus!!!

  • Foy Update - Cook. Garden. Write. Repeat. March 23, 2010, 10:03 pm

    Is it just me or does $8 seem really expensive to you?

  • The Fit Collegiate March 23, 2010, 10:53 pm

    I make regular trips to the grocery store and stock my mini-fridge in my dorm room with easy, portable fruits and veggies: pears, bananas, apples, carrots. I also make microwave oatmeal in my dorm room every morning–it’s easy and cheap! I’ll put a zip-lock bag of carrots with me to the cafeteria and have them alongside the cafeteria sandwiches for lunch. Also, I rely on Subway and Amy’s Organic Frozen meals!

  • Mary March 24, 2010, 12:16 am

    the best advice that I can give anyone for campus dining is to make your own food! being a recent college grad (may ’09) I did the best my last two years with a minimal food plan and I cooked dinner every night with my roommates. each one of us would cook something that we loved. one made Italian, one made Asian and I made veggie something or another. it worked perfectly!

  • Susan @ Journey for Health March 24, 2010, 2:34 am

    I am a college student, but I think in the three years I’ve been at my school, I have eaten there only a few times. In my less than healthy eating days would usually just get snack foods, usually because anything else was gross or overpriced.

    Today I tend to just eat at home. I don’t live on campus and don’t have to be on campus over the whole day, so I’m lucky on that, but it is really hard to eat healthy on campus. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Scorpio Woman March 24, 2010, 9:01 am

    Your breakfast looks really yummy. And all the other food pics. You’re so lucky to have nice weather. Here in Montreal, we’re back with cold weather and in the night, we had a little bit of snow. Have a nice day!

  • Caitie March 24, 2010, 7:11 pm

    I go to UCF but I dont live on campus! However, I definitely take up the gym’s classes which are sort of “free” (even though we pay tuition!). I LOVE the classes. Spin, abs, weight classes, etc. They make working out so much easier! Also, eating wise, I dont even allow myself to buy things that I know I could devour (ice cream!!). Well, I let myself buy a half-gallon probably once a semester! I make sure I always have fresh fruit and veggies around too. Luckily, I literally live right across the street from a publix so if I need something, I can just run and go get it!
    I rareeeely eat on campus because I’m only there for classes now. However, when I do, I like jimmy johns:)
    I’ve bought lara bars and clif bars from the little grocery store, but its so overpriced, so I try to remember my own snacks for class!
    I actually have been wanting to try that falafel place but havent yet!!

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