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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Better know a dining hall: Mistry serves it up fresh

It’s easy to enjoy the Dining Hall, but sometimes the vast array of meal options makes it too easy. With buffet-style dining and mountains of delectable dishes waiting to be devoured, the “Freshman (or First-Year) Fifteen” seems unavoidable at times. I enjoyed the Dining Hall a great deal last year (an extra few pounds worth), but had to work off that weight this past summer so I want to try to prevent that for others. Healthful dining never means sacrificing taste though; through some creative cookery and good portion control, we will eat healthily and deliciously.

Maintaining the same level of food intake at each meal is important to feeling full, so I like to adapt my meals to include more of the healthful options and less of the fried variety. Any item of food can be added to in a manner that fills you and makes the dish more nutritional. Pizza, for instance, is a great foundation to any nutritious meal. I like to start with a slice of pizza and then meander over to salad bar. I’ll pile it high with lots of vegetables, including peppers, onions, black beans, and tomatoes and then sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top and microwave it for about 27 seconds. This simple slice of pizza transforms into a veritable vegetable feast in a matter of minutes.

Another great option includes a meal-worthy salad. This is no simple salad, as simplicity with one’s salad leads to boredom and a general lack of tastiness. I like to fill a plate with lettuce over which I will compose the medley of vegetables. (I’m partial to romaine for its crunch, but also appreciate the deeper flavor of spinach.) The salad bar contains a vast quantity of flavorful toppings, including cucumber, carrots, onions, beans, and more! I like to top my salads with some sliced meat from the Grille, and then garnish it with Italian seasonings and black pepper (found at the pasta station) and finally drizzle a VERY slight amount of dressing on top. This is one of those dishes that I tend to avoid putting in the microwave.

Desserts and drinks are another section of the meal where cutting calories can be incredibly easy and tasty too! We’ll start on drinks with one of the easiest concoctions the Dining Hall has to offer. Rather than drinking calorie-laden soda or plain water, I like to upgrade my previously plain water by adding a lemon or lime. Simply grab a section of citrus as you swing through salad bar, and enjoy a delicious, calorie-free drink with your meal. For desserts, think natural. As appealing as that scrumptious gooey butter cake or cheesecake may seem, eating platefuls with every meal cannot exactly be defined as beneficial. However, some “desserts” can provide both nutrition and a delicious end to a meal. I love using celery, carrots, or bananas as a base. These can be chopped or whole and placed on a plate with small condiments such as honey, peanut butter, and cinnamon. These natural flavors are a refreshing, healthy twist on dessert.

Finally, the best method for nutritious eating is portion control. Not only does eating small, single portions at a time help promote health, it reduces the amount of food that goes to waste. I personally like to eat on the smaller plates found at the pizza station and in the small bowls usually used for stir-fry meat. Eating more variety is possible thanks to these smaller portions that allows for more experimentation. And in the event that those smaller portions are not filling enough, you can always go back for seconds. So, in the weeks to come, experiment with more nutritional food options and smaller portions to see if you can eat your way to a healthier you.

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