20-Somethings - Cafeterias...

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04-09-2008, 04:36 PM
So at my college all freshmen have to be on this ridiculous meal plan which when it comes down to it, means that if I want to get my money's worth, I pretty much have to eat every meal in the cafeteria.

Luckily, my school is really good about having a variety of food, so being able to eat healthy isn't the issue. My biggest problem is trying to figure out portion sizes, especially in the self serve parts of the cafeteria.

Do you guys have any tips on how to estimate portion sizes with out looking like a crazy person? Or better yet, is there any person here who can make the caf stop always having killer fresh baked cookies every lunch? ;)


04-09-2008, 04:42 PM
Here's a little guide for you:


Another thing to think about - fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with protein, 1/4 with carb.

Just a note - pasta portions are a LOT smaller than you think. Try to eat half of whatever they give up, double the healthy tomato sauce and add a side salad.

04-09-2008, 06:14 PM
I wonder if you go to my school....but then again, my school doesn't offer much healthy options! At least you have healthy food there. I'd go with what Glory suggested, and watch how many plates you're eating! I've seen people who ganed 40 pounds in one year and they couldn't figure out why....until they realized the all-you-can-eat cafeteria meant unlimited portions! They were getting 3-5 plates PER visit! Good lord.

LiLi Gettin Thin
04-09-2008, 06:21 PM
Uhg! I remember those days! Our cafeteria had the most awesome brownies ever...and soft serve ice cream with all the toppings, so I had a hot fudge brownie sunday with chocolate chips EVERY day my freshman year. I was still really active around that time, so I didn't really gain much weight which is a miracle!

What I always do when in a cafeteria/buffet type place is if the self serve item is cut-able, like lasagna or meatloaf (not the best examples of healthy stuff, but just to give you an idea) I cut it half, unless the portions are already really tiny.

Someone once told me this, which I've found helpful and easier to manage that trying to eyeball how much four ounces of something is..."Never eat anything larger than the palm of your hand."

04-09-2008, 06:33 PM
Someone once told me this, which I've found helpful and easier to manage that trying to eyeball how much four ounces of something is..."Never eat anything larger than the palm of your hand."

:lol3: This just reminds me of the WW Leader who told us to eat a salad the size of our HEAD everyday. Just a little larger than my hand! :hun:

04-09-2008, 06:58 PM
That website is really helpful so I would take a look at that. Also when you are making things on your own always measure so that you can use to portion sizes. I also agree with the plate thing: 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbs. The key I found with cafes is to be creative a lot of the food is bad for you but once you start getting creative you can make some really good things.

And to tell you on a personal note I gained like 60 pounds while away at school and wished I would have changed my habits back then.

04-09-2008, 08:08 PM
my school NEVER had healthy food!
and I was a vegetarian on top of that!
I lived in the dorms so we basically HAD to eat cafeteria food if we wanted to eat...
I ate stir fry every night for dinner and cereal or salad every day for lunch... =(

04-09-2008, 10:48 PM
Ugh, I remember that. I only had to be on the crappy meal plan for 1 semester (then I got "sophomore status" thanks to all the AP credits, and could use my meal plan money anywhere on campus, including the little grocery store). But it was annoying not to know how much (or even exactly WHAT) I was eating.

One trick I used was to find the smallest plates (they had them by the salad bar) and use them for everything. It looked like a lot more food if I had each item on its own small plate, rather than putting it all on one big plate with room to spare. I only used big plates for salad. :) I even used the little ones in the lines where you DON'T dish up your own stuff... it's easier to get a server to give you only "a little bit" of something if you make them put it on a small plate, lol. Not all of them seem to know what those words mean.

04-10-2008, 11:38 AM
I gained 30 pounds my freshman year... must've been all of those pizza bagels I made in the cafeteria. I am a very picky eater so I refused to eat most of the "crap" they served. For lunch and dinner every day I would take a bagel, sauce from the pasta bar and mozarella cheese from the salad bar and heat it up. Looking back, not such a healthy choice...

04-10-2008, 06:36 PM
Hey thanks guys! Your ideas have been really helpful! College caf. eating can be terrible...sometimes I feel lucky that I've only gained 5lbs since I've been here!