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Food Awareness in College

How the USDA’s MyPlate Guide Can Help You Eat Right at School

June 23, 2011

Food Awareness in College

by Aaron Lin

Eating in college brings a slew of questions. Are you going to have enough meals? Will you gain the Freshman 15 from dining hall food? Even with all the dining opportunities on campus, there are some foods that are easy to keep in your dorm room or apartment for quick snacks or healthy meals.

The USDA’s MyPlate (the replacement for the food pyramid many are used to) shows a few important ideas about proper diet. It’s in the shape of a plate and is divided into rough fourths, with each fourth representing one food group – fruits, grains, protein and vegetables plus a cup for the dairy group. The new diagram is all about good knowledge, good decisions and portion control. Keeping this in mind, here are a few foods that I’ve personally found last a while in the dorms and are generally healthy, too.

Fruits: Dried fruits are the way to go here. Coveted by hikers and endurance runners, raisins pack a natural sugar punch and don’t go bad in a matter of days. Try dried cranberries or banana chips, too.

Grains: I love the taste of whole wheat tortillas and bread. Go with whole grain or wheat because multi-grain is not the same thing.

Protein: Proteinis either animal- or plant-based. Some research shows that the plant-based kind is more easily absorbed so spread some peanut and cashew butter on bread or crackers!

Vegetables: Celery and baby carrots are both long lasting in the refrigerator. Celery tastes great with peanut butter and baby carrots are good with pretty much any dipping sauce. Steam carrots up in the microwave with a bowl and a bit of water or keep some folic acid-rich leafy greens like baby spinach handy, too.

Dairy: It’s tough if you don’t have a fridge but plain yogurt is packed with digestive-aiding probiotics.

Aaron Lin is a chemistry major at Louisiana State University but has plans to transfer to LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to pursue a clinical laboratory science degree and further feed his interest in the application of scientific and medical knowledge. In his free time, Aaron likes to eat food, read and write about food, exercise to work off that food and play the occasional computer game. He also enjoys footbiking, running and Frisbee.


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