Food for thought

Catherine Boudreau

The new cafeteria on the Mount Carmel campus is now offering its students alternative ways to beat the “Freshman 15.”

Let’s face it–eating healthy in college is not easy. Fried chicken, french fries, pizza, chips, ice cream, candy–all of it is pre-made and ready to go. It stares you in the face, tugging at your taste buds, begging you to eat it as you walk into the cafeteria. Not to mention Primo Pizza, Domino’s and Tonino’s are all just a quick phone call away.

The newly renovated cafeteria boasts more healthy options for its students to choose from. Before you wander into the café to get a bite to eat, you should first know what constitutes a healthy diet. A person should be consuming between 58 and 78 grams of fat a day, and a small amount should be saturated. The calories from the fat you consume should be less than half of the total calorie count.

A well-balanced and nutritious daily diet should consist of:

An apple a day keeps the...swine flu away? Photo Credit: Charlotte Greene

Nine servings (four cups) of fruits and vegetables. Eating a salad with a lot of variety in color is a good choice in the café. Avoid creamy salad dressings that can have over 75 calories per tablespoon. Choose olive oil with balsamic vinegar instead, or hummus, which is very tasty and full of protein. The spinach salad bowl at the new Naked Pear Café has just 260 calories and 7 grams of fat. Grab either a piece of fruit or a cup of fruit at every meal. Remember that potatoes do not count as a vegetable.

Between 55 and 74 grams of protein. The best protein comes from fish, poultry, beans and nuts. The char-grilled chicken breast sandwich from Coyote Jack’s Grille has 27.2 grams of protein and 354 calories, 99 of which are from fat. Order it without cheese and substitute the bun for whole-wheat bread for an even healthier meal. Another good source of protein is a large black bean soup from Au Bon Pain. It contains 22 grams of protein and 360 calories, only 10 of which are from fat. The steak flatbread-fold from Naked Pear has 390 calories and 21 grams of fat. This is a good source of protein. Remember to keep red meat as only an occasional part of your diet due to the high fat count.

Half of our total daily calorie intake comes from carbohydrates. Make sure to choose the right carbs, however. Whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta, as well as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables contain unsaturated and monounsaturated fats as opposed to sugar-sweetened soft drinks, cookies and most processed, packaged snack foods that contain the saturated and trans fats that are so awful for our bodies. White bread usually contains enriched flour and is another “bad” carb. Eat sandwiches with whole-grain bread and have rye bread in the morning. It is a good source of fiber and keeps you feeling full longer.

Twenty grams of fiber for women and 30 grams of fiber for men. Any lentil soup from the Café Q has a good amount of fiber, usually between 14 and 16 grams. Instead of buying fruit juices, buy a whole piece of fruit. They have fewer calories and are a much better source of fiber.  An orange has 45 calories as opposed to orange juice which has about 165. Also, the carbohydrates in fruit juices are mostly from sugar.

Things to avoid: Any variation of fried chicken stir fry at Chef Yan Can Cook. The orange chicken has 620 calories and 5 percent of the fat is saturated. A bacon cheddar burger at Coyote Jack’s Grille has 690 calories, 418 of which are from fat. A pepperjack, egg & bacon salsamole wrap at the Grille has a whopping 890 calories, 433 from fat. The Buffalo Chicken Flatbread at the Naked Pear Café has 510 calories and 22 grams of fat.  A serving of broccoli cheddar soup from Au Bon Pain has 500 calories, 320 from fat.

As in any place you dine, there are unhealthy and healthy choices.  Because Café Q will be your main source of food for the next eight months, make sure you can pick out the healthy from the unhealthy.