Hey everyone! Right now I’m on day 15 of my 2nd round of Whole30 and feeling amazing! I dealt with some iffy digestion from days 8-10, but feel much better now. I have also been sleeping well, which is one of my main motivations for doing the Whole30. I’m back at college for the spring semester, and I was really nervous about being able to succeed with my Whole30 on campus, but so far it isn’t proving to be too difficult. I’m sure the idea of navigating dining halls and campus food while on Whole30 seems incredibly overwhelming when you first think about it, so I’m going to share some of my keys to being successful with the program on a college campus.
First, let me start by saying I live on campus in a dorm, and my room is on the 3rd floor while the kitchen is on the 1st. I don’t have a fancy suite with a shared kitchen or anything, so I have the most basic of resources available to me. I knew that given this situation, the key to my success was going to be preparation. The weekend before I drove back to school, I spent a couple of days prepping and meal planning so that I wouldn’t have to think much about what to eat once the semester began. The kitchen in my dorm has a freezer, so I prepped 3 casseroles and 2 pans of meatloaf to go in there so I wouldn’t have to A) spend money buying ingredients once at school or B) spend lots of time cooking that could be spent studying. Here are the casseroles I made:
PaleOMG’s Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Paleo Turkey Sweet Potato Casserole with Eggplant & Tomato from Skinny Fitalicious
Zesty Paleo Meatloaf from Paleo Newbie (I made two loaves)
My own Buffalo Chicken Bake
Now all I have to do on the weekends is buy and prep veggies (which can be as easy a steaming them in the microwave or eating them raw) or get a side of veggie from an on-campus eatery if I’m in a pinch. How easy is that?
Now, navigating the dining hall. It’s easy to get frustrated with the dining hall because it seems like almost all of the food has some sort of allergen in it. But, if you know what to look for and find your staples, the dining hall can be a breeze. For breakfast, options are pretty limited, but the dining hall always has hard-boiled eggs and fruit, so those are my staples. I also sometimes bring nut butter or avocado along with me to get in some healthy fats. In my dorm, I’ve been eating sweet potatoes and chia pudding, which are super easy to prep and keep in the fridge.
Dinner is a little harder. In most college dining halls, you are bombarded by bread, dessert, pasta, and veggies and meat with creamy sauces around every corner. I have been relying on grilled chicken (which most dining halls have every night) or any other meats that aren’t covered in sauce for proteins. As for veggies, I always make sure they are labeled gluten-free or vegan before partaking, since there is always a chance they are cooked in butter or thickened with corn starch. My dining hall has a vegan station that usually has at least one type of veggie and always has sweet potatoes (thank goodness for this!). If all else fails, you can load up with greens, raw veggies, hard boiled eggs, and oil/vinegar at the salad bar!
I hope these tips have been helpful and that if you are thinking about trying a Whole30 while at college, you seems more confident in your ability to do so now! And even if you’re not, you can definitely still use these tips to make your college eating habits a little more wholesome and nourishing!