How to eat clean, healthy with limited campus options

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Nutrition was never really a huge concern to me in the past. In high school, I was very active. I was a student and a three-sport athlete with a job, homework, friends and family to spend time with.

Then I experienced the slippery slope of free time, a campus meal plan and the close proximity and late hours of the South Dakota State C-Store.

It was then that I realized I needed to start eating cleaner and not grab an Oatmeal Cream Pie every time I was in the neighborhood of Larson Commons.

With a campus meal plan, it’s so easy to just tap your ID and spend all your Flex without batting an eye. Plus, your parents aren’t here to say no when you ask for that Kit Kat in the grocery store checkout.

When looking for more nutritious options on campus, it seems like there is just Panda Express and Chick-fil-A, which means you’re going to have to skip breakfast, be sad and eat a salad for every meal — which by the way is nowhere near healthy.

If you do a little research, there is actually a solid variety of healthy options.

Check out these nutritious alternatives, and your meal plan won’t be the only thing that’s flexin’.

Einstein’s Bros.

Einstein’s smoothies might seem like a prime healthy choice, but those things are packed with sugar. My favorite sandwich there right now is the Tasty Turkey. It comes on an Asiago bagel (I change mine to the Everything bagel, but that’s just a personal preference) and features roasted turkey, spinach, cucumber, lettuce and tomato. It usually comes with onion and chive schmear, but I usually substitute it for an avocado spread instead.

Weary Wil’s

The California Chicken Sandwich at Weary Wil’s is another one of my favorites. It entails grilled chicken, Asiago cheese, shredded lettuce, onion, sliced tomatoes, avocado and chipotle ranch. Take out the chipotle ranch and substitute the lettuce for spinach, and we’re in business. You can’t go wrong with the broccoli as your side, and their fruit is seasonal, so that may or may not be an option.

Chick-fil-A

What? How did Chick make this list? Is she confused? I promise you it’s not a typo. The grilled chicken nuggets are fantastic, and when paired with a fruit cup, it is scrumptious. Chick- Fil- A fruit cups are amazing because you get a fabulous mixture: some sliced green and red apples, blueberries, strawberries and oranges.

Greens-To-Go

If you’re ever missing fruits or veggies from a meal, the easiest place to go is the Greens-To-Go area in The Market. Just grab a small plastic container, pile on the pineapple, honeydew, snap peas and cauliflower, then get your healthy self to class.

Extreme Pita

Obviously Pita was going to be on this list somewhere; it’s one of the easiest places to find healthy options. However, not all choices are perfect, and it’s easy to ruin a perfectly nutritious entree.

Honestly, taking advantage of the “create-your-own” option is the best way to get exactly what you want. Lately, I’ve been getting a create-your-own salad and packing that thing with almost all the veggies they have.

Avocados are also an essential— if you haven’t noticed, I look for avocado in just about everything. I would also advise getting your dressing on the side, because depending on who’s making this concoction, they might flood the bowl. Would you like some spinach with that Balsamic soup?

There are many other ways to eat healthy on campus, but these are just a few I have found to be healthy without sacrificing your happiness. Even if you didn’t begin the year making the best dietary choices, it’s never too late to start. Do your body a favor.

Bailey Cowling is the Digital Producer at The Collegian and can be reached at bcowling@sdsucollegian.com.

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