Choosing the Lesser Evil

Article from our sister site Healthy in College!

One of the best parts of being away at school is the ability to make choices independent from your parents. Food and drink options are included in the realm of indecision, and students may become distraught when choosing which option is healthier. Below are some common nutritional showdowns that students are confronted with on a daily basis.

Diet Coke vs. Coffee

Caffeine is never a healthy option when compared to water, but sometimes you just need to get your fix. Although diet coke may seem like the better choice due to its calorie content of zero, but diet soda is full of chemicals and recent studies have linked it to weight gain and stroke. Coffee, on the other hand, has been shown to increase metabolism, and coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. Just don’t go crazy with the cream and sugar!

Wrap vs. Sandwich

Both are widely available on college campuses and can come with a variety of contents from Thai chicken to ham and cheese. Obviously the healthier choice depends on the insides, but when it comes to a decision of wrapping up your turkey, cheddar and tomato in a wheat tortilla or sandwiching it between two slices of wheat bread, the latter is the better option. The generic brand of wheat tortillas (and lets face it, most campuses use generic products) can include oils that give it that density and the high carbohydrate content.

Pretzels vs. Baked Chips

It seems that most meal plan packages include the choice of chips as a side. Although traditionally pretzels have seemed healthier than regular potato chips, baked chips are the better option. With half the calories and half the carbohydrates and an alarmingly less amount of sodium (the baked chips have 700mg less!), baked chips can be good in moderation as a crunchy sidekick to a sandwich.

Goat Cheese vs. Cow Cheese

As a topping on salads or an addition to a sandwich, cheeses are an important part of the american diet. Cow’s milk cheeses are more available on college campuses then goat cheese, but if you can alternate goat cheese for any cow cheeses, do it. Goat cheese is easier to digest and less likely to have hormones, plus it is typically lower in calories, fat content, and cholesterol. Try adding goat cheese to a spinach salad with strawberries, pistachios, grilled chicken and drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette!

Yogurt & Granola vs. Milk and Cereal

Two breakfast essentials, these options are typically the go-to for on the go college students. Of course, as with all things, it depends on the type of cereal (put down the Lucky Charms), milk (choose skim!), yogurt, and granola (skip the sugary stuff), but the nutritional match up is a close one. Granola can be higher in calories, but the protein in yogurt and the fiber in granola will keep you full longer. Plus, when was the last time you were satisfied by one bowl of cereal? Healthy in College loves Bakery on Main granola (Gluten Free!) paired with Greek yogurt.


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