Cheat #6: Navigating the Dining Hall

Transcription of Podcast:

AAliyah Payne: Hi, I am AAliyah Payne, a senior nutrition student and the blogger behind Cheats for Cheap Eats. Today we are going to be discussing cheat #6, which is “Navigating the Dining Hall.” In a previous blog post I mentioned eating in the dining hall can save both commuter and resident students money when buying meals, but I never went into depth on how to eat healthy once you get into the dining hall so I thought this would be the perfect podcast topic to follow up on that post. I have a special guest to here to help me share some advice.

Isabelle Fiore: Hi my name is Isabelle, I am also a senior nutrition major. My blog is called “Free Radical Fighters” and I blog about the power of antioxidants.

AP: So I don’t know about you, but when I think of dining halls I think it is a cheaper alternative to buying out because it’s either included in your meal plan and you already have that choice while on campus. I think here (FSU) for commuters it is $7/meal and is a buffet style dining hall.

IF:  I agree, (along with being cheap) there are also so many choices in the dining hall. Whether it’s vegan, whether you want pizza, salad from the salad bar, or even if you wanted to buy something with your dining dollars there is so much variety.

AP: I agree, I think maybe the one thing that could make the dining hall unhealthy is buffet styles can be hard to navigate if you do not understand portion sizes and are exposed to the unlimited amounts of burgers, fries, pizza, and the ice cream machines. It can become unhealthy if your choosing these options everyday.

IF:  I agree, to add onto that, I think it is also important to take a lap around the whole cafeteria, that’s what I normally do. I do this just to check out all my options, that way I do not waste food and overeat.

AP: Also choosing the main lines can be healthier, instead of unlimited lines, because they usually have more portion sizes and the portion matches with the calorie count on the menu or signs. Also trying out the salad bar which is all vegetables, is obviously a healthier option. The sandwhich bar is another line that has portion sizes.

IF: I agree, and to add onto the sandwhich bar, Carylon Holland (FSU dietitian) told me they have grilled chicken at the salad bar which can be added onto your salad or into your sandwhich.

AP: I did not know that..that’s a good tip!

AP: Now that we have gone through some of the healthier options in the cafe, I’m now going to recommened what you should avoid or limit to at least two times a week. This is anything that has unlimited options such as fries, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream machine, and desserts. These options are usually not portioned and are instead splayed out into a big pan and you can scoop out as much as you want. I think eating in these lines more than two times a week can become unhealthy since these lines contain unhealthier foods as opposed to the salad bar, soup bar, sandwhich and main line.

AP: To reiterate the better options make sure to circle around the dining hall, stick to the main line since they are prescooped and portioned for you. Also most places (dining halls) offer fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a great snack and it’s free since it’s buffet style, so you would not have to pay for snacks on the go.

IF: I agree, I think those are some great tips!

AP: Thank you Isabelle for doing this podcast with me today. Make sure to check out my blog “Cheats for Cheap Eats” for tips on how to save money while eating on a college budget.


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