For some people the crossover into adulthood involves some life-shaking event. My turning point came that frightful day I moved into the University of Hawai'i at Manoa campus apartments. Now I had a kitchen and hungry tummy, but no meal plan.
Dinner wouldn't be waiting for me when I got home. Fruit salad and carrot sticks weren't going to magically appear in the fridge anymore. And now I had to pay attention to the expiration date on the milk carton.
Then I realized, I can cook SPAM (protein), I can cook rice and saimin (starch), and strawberry ice cream (fruit and dairy) is just a store away. OK, I'll live.
This is an easy way out for many of us just entering college. But it isn't healthy. If we want a nutritious diet, we need to broaden our menu.
Judging by the inside of my friends' and neighbors' kitchen cabinets, cereal seems to be the breakfast of choice. I know those sugarcoated cereals with marshmallows may seem "magically delicious," but there are healthier options. Instead, choose the whole grain or bran cereals that typically include more fiber, less fat and less sugar. The Food and Drug Administration recommends starting your day with a whole grain cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
If you're on the go, grab a bagel or muffin (preferably whole wheat), yogurt and a piece of fruit for a quick, easy and wholesome breakfast. You can eat them in class, while you wait for the bus, or (if you're coordinated enough), as you walk to class. I personally like to crush up a granola bar in my yogurt.
Busy schedules usually make it more convenient to eat lunch on campus than to go back to the apartment to cook.
UH Manoa offers several places where you can get a nourishing meal. Susan Fukushima, operations and marketing director for Sodexho, the international food-service company that runs the UH eateries, says they recognize the trend toward healthier eating on college campuses. "Our culinary team has developed menus and recipes to meet that demand. Recipes reflect less fat and sodium, and we have implemented an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu." Students can choose from a healthy selection of salads, stir-fry, wraps, sandwiches and more.