Good nutrition while living in a dorm?


(msf02) #1

Are there diabetic dorm dwellers on Juvenation that have experience they can share on how to eat/cook nutritiously while away at college?  It appears that most of college on-campus housing does not allow cooking in the room.  The meal plans seem to be fast food restaraunts.  Suggestions appreciated.

Thanks,

Michelle


(golfpapabravo06) #2

I make sure to make regular grocery trips...I don't cook for myself but I appreciate good home cooked food.  I wouldn't be able to eat nutritiously without Clif Bars...haha no joke they're healthy just not really that filling.  I'm still trying to work that part out right now, ill definitely keep an eye on this thread.


(Eric_Carpenter) #3

There are a lot of "distracters" on campus like vending machines or a university Taco Bell, but there are usually good options too.  The dining halls should have better choices...my university publishes a daily menu and even identifies vegetarian dishes and so on.  If there are no good options for you there, talk to the relevant people.  One of our dining halls started carrying soy milk, and I was told I could request they make a non-sugared cereal available where I ate.

For making your own food, if you can't cook in the room, a lot of dorms have a community kitchen (sink, stove, microwave) you can use.  Find out if you can use a rice cooker, you can also use them for steam cooking.  Those are the quick tips I stumbled on.


(Kristi1967) #4

It's been a while since I was in college, UTKnoxville (go Vols), but the best thing you can do it just count carbs and love salads *grinning*.  There are always nutritional choices in the cafeteria, you just have to find them.  For example, fruit.  Great nutrients, escentual carbs for walking between classes and a little sugar for energy.  The hardest thing to worry about at school is gaining weight... but you won't unless you drive to each class...  you know there's a term for the weight you lose your first two years of college - "Underclassmen 30".  As long as your walking, don't worry so much.  Hope this helps _ Kristi


(stilledlife) #5

I got fat... Dorm food at my school was so bad that I joined the student council and attended every student government meeting and pressed vegetarian, vegan options, and... a salad bar in every cafeteria. I got my demands met. Pretty neat how you can make a HUGE difference at college, diplomacy works. After the return of the salad bar introduction I lost 20 lbs =)

So I learned to stay away from the pizza and the fried food and everything was fine. Grilled meat is much easier on the body then fried. If it gets bad enough food wise, she might move off campus in two or three years and cook her own food if she thinks that it is important.

Ah, the green movement is pretty cool right now. There are so many environmentalists at state schools right now =) At my school they make free lunches sometimes at our downtown and serve up some of the best vegetarian/ vegan meals you have ever had! Have her keep her eyes open for that. Hopefully are you only saw a small section of the eateries at the school, she'll locate something better if she wants to avoid the freshmen 15 (it isn't a myth.)

One last thing,  suggest to her ask her doctor about drinking with diabetes. I know it isn't legal for her to drink underage, but be prepared, drinking safely with diabetes is something she has to know. There is mostly a don't talk about it attitude at schools, I tried to set up "how to drink safely talk" at my dorm and got shot down because we couldn't talk about something that we were going to be doing legally in 2 years and that almost every person in the dorm was doing illegally and not very safely now. O.o It was pretty simple don't binge, eat when you drink, have a safety number to call for a ride, how to lay down your friends if they drink a little too much, when to call 911 for over consumption. All those things that college adult should know. I was told no. Oh well. sorry for going off track there, but it is an important subject. =)

Good luck, tell her to have a good time at college or you'll get mad at her=)


(msf02) #6

Thanks for the good ideas.  Sounds like being mindful of what goes in your mouth is the key.  Also sounds like I will be be freeze packing alot of meals on the weekends.  That's okay.  I like to cook for her. 


(sarahslp) #7

It's been a while since I was in college, so I'm probably too old to reply to this message! But, at Georgetown, I remember the other girls were so worried about their weight that I fit right in eating from the salad bar in the cafeteria. For me, what was more of a problem was avoiding unhealthy snacking during long hours of studying. (Ok, I admit it, I was mostly watching t.v., but there was a book in front of me!).

Also, it depends on where you go to school, but I went from driving a car all over the suburbs in FL in high school, to living on an urban campus where I had to walk everywhere. I think that helped keep me a bit healthier.

At Georgetown, you could get special "diabetic" meals from the cafeteria, but they didn't advertise it -- you had to ask. But, I avoided those b/c I thought they could be gross, like the c**p that hospitals claim is their diabetic food.

What school is your daughter going to attend?


(type1at18) #8

Honestly... eating nutritiously was somewhat difficult but I learned that ANYTHING can be cooked in a microwave! They even have those frozen veggie steamers that cook in the microwave...and as a previous post mentioned.... there should be a community kitchen that can be used for cooking. I always go food shopping and have food in my room. Although, I don't focus on nutrition all that much... I just focus on keeping a good A1C... and I'm lucky cuz during the school year I would eat fries probably 3 or 4 times a week. (sounds pretty disgusting now that i think back... and i am going to try to be better about that come fall)

 

oh and I think i was one of the few college students that when receiving food in a care package from mom... it also contained a nutrition label :)


(msf02) #9

Thanks for the ideas.  It sounds like she should get ready for salad bars and granola.  I may have spoiled her a bit. She doesn't care for fast food. Maybe that will motivate her to come home on the weekends? 

Sarah- We live in Jacksonville, Florida and before her diagnosis in December 08 she planned on going to either Univ Central FL or Univ S. FL.  She has been a bit funny about commiting to anything right now and I think she is afraid to leave home.  That is one of the reasons for my original question.  I want to feel better about her living in a dorm. I want to be able to encourage her that it will be okay.  What Floridian suberb did you grow up in?

Michelle


(ajax) #10

One lifesaver, though it isn't usually nutritious, is student group meetings. If she can't handle the cafeteria (I go to a small school with a SMALL selection of foods), find a student group that has weekly meetings with dinner provided.

 

Getting creative with food in the cafeteria is super important. We had a wok with vegetables you could fry, but I preferred to put the premade pasta in, add a little spinach from the salad bar, some garlic, and some hummus. A waffle iron also makes great grilled cheese. I don't eat meat, but my friends said it was edible if you put it in stir frys, sandwiches, etc. Some schools (unfortunately, not mine) have an omlette bar, which is a fantastic breakfast. Delicious, lots of protein, low carb.

 

Keeping in mind the dining common's hours is also important. Ours closed at 7 pm, so I went without dinner a lot of nights. Having good food in your room is a lifesaver for those nights, and also for the nights you're up late studying.

And I second the drinking suggestion. Learning what alcohol does to your blood sugar empowers you to make good decisions instead of putting yourself in danger.

 

College is great. Don't be offended when she doesn't want to come home for the weekend - it means she's having a good time. One other thing - I wish my mom had made it clear to me that it was okay for my first semester to be a total disaster, for me to feel like i didn't have any friends and to spend 10-12 hours a day sleeping. If I had felt like I could have called my mom and told her I was having a hard time, it wouldn't have been such a hard time. Instead, I'd only call my mom when I was feeling happy, which wasn't often.

 

That enough for you? ;)


(msf02) #11

Ajax,

That's good stuff. It does make me want to offer dinner to all the out of town students I know must be at our local university. 

Your advice on letting term one be a disaster is very insightful.  I guess I will need to learn how to just listen and fight the reflex to "come to the rescue".  Her first day of kindergarten was nothing compared to what this will be.  Maybe I will assign her brother to the lessons on partying.  He is more experienced.  And he survived. 

Thanks again,

Michelle


(system) #12

i went to 2 different colleges and had 2 completely different experiences.

my first 4 years were at a very small private college. initially they said "sure we can meet your needs. it's simple!" then after 2 months on campus they said "sorry. go make your own food." i got permission from the school to keep a full size fridge and microwave in the dorm room (i was lucky and had a gigantic room). they were not helpful at all and basically just said "sorry. that sucks. fend for yourself." i also realize that was only my experience at one small school. i have spoken with others who have had great experiences living on campus at small schools.

my last 3 years were at a large state university. they catered to my every need, no questions asked. i have a few food allergies and they had no problems making foods that were safe for me to eat. they also let me choose foods that were on the normal menu, and they just modified them for me so i could eat what everyone else was eating. there were also lots and lots more dining choices at the state school simply because it was a bigger campus (30,000 compared to 1,500).

like someone else mentioned, there really are healthy choices no matter where you go. it's a matter of seeking them out. honestly, there are no "unhealthy" foods. you can have whatever you want as long as you carb count and practice moderation. as long as you are aware of what you are eating (not unconsciously eating just for the hell of it), you will be okay. that pretty goes for anyone... not just dorm-dwellers. in case there is a day when there's absolutely nothing you like at the eateries, keep snacks handy as well as a couple TV dinners or "quick fixes" for food. even fast food places have better options like grilled meats, fresh fruits and veggies, and low fat dairy. like i said before, you can make anything work as long as you are aware of what you are consuming and practicing moderation according to your own hunger and diabetes care.


(DDrumminMan) #13

I went to North Texas State University (GO Mean Green).  I lived the dorm the whole time except one semester.  So I ate a lot of dorm food.  I wouldn't say the the food was totally nutrisious, but I wouldn't say was not nutricious at all either.  A person could eat crap all the time if they wanted to.  Or if they chose wisely they could do well.  That's pretty much what I did and I survived.  She'll be fine.  Stop worrying!


(sarahslp) #14

[quote user="msf02"]

Thanks for the ideas.  It sounds like she should get ready for salad bars and granola.  I may have spoiled her a bit. She doesn't care for fast food. Maybe that will motivate her to come home on the weekends? 

Sarah- We live in Jacksonville, Florida and before her diagnosis in December 08 she planned on going to either Univ Central FL or Univ S. FL.  She has been a bit funny about commiting to anything right now and I think she is afraid to leave home.  That is one of the reasons for my original question.  I want to feel better about her living in a dorm. I want to be able to encourage her that it will be okay.  What Floridian suberb did you grow up in?

Michelle

[/quote]

Hi Michelle! I grew up in Gainesville. My Mom still lives there, but my parents separated a few years ago, and my Dad lives close to you, on Amelia Island. That's a tough decision to leave home w/ D.  Maybe some of it is just general nervousness about leaving home? I know I felt nervous before I left... Have her send me an email if she wants. (: 

Before I went away for school, my Mom traveled up to DC w/ me and went to my first endo appt up here. So, I knew where the office was, had met him w her, etc. We also found a pharmacy and she helped me transfer my prescriptions. At both schools I've attended (undergrad and grad), the doctors at the student clinic were well-meaning but clueless about T1. So, having a local endo (in addition to staying in touch w/ the one in Gainesville) was helpful for me.

Keep us posted!