What if I told you it really is possible (and simple) to stick to your resolution even at the IH dining hall?
“Nothing in excess” was boldly inscribed years ago on the temples of Delphi. This Greek philosophy can be applied to your diet too. You neither need to gorge down the entire (seldom) good-looking salad bar, nor cut yourself loose on the dessert counter. It’s all about the balance.
A balanced IH tray would ideally contain a rich source of carbohydrate, a rich source of protein, some vegetables and a dessert/fruit.
To break it down, carbohydrate is the primary source of glucose that provides energy, especially to your brain. (Whoever told you to cut down the carbs?!). Examples of good sources of carbohydrates available at the hall are noodles, rice, bread, mashed potatoes or corn. This should be accompanied by a good source of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, soya or any pulses. Ensure you consume deep-fried or oily dishes less often, and opt for baked or roasted items instead. For those days when you just cannot tolerate the site of naked meat/ fish being served- including boiled eggs in your salad could be a good idea.
Speaking of salads, they could be a good source of vegetables and provide the needed fiber in your diet. A vinaigrette dressing could be a better option than creamy mayonnaise. You could also experiment and make your very own lemon- honey- mustard dressing!
Sugary juices and fizzy drinks could be cut down to 2-3 times a week instead of a daily basis. They tend to provide unnecessary calories and barely contain any nutrients.
One way you could fulfill your dairy requirement for the day is by opting for a pot of flavored yogurt for dessert. Grabbing a fruit, instead of a pastry could also be a better alternative. Flaky pastries tend to have a higher amount of fat in addition to the chocolate/ sugary jam inside the pastry. Even if you do choose the pastry- reconsider drizzling the custard instead of drowning your dessert in it!
Finally, allow yourself cheat days wherein you could wish to enjoy all the croissants and fish and chips IH has to offer. By doing so, there is a higher chance of you sticking to eating healthy on the other days. Here’s to a healthier 2018, without IH food being a roadblock in shedding those extra Kilos!
Ishitaa Bhatia is a resident of International Hall. She is currently pursuing her MSc. In Clinical and Public Health Nutrition at UCL. These are her personal suggestions.Image Credit: CC by Eating Healthy/Flickr