5 Tips for Maintaining a Keto Diet at College
- Utilize Your Student Health Plan
- Make Friends with the Chefs
- Have Accountability Buddies
- Get the Nutrition Facts Straight
- Hit the Bars…the Salad Bars
You have spent the entire summer committing yourself to the Keto way of life, and you are loving the results. While you are excited for the fall semester at college, you grow a little bit weary at the thought of trying to maintain Keto eating amidst the stress of finals and the rows and rows of deliciously NON-Keto options at the dining hall. Take comfort and find motivation in these five tips for staying Keto at college.
Related resource: 50 Best Culinary Schools in the U.S.
1. Utilize Your Student Health Plan
One of the biggest perks of being a college student is the on-campus health center, complete with a wide variety of physicians. Make an appointment with the campus dietician or nutritionist during the first week of the semester to come up with a meal plan. Good habits are easier to keep when following a solid plan. Winging it in the dining hall is like walking through a minefield. Having a medical professional behind the plan will help reinforce your commitment to your chosen way of eating.
2. Make Friends with the Chefs
Right off the bat, get to know the people preparing your food. Strike up conversations and make friends with the chefs in the dining halls. Once you have a good rapport going, many of them will be happy to whip you up some off-menu, Keto-friendly delicacies to break up the monotony of what is readily available. As a bonus, they will really enjoy having a friendly face and a daily dose of gratitude among the sea of students they serve!
3. Have Accountability Buddies
Go public with your Keto lifestyle. Share it with all the people you interact with on a regular basis, and ask them to help keep you accountable. This works even better if you can always eat with at least one person who is also working at following an eating plan, especially if they are also staying Keto. Come up with consequence and reward systems for each other. Forbes offers an excellent guide to both finding yourself an encouraging accountability buddy and being one in return.
4. Get the Nutrition Facts Straight
Sometimes you can be making all the right choices and still not be fully Keto…without even knowing it. Most college dining halls and food courts cut costs by buying in bulk. This means the food you are consuming might be loaded with fillers and other Keto killers. Make an appointment with dining services professionals to get a list of the nutritional information in each of the foods served. Doing this work up front will save a lot of time, energy, and health in the long run.
5. Hit the Bars…the Salad Bars
When in doubt, hit the salad bar for meals. You can trust that the majority of the vegetables are pure, and salad bars offer plenty of Keto-friendly protein options. One of the toughest challenges to staying Keto in college is the other kind of bars. Drinking and partying are part of the college experience for many. Being in that environment lowers inhibitions, and you cannot always count on Keto-friendly adult beverages being on the menu. This is where accountability buddies become even more valuable, and BYOB situations become your ticket to a guilt-free good time.
It is not at impossible to stay Keto in college. All you need is a little bit of proactive planning, the power of social support, and a committed mindset. These five tips for staying Keto at college will keep you on the right track without costing you your college experience.