Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Skip the half-and-halfs: Tips for healthy eating on campus

Although Washington University might seem to be overwhelmed by the half-and-half craze that dominates the late-night snack scene, there is actually a bevy of healthy dining options on campus. Follow this guide to make smarter choices that will leave you feeling healthier and happier!


Follow the plates

Whether you’re a weekly Bear’s Den brunch connoisseur or just a casual, once-in-a-while attendant, you’ve probably noticed the multicolored, fractioned plates that have recently come into purview. These plates are separated into the appropriate portion sizes of how much of each food group diners should put on their plates. So if you’re looking to curb your caloric intake, resist the urge to fill the whole thing with bacon (something that the plates make it physically difficult to do) and check out some of brunch’s healthier stations, like the fruit-and-yogurt bar.

Omelet station

Done right, an omelet can be a perfect, healthy start to your day, packed with protein and ready to give you the energy you need to kill the homework you probably procrastinated on over the weekend. If you’re worried about your cholesterol intake, egg whites contain less cholesterol in addition to being less caloric. For the healthiest option, choose to have your omelet made solely with egg whites and add some healthy vegetables to the mix.



In my opinion, lunch is the best time to indulge in the tasty Bear’s Den stir-fry due to the generally shorter wait, which at dinnertime can last up to a whopping 30 minutes. If you want the taste of stir-fry but have already eaten your fill of carbohydrates for the day, a healthier option that is always available is to skip the starchy noodles or rice and go for veggies and protein or even just veggies. Since eating midday carbohydrates can make people tired, this choice could mean the difference between accidentally sleeping through your next class or being alert for the rest of the day.

Check the Nutrition Facts

Don’t just bite blindly: most of the dining options on campus, including Ibby’s, provide nutrition facts for their items online or through the WUSTL Dining Services app. These facts are especially important to check out when one eats at Einstein Bros Bagels or Subway. As chain restaurants, these food providers aren’t regulated by the infamous Connie Diekman of Connie’s Choice and therefore are able to market and sell unregulated options.


Investigate the grill case options

While it’s easy to get caught up in a routine of always eating a certain food, it’s important to vary one’s choices occasionally. Although grill case items require lengthier prep time, they often heavily feature vegetables and healthy fish like salmon. If you choose the right item, you can have a dinner that is delicious, nutritious and interesting all at the same time.

New Connie’s Choice meals

In order to take the guessing out of your meals, pick up one of the new, pre-selected Connie’s Choice meals the next time you don’t know what to get. These meals are specially approved by Wash. U.’s resident nutritionist so you can proceed under the assumption that at least one person thinks it’s healthy. Plus, side dishes can be difficult to come by in Bear’s Den and often are accompanied by higher costs and the hassle of standing in multiple lines. Look for the new multicolored signs present at the different stations to get a quick, healthy meal.


Late-night snack in Bear’s Den

Unbeknownst to many, earlier this fall there was a revolution in the world of late-night snacking at Wash. U. when the healthy meal was introduced. Available after 11 p.m., one can now purchase a healthy, balanced meal all the way until closing time at Bear’s Den. Usually the meals are similar to what was offered for dinner and are comprised of a meat, grain and vegetable offering. In addition, a new yogurt/hot cereal/fruit bar remains open in order to provide students with a less substantial, but still filling, healthy snack. Prior to this change, the only food available when cravings kicked in was the typical half-and-half standard. In my opinion, this new offering is what makes our dining system at Wash. U. truly unique.

Set Up a Meeting With Connie

If anyone ever feels overwhelmed by all of the dining selections at Wash. U., the option to meet with our resident nutritionist is always available. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle or just stop eating tater tots, Diekman will help you figure out a diet plan that’s perfect for you. This resource is free for all students and is a great opportunity to learn about your body and nutritional needs. Email her to set up an appointment.


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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878