5 Tips to Make Campus Dining Easier

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By Kelsey Mitchell, Swimming World College Intern.

As swimmers, fueling our bodies is one of the easiest and most crucial steps to recovery and successful performance. College athletes, however, can encounter difficulties in finding proper ways to refuel, whether due to inadequate dining facilities or busy class schedules. Here are five tips to help you stay on top of campus dining.

1. Get Creative


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One problem that plagues many collegiate athletes is the lack of diversity in cafeteria food. Many cafeterias seem to offer the the same foods week after week, rarely straying from a few common dishes. One way to spice up these plain options is to get creative. For example, take rice and meat from the taco line and put it in your salad to make a burrito bowl; add soup or chili to noodles or rice to make your grains a bit more spicy; or put a scoop of ice cream in between two cookies to enhance your favorite desserts. With a little experimenting and creativity, refueling after practice can be much more flavorful and enjoyable.

2. Ask Questions


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Many food providers will have a student or company representative available to talk with students about dietary needs, restrictions and concerns. These people can help you make any needed accommodations and provide suggestions for meeting your dietary needs. For swimmers, these people are able to provide information on proper nutrition for peak performance and recovery. They can also suggest new campus dining options that you may not have known about before.

3. Leave Suggestions


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Most campuses have an anonymous suggestion box offered for student use. Through suggestion boxes, one can easily request changes and recommendations to improve their dining experience. This could range from changing hours to better accommodate athletes’ busy schedules to suggesting new food options and better labeling of nutritional content and allergens. Voicing your opinion through a suggestion box is useful if you do not have time to meet face to face with your food provider’s representative and allows for even the busiest of students to communicate their concerns.

4. Take Food Out


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Between managing the odd hours of swim practice and busy days full of studying and practices, collegiate swimmers can sometimes find it hard to fit a meal into their schedules. One solution to this problem is taking food out of the dining facility. Though not allowed by some food providers, many allow students to use their meal plans to take a meal out of the cafeteria using provided Tupperware or doggie bags and boxes. If your dining provider does not offer take out boxes, try using plastic baggies, Tupperware containers or a coffee cup with a lid. By taking food out, fitting a meal into your schedule can be much easier. This is also a great option for travel meet meals.

5. Use Other Dining Locations or Services


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One great thing about on-campus dining is that there are typically multiple locations. Larger schools often have more than one cafeteria, and even smaller schools likely have other dining options. Many of these smaller locations cater to a specific types of food, providing for more niche options than cafeterias. For example, a location within an athletic center may offer protein bars and shakes, smoothies and wraps. Another location on campus may offer coffee, tea and pastries. These smaller locations are extremely useful if you are on the go between practice and class or are unsatisfied with the options in the cafeteria. They are also a great way to make sure your body gets the recovery fuel it needs if you don’t have time to make it to a cafeteria after practice.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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