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Cafeteria At Fault for College Weight Gain

By Diana Keuilian

Tips on how you can avoid weight gain caused by your cafeteria

College weight gain is at an all time high, and as students continue to pack on the pounds at an increasing rate, we naturally want to know where the blame lies for this growing epidemic. Since food consumption contributes significantly to weight gain, is it safe to assume that cafeterias are responsible for the expanding waistlines of our students? Read on for three reasons why the cafeteria food you eat is making you fat, and tips to help you stop the weight gain.

1.All You Can Eat

When was the last time you were given a tray and let loose in an all-you-can-eat buffet? Although most people only experience this phenomenon while either onboard a cruise ship or visiting Las Vegas, college students often have the buffet going experience three times a day, seven days a week. That comes out to twenty-one opportunities to overeat each week. Students are handed the serving spoon, and the sky is the limit!

Let's do some simple math together to help explain the damage done by the all-you-can-eat cafeteria. One must consume roughly 3,500 extra calories in order to gain a pound. This may seem like a large number, but when broken down between twenty-one meals, one pound can be gained each week by simply eating 170 extra calories at each meal. These 170 calories can take on the form of an extra helping of cheesy spaghetti, a salad drenched in creamy dressing, or a small, innocent-looking dessert. College cafeterias are lurking with excess calories that are on a mission to end up on your unsuspecting tray.

Cafeteria Weight Loss Tip #1: Ditch your tray. Instead of loading up an entire tray with multiple plates of food, desserts and beverages stick with just a simple plate. This will prevent you from overeating, since more food than can fit on one plate is probably more food than you need.

2.Main Dish Mayhem

College cafeterias are notorious for serving main dishes that are less than nutritious. Cheese covered pizzas, pastas and casseroles often dominate the lunch menus while fried meats, potatoes, and fat laden roasts turn up at dinner. Any direction that you turn to, in a cafeteria, will find you staring straight into the pot of something fattening.

Let's consider the extra fat and calories that are found in the main dishes that are typically served in the cafeteria. An average serving of lasagna has 550 calories and 22 grams of fat. Two slices of pizza have 540 calories and 28 grams of fat. A serving of fried chicken has 480 calories and 26 grams of fat. When you consistently eat main dishes like these that are high in fat and extra calories the only possible result is weight gain.

Cafeteria Weight Loss Tip #2: Eat only a small serving of the main dish. This will prevent you from eating an extreme amount of excess calories, since the main dishes are usually very rich in calories and fat. Fill the rest of your plate with fresh vegetables and whole grains.

3.Desserts Galore

What is a visit to the cafeteria without topping it off with a mouthwatering dessert? Cookies, brownies, cakes, pies and ice cream are often just what you need to get your mind off of that exam that you need to study for. Women are especially prone to indulging at the dessert bar, due to their chocolate-loving, sweet teeth!

What most students do not realize is how quickly these extra calories add up, resulting in weight gain. A typical large cookie contains over 200 calories and 15 grams of fat. A typical brownie can pack over 400 calories and 25 grams of fat. These are often the calories that end up pushing you over your daily caloric needs, resulting in fat storage around your waist, hips and thighs.

Cafeteria Weight Loss Tip #3: Limit the number of desserts you eat each week. Rather than grabbing a cookie or brownie everyday, designate a day or two each week as your dessert day. This will prevent daily extra calories, and will make the desserts you do eat more enjoyable.

The next time that you are in line at the cafeteria pay attention to what ends up on your plate. Remember that most college weight gain is a result of a mismanaged diet. If you would like more information on avoiding college weight gain, visit to download free information.

About The Author

Diana Keuilian, Certified Personal Trainer, and author of "Avoid The Freshman Fifteen", has a proven method for avoiding college weight gain. Visit to learn more. She is also the head Fitness Trainer for the nation's leading online fitness site and board member of


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