It’s the first week of classes and the first week of a whole new life for the freshman here at the University of Oregon. You may be asking yourselves some essential questions: Where are my classes? How can I scrounge up $20 bucks to buy some Burnetts for this weekend? Which is the better (when drunk at 12:30 am on a Saturday) the “cheesy-griller” or spinach dip with a fresh warm sourdough roll? Should I eat at LLC or GSH? Never fear. I am here for one purpose and one purpose only: to answer the question of how and where freshman can eat healthily for less than 5 meal points.

1. Breakfast (the best meal of the day)


Photo by Briana Jones

If you are looking for Ron Swanson’s personal favorite breakfast, you can find it at Grab N’ Go, located in the Hamilton dining complex. Bacon and eggs provide the body with protein and fat that are essential to start the day effectively. The natural fats from the eggs and some from the bacon provide the brain with the fuel it needs to function at a high rate. Add toppings like mushrooms, spinach, peppers and tomatoes to spice up your scramble and make it your own. Now to take it the extra mile grab yourself a bowl of fresh fruit on your way out. Eggs and fruit are a perfect way to start your day. Another healthy, yet delicious option is LLC’s breakfast starting at 7 am. Also if you’re on the go, look for LLC and GSH’s smoothie bars because they offer bomb ass smoothies made from fresh fruit.

Total Points Spent: 5

2. Need a mid day pick-me-up?

freshman 15

Photo by Judy Holtz

Dux bistro has exactly what you need: the custom salad bar had me coming back twice a day my freshman year. The key is to create your own salad and at all costs avoid the “Southwest Chicken Salad” (which racks up to be around 1000 calories alone). Now I have not shared this custom salad secret with a lot of people, but for you I will make an exception. Ask for a half-sized custom. Trust me you still get four toppings, so you will not be starved. Start with spinach and add eggs, artichoke and double almonds (if you like the crunch). For the dressing, go balsamic, always and forever. I know the caesar dressing is good but I guarantee less than 1% of that has any nutritional value for you. My favorite protein for this salad is the italian chicken, but whatever floats your boat. Not feeling like a salad one day? No problem. Another healthy option is the boxed sushi found along the left hand side by the drinks at LLC.

Total Points Spent: 5

3. Finally, it’s dinner time

freshman 15

Photo by James Tedesco

If you want something substantial, something that will keep you full the rest of the night, the answer is the Global Scholar Hall’s rice bowls. You can mix and match any sort of combo of rice and protein, and if you are going for the more healthy option, I highly recommend the brown or multi grain rice over the white. In terms of protein, always order double, unlike Chipotle you can actually sneak by getting double protein in the dorms. Now we are onto toppings. I am a Californian so you know my allegiances will always lie with Pico de Gallo and the avocado, but that is just me. Mix and match any toppings they offer, they’re all pretty healthy. For the sauces, I’ll save you the time by saying avoid all of them. There is Sriracha out on the floor, so douse your bowls out there rather than eating the sugar packed sauces they have behind the counter.

Little helpful tip: If you get double protein or double toppings (for me double protein and avocado) they will put stickers on the side. Grab yourself a water and take those stickers off. The checkers RARELY catch it. It will be our little secret.

Total Points Spent: 5

So that is it, my top three healthy choices within the dorms without breaking the bank. Healthy affordable food is possible within the dorms, but it all comes down to choices. If you have any questions in terms of ingredients, caloric content and all your dorm nutrition needs, check out The Dash. Stay healthy my friends.