We have heard it from our parents since we were little kids: "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Believe it or not, they were right. Studies show that eating three or more meals a day will help ease the painfulness of hunger and speed up your metabolism. However most college students tend to overlook breakfast or opt for a quick donut, which isn't always the best decision. Here are some of the healthiest breakfast items I have found in Watty and Tri dinning halls at Illinois State University that can help any student live a healthier lifestyle. 


Let's be real here: as college students waking up for an 8 am is no easy task. Personally, I'm always craving coffee in the morning, even before I wake up. The next time you head to the dinning center to get coffee, skip the cream and sugar. Not only does black coffee have little to no calories–around 2 to be exact–giving up those artificial sweeteners may be beneficial. Artificial sweeteners have been found to cause even more food cravings and even type 2 diabetes, and those heavy coffee creamers have about 40 calories per serving, turning a drink into unnecessary calorie intake. If you are not feeling coffee, a glass of skim milk is always the way to go. Not only does it taste similar to regular milk, but it has 50% less fat content than 2% milk, which makes it a healthier option.

Cold Food:

If you are a cereal lover like me, you know the temptation for sugary cereals is real, but its actually a lot better for you to gear more towards Special K cereal or Raisin Bran. These cereals contain more calories then sugary cereals but they will leave you feeling more full and are better for your digestive system. If cereal isn't your thing, you can go over to the yogurt bar and make a parfait. I would suggest adding fruit and raisins, but if you are craving a little more substance a spoonful of granola will add the perfect crunch to your meal. You can also opt for a fruit salad which is a little bit of a lighter meal but you can personalize it and make it your own with your favorite fruits.

Hot Food:

The smell of pancakes is probably one of the best smells you can wake up to in the morning, but unfortunately they are something you may want to avoid in the dining hall. Instead, you get a hard boiled egg and just stick to eating the egg whites. Egg yolks are full of fat and the whites are a much lighter option.

Along with your eggs you can get a gluten free muffin, which is one of the most tasty options the dinning centers offer (IMO). Depending on your mood, both Watty and Tri serve double chocolate and chocolate chip. Not only do they taste like normal muffins, they also avoid the starchiness of wheat and grains that adds extra unnecessary carbs in the morningIf you want something really filling a bowl of oatmeal might be your best option. Oats are one of the healthiest foods to indulge in because they are chock full of nutrients. Try adding a tiny spoonful of brown sugar and adding fruit or raisins on top to make it taste a little bit more flavorful.

Items to completely skip:

Although it's perfectly normal to indulge in unhealthy breakfast foods from time to time, if you are looking to keep your diet healthy, it's best to skip out on some food items. Try avoiding pastries or donuts because they are high in sugar and fat. Also try avoiding pancakes or waffles, which are high in carbs and can be covered in sugary syrup, which adds even more sugar and calories. This one may be tough, but allow yourself to skip out on those beloved breakfast potatoes because they are covered in salt and oil and are more unhealthy then nutritious.

cake, beer

The next time you head to ISU's dining halls for breakfast, consider hightailing past those donuts and opt for a healthy choice that will leave you feeling energized and ready to study.