Patrick Trautfield

Going away to college means the end of home-cooked meals and well-stocked kitchens. It may be easy to fall into the Top Ramen routine, but with some searching, Cal Poly can offer many healthy options.

Without parents directly buying food, students have the option of eating healthy or not so healthy, said Nancy Williams, the director of Campus Dining.

“(Students) can make the choices that feed into their own needs,” Williams said.

A Cal Poly study done in May 2005 found that 30 percent of students eat at on-campus eateries for at least one meal Monday through Friday. Foods most popular to students’ palates were grilled foods, salads and soups.

Amid the french fries, oversized waffles and cinnamon rolls, a healthy bite to eat isn’t hard to find.

The Avenue offers Chinese food with healthier dishes that include brown rice with steamed vegetables or beef broccoli. Of course, the orange chicken is good, but only for an occasional splurge.

The Avenue also offers pre-made salads and wraps for less than $5. For a side entr‚e, pick up a bag of veggies: a small one costs 65 cents and a large one costs $1.10. Fresh fruit costs less than a candy bar at 65 cents.

Another frequently visited eating spot is the Campus Market. Although the bread sticks are a Cal Poly favorite, better choices include sandwiches on wheat bread, wraps and pita slices with hummus. Once again, all of these choices are around $5.

Look beyond the pepperoni at Backstage Pizza and you’ll find a wonderful salad bar. Easily get your dose of daily veggies here but watch how much dressing is put on top that’s where calories hide. From tuna salad to artichoke hearts, pile on the options, but not too much because the price of the salad is based on its weight.

Garden Grille, located next to The Avenue, is another place to get a big, yummy salad. This eatery, which just opened last year, offers lettuce from Cal Poly’s own sustainable garden, Williams said. Salads at the Garden Grill cost about $6.50.

Closer to the dorms, Vista Grande Restaurant serves a lunch soup and salad combo for $6.

So put down the Top Ramen and go out for a fresh meal with the new roommates. No matter where students eat at any of the campus locations, healthy can be tasty and affordable.

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