Fast Tips for Fast Food: A Guide to your Campus Restaurant Scene


Aside from campus dining halls, most colleges and universities offer an array of restaurants to satisfy the appetites of their hungry students. The campus restaurant 
scene, often composed of popular chains such as Chipotle, Starbucks, and Dominos, caters to the busy lifestyles of college students. Not only do these dining options allow students to grab food on the go, they also provide opportunities for friends to eat together and share some laughs during their hectic days. These dining experiences can certainly enhance your time on campus, but you do need to choose carefully. Check out the easy tips below to make healthier choices at your favorite restaurant chains.

  1. Chipotle- Deciding what to add to your burrito, bowl, tacos, or salad at Chipotle can be daunting, especially with all of the options! For your choice of protein, go for the lean chicken, sofritas, or simply stick to the black or pinto beans. When it comes to fillings, fajita veggies and brown rice are always great choices. Finally, for toppings, choose either sour cream or cheese instead of adding both, ask the server to “go light” on those items, and be sure to throw on some fresh lettuce for an extra crunch!
  2. Panera- The “You Pick Two” option at Panera offers an easy way to eat a lighter meal that still provides variety. By choosing two of the following: half sandwich, cup of soup, half salad, half pasta, or one flatbread, you can enjoy smaller portions of two of your favorite menu items. When it comes to sides, an apple can be just as filling as the baguette or bag of chips.
  3. Dominos- Pizza is one of the most frequently enjoyed meals on college campuses, and almost every student is familiar with Dominos’ tasty pizzas, Cinnastix, and cheesy bread. Instead of ordering these choices every time, try limiting the dessert or side options to once every few weeks. In addition, you can have a yummy and filling meal by opting for thin crust pizza with veggies rather than regular pizza with meats or extra cheese.
  4. Subway- This popular sandwich shop makes it easy to put together a meal with a sandwich, side, and drink. Try choosing their 9-grain wheat or honey oat bread for your sandwich. You can add lettuce, tomato, onions and cucumbers as toppings to get in some extra veggies. Apples and water, instead of chips and soda, make the perfect additions to your meal.
  5. Starbucks- A favorite among well-caffeinated students, Starbucks is a frequently visited establishment on college campuses. Frequent coffee runs, however, can add up in more ways than one. Instead of choosing flavored lattes, frappuccinos, or specialty drinks for your afternoon pick-me-up, try green tea or a plain cup of coffee flavored with cinnamon.

Remember, grabbing food on the go and enjoying meals with friends are some of the most memorable college experiences. By following these tips, you can enjoy your favorite food chains without limiting your options!


Lizzie McManus is a first year graduate student at Drexel University pursuing her M.S. in Human Nutrition. She plans to become a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based and whole foods nutrition. 

Photo Credit: Belen Rediet

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