Each Dining Common on the UMass Amherst campus has its own grill section that is always open for lunch and dinner. While most food stations change up their options day to day, the grill sections stay consistent. It’s the best place to get your french-fry-fix or your mini-cheeseburger slider, but if you’re on a diet, you need to know how to make the right decisions at the grills.
- The Meats:
- Hot Dogs:
- Every time my family visits, one of my brothers always runs straight to the grill section to grab his favorite offering at the Dining Common: the hot dog. He’s told me several times that he wants to attend UMass someday just for the hot dogs. I’ve never tried one, but he says they’re the greatest. But there’s a reason he thinks they’re so good: the DC hot dogs are loaded with sodium, fat, and unknown animal products to somehow make them taste ‘good’. So if you’re on a diet, steer clear of these hot dogs!
- The Sliders:
- The grills offer several mini-burger sliders every day. I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that you need to keep away from burgers (of all sizes) if you’re dieting, but why is that? Unless you buy lean ground beef, (which I’m positive the DCs don’t do) then the ground beef that is packed to make those burgers is loaded with fat and calories that can completely ruin any attempt you’ve made at being healthy that day. While the sliders are smaller, it’s just a good idea to avoid them if possible.
- The Turkey Patties:
- These turkey patties are strange. While the Nutrition Cards that the DCs display show that they are relatively low in fat and calories, you have to keep in mind that these patties are made of ground turkey which is processed and far from organic. These patties won’t necessarily undo your day, but they’re not necessarily beneficial for you either. And honestly, they have a strange rubber-like texture.. weird.
- The Chicken:
- The best part of the Grills at the Dining Commons? The grilled chicken! High in protein, low in fat, and really tasty! The chicken can top your salad, fill your slider, or be a nice add-on to any meal to get some protein in you. It’s the healthiest and it is the least processed out of all the meat options at the grills, so it is the best choice they offer. I’m a huge fan of the grilled chicken.. so good!
- However…. Make sure you reach for the grilled option. Sometimes the grills offer chicken patties which are not only processed and high in fat and calories, but they’re also deep fried. Frying any food adds ridiculous amounts of calories and fat, so make sure you pick the right chicken.
- The Fries:
- Obviously if you’re dieting or just trying to eat healthier, reaching for french fries of any form is not the best idea. They’re deep fried in oil, so their fat and calorie content is through the roof. But if you must indulge (and it’s okay to every once in a while) then here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Regular french fries are the worst choice. They have the most calories and highest fat content. Additionally, the ones at the DCs are always very greasy.. So just steer clear.
- Steak fries are the ones that are a bit thicker and have more potato in them. I’ve heard people say that they’re lower in fat and calories than regular fries (I’m not sure how much I believe that), but either way, both steak fries and regular fries will fill you with hundreds of calories and several grams of fat.
- If you’re looking to indulge and you’re craving fries, reach for the sweet potato ones! I don’t want to say that they’re “healthier”, but they certainly are lower in fat and calorie content compared to the above two choices. So when it comes to indulging, they’re the best choice given the options. Fried food is fried food no matter how you slice it, so just remember that any fried choice will not comply with your diet.
Out of all of the options at the DC grills, the grilled chicken is definitely the healthiest choice to reach for. The grill is by no means a ‘healthy’ station compared to some of the other stations, but if you know what foods to stay away from, you can avoid undoing your diet for the day. Enjoy!