By Lauren Duffy
If you’re looking to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to remember that common phrase: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Eating breakfast has proven to be a reason for better weight-loss results, more energized people, and less hungry people, so it is important to incorporate breakfast into your daily routine. But we must keep in mind that while choosing to eat breakfast is beneficial for your personal health, choosing to eat an unhealthy breakfast is not. Unhealthy food is bad for your body no matter what time of the day you eat it, so you need to make the right choices; however, these choices can be tricky if you’re eating breakfast at a Dining Common.
Every morning Franklin and Hampshire open at 7am to start serving breakfast to the early-risers of the UMass campus. These DC breakfasts have a Main Line, an Omelette station, a fruit section, hot and cold cereals, a make-your-own waffle station, and a toast section. They do have healthy options available, you just need to find them hiding among the insane amounts of unhealthy options.
- The Main Line seems to draw the most attention at breakfast time, so I’ll break down those options first…
- The Eggs:
- Each morning scrambled eggs are offered in the main line of the breakfast options. I don’t know what the DCs do to these eggs to make them so fattening, but try to avoid them. According to the Nutrition Cards, these eggs are loaded with fat and calories, so they are not a good way to start off your morning. The healthy alternative? They have hard boiled eggs on the main line! You crack and peel your own so you know that nothing extra is added to them. Just try to avoid having too many yolks and you’re good to go!
- The Meats:
- The main lines offer bacon, ham, sausage, kielbasa, and corned beef hash (one or two of these options are available daily). These five meats are offered on a rotating basis at the DCs. The only advice I can give… keep away from them! They sit on the main line in a puddle of their own grease and they are swimming in sodium, fat, and calories. To some people they may be tempting, but your arteries will thank you if you steer clear of them.
- The Potatoes:
- The DC breakfasts have either home-fries, hash-browns, or some weird shaved-potato thing depending on the day. Home-fries are okay in moderation because they are relatively low in fat and calories (just watch your carbs). And the mysterious shaved-potato thing is okay in moderation, too… I think. But the hash-browns are fried, so try to avoid them.
- The Sweets:
- Hampshire and Franklin always seem to have an option for those with a sweet tooth. They have muffins, muffin tops, flavored or stuffed french toast, flavored pancakes, and assorted pastries at the end of the main line each morning. These are more of a dessert than a breakfast food so I wouldn’t reach for them if I were you.
- The rest of the breakfast options (simply put)…
- Omelette station:
- Many people don’t know that you can ask that your omelette be made with egg whites to avoid having too many yolks. Request egg whites, load up on the offered vegetables, and go easy on the cheeses and you’re good to go!
- Fruit section:
- Eat fruit! Eat lots of fruit! The cantaloupe, honey dew melon, pineapple, and grapes are pretty fresh on a daily basis, so enjoy those! Just go easy on the fruit that was clearly taken from a can because the syrup it sits in is very high in sugar.
- Hot Cereal: There is always hot oatmeal or hot cereal offered in the mornings (it’s at the soup station). The DC oatmeals are kind of bland and sticky, but you can make it more tasty by adding some dried fruit or nuts from the fruit section and adding (a little) brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, or honey.
- Cold Cereal: Honestly, when it comes to these go for the more natural-looking options. If the cereal is brightly colored or chocolatey, it’s probably all sugar.
- Make-your-own Waffle:
- The batter is all fat, the syrups are all sugar, and the whipped cream is as unnatural as they come. Two words: walk away.
- Toast station:
- I just read an article that explained that a typical bagel is often the equivalent of four pieces of bread smooshed together. So, to avoid extra carbs, try to reach for toast instead of bagels. Also, go for the whole grain or wheat breads, and go easy on the butter, jelly, cream cheese, and peanut butter, too (but it’s all okay in moderation).
So… eat breakfast! Just keep this information in mind as you’re choosing your meal. Make time for it in your schedule if you want to feel less hungry and more energized during your crazy college day. DCs are often very quiet before 10am on weekdays, so you can get some work done as you enjoy a healthy breakfast. Happy dining!
*One more fun tip about breakfasts at the DCs:
On weekends all of the Dining Commons offer breakfast, but try to avoid going into a DC before 12:30pm on a Saturday or a Sunday. This is not because the food is bad before 12:30, but it’s because sometimes the DCs think it’s a good idea to have a live band play on early weekend mornings. If you have a hangover, the unnecessary loudness and noise of the live bands can make you want to curl up in a ball and die. It’s the worst… You are warned.