By Sherrie Martin–

Staying healthy in college is a major challenge. Pulling all-nighters, not having enough time to exercise and ever-present stress all take a toll on student health. One of the simplest ways to ensure that we remain as healthy as possible is to take control of what we eat.

My Fitness Pal is a good tool to use in deciding where to eat. If you are on campus and need a quick meal, you can plug the name of the restaurant meal in to the app and it will give you all the information you need.

“You can set the amount of fat, carbs and protein your body needs and keep track of it throughout the day by logging your foods,” senior Landon Stalker said. “I think being informed on what you are putting in to your body is essential in making the right food choices, especially when you don’t have time to go home and cook,” said Stalker.

Knowing where to go is also crucial. Seasons Salad Bar and Subway might seem like the only healthy options on campus, but healthy menu items can be found at almost every campus restaurant.

At Cardinal Burger Company, there are veggie and turkey burgers, as well as chicken sandwiches, all at 300 calories or less. Ditch the fries for a side salad or fruit cup, and you have a well-balanced meal.

McAlister’s Deli offers a “choose two” option, with sandwich, soup, salad and spud combinations. Their website has an interactive nutrition menu, and you can create a meal for less than 500 calories.

In the Duthie Center for Engineering, you can find Sandella’s Flatbread Café. Menu options range from burritos to paninis to quesadillas, made with all-natural, fat- and cholesterol-free flatbread. Another campus restaurant committed to all natural and local ingredients is Zime, located in the Student Recreation Center. Zime serves up fresh salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and smoothies to give you the healthy energy needed to make it through the day.

If time is an issue, the mobile ordering app Tapingo helps you get healthy food quickly. Tapingo features almost all of the restaurants on campus, so you no longer have to sacrifice healthy eating due to lack of time.

“I love it because I only have a 45 minute lunch break, so it saves me a ton of time,” student Emily Coomes said.

The app allows you to see wait times at each restaurant, so you can base your decision on how much time you have. While you are still in your first class, the restaurant can start preparing your food and have it ready to go by the time you get there.

Another benefit of the app is that it stores your Cardinal Card information for payment. “If I forget to bring my wallet to campus, it has all my information saved so I can still eat,” said student Travis Sailing said.

Karen Newton, Director of U of L Health Promotion, also has suggestions to keep your eating habits in check.

“Keep a well-stocked pantry so you’re not dependent on machines or fast-food to eat,” Newton said, “and make an appointment (free!) with a Nutrition Navigator for personal coaching about all your nutrition questions.”

In addition, Newton said, “Use the U of L SmartPlate and the four Key Nutrition Concepts to guide your food choices.” Those can be found here.