5

votes

Trying to start eating paleo at college, but having some issues

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 03, 2011 at 4:24 AM

I have been reading many blogs, websites, PaleoHacks, and read The Paleo Diet. I really think this is the right way for me to lose weight and I'm excited about every aspect of this new lifestyle. The only problem I have is that I'm going to college on a mandatory meal plan. Because of how expensive my meal plan is, I really can't afford to spend a lot of money outside for extra food. I know that is how a lot of people have made the diet work in college, but I can't afford more than having nuts around to snack on. The college actually does well in having steamed veggies and a well stocked salad bar with raw ingredients (other than the dressings). In fruit, I'm limited to apples, oranges, bananas, honey dew, and mandarin oranges with other canned fruit probably drenched in sugar (not what I want). Protein is a really problem because I know this is most important on paleo, but not at my college. I am mostly limited to grilled chicken and eggs. Chicken is offered at every lunch and dinner. Eggs are the only healthy option at breakfast. Otherwise, all the other meats are either extremely fatty, fried, in pasta, or just not cooked paleo. I'm worried I will get bored with chicken and eggs, plus not have enough variety in my diet. I'm also very worried all of these setbacks will keep me from reaping the benefits of paleo and I won't lose weight.

One solution I had thought about was taking Omega 3 fish oil to supplement the lack of fish and omega 3. Especially since all of the meat I'll be eating is probably full of omega 6. I did a fish oil calculator on the whole9life.com website. It says I should be taking 14 fish oil pills a day! I find this crazy! I used to take 2 a day and thought that was a good amount, but 14? And that is expensive too! I have no problem shelling out money for fish oil pills if it'll supplement what I'm not getting, but that seems excessive.

I just need advice and opinions on my situation. I don't have anybody around me to encourage me on this diet because everyone thinks I'm crazy for saying that cereal is bad for you. -_-

Thanks

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 27, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Microwaves are dangerous? um... But I am going to college in 2.5 years and I was thinking I'd get all my vegetables there. If they have a salad bar, I'd just load up on that. Then I would buy my own meat and fat.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Well I'm confused. Then is there no difference fat wise between animals grass fed and and not? Only omega 6 and 3? I had read in the Paleo Diet about how when you cook regular supermarket meat and grass fed when you pour the extra fat into the jar. Maybe I'm reading wrong...

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 03, 2011
at 09:50 PM

There are no bad fats in meat. Yummy, luscious saturated fat.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 03, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I use iodized salt. As long as your blood pressure is 120/80 or lower don't worry about salt. You cannot do anything about the salt used in the prep of campus food. Many drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, Savon, Walmart have blood pressure machines that are reasonably accurate.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:17 PM

Milking all those beans must be *really* hard work! ;)

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:15 PM

@akd: Fantastic idea!

257c54249147b22e6dc34a89aab1cff2

(30)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Oh yeah, that's another good one JAM. I really think "get started" page is probably the best paleo/primal/GCBC/whatever you want to call it place to start. Simple, direct, and stages anyone can manage.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:34 PM

THUMBS UP to reading Kurt Harris' blog. http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Only half-and-half and....soy milk *shudder*

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:23 PM

But I have another question I just thought of. I have read different people's perspective of sodium in the paleo diet. Shouldn't I be worried about that or at this point is it would make this too unmanageable, lol

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:21 PM

They do have gluten free options, but usually it is gluten free cereal. Every once in awhile they do have beef for tacos and I could see if they could put that aside with out the sauce mixed in. Hmmm, ground beef with some paloe spicies to give it a kick could be cheap and good.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Thank you. I was skimming at his website and it was information heavy, so I'll have to study it hard to remember to keep these things in mind.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:17 PM

Thank you! I think the salad bar offers olive oil, so I could definitely try making dressing once I find the packets. Also have an aunt with a Costco membership. Score! :) This was helpful

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:04 PM

I only have a microfridge with a tiny microwave. It was made to pop popcorn and heat up water for tea, that's about it. haha. The meal plan is over $1000 dollars, so that is why I'm limited to bring in extra foods.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:02 PM

To be clear, I was worried about all the bad fats in the meat, not necessarily the fat in meat in general. I have learned to embrace the fat!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 03, 2011
at 12:32 PM

That's a fantastic idea. People usually really want to be helpful, and sometimes just asking for help goes a long way.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 11:18 AM

Gosh yes, I dread to think what my ratio was at that age :/

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:56 AM

Fantastic comprehensive overview though :)

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:55 AM

Careful with the chicken skin too, it's extremely high in omega 6.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:54 AM

Check the sausages are gluten free first.

  • D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

    asked by

    (487)
  • Views
    4.2K
  • Last Activity
    1426D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

10 Answers

best answer

1
1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on March 03, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Can you find a way to afford sardines, or coconut oil, even if you have to save up for them? Can you cook where you're living? If so, liver is cheap and very paleo. How about a steak once a week? I bet if you think about it, you could find lots of ways to sneak inexpensive paleo options into your budget and diet, even if you do it on a rotating basis...sardines one week and liver the next...for example.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:04 PM

I only have a microfridge with a tiny microwave. It was made to pop popcorn and heat up water for tea, that's about it. haha. The meal plan is over $1000 dollars, so that is why I'm limited to bring in extra foods.

best answer

1
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on March 03, 2011
at 04:49 AM

My Great Aunt is having your delima but in her retirement home. She has gained weight since moving there. I also gained weight in college. I think its the cafeteria food & being on the meal plan doesn't give you a lot of options. I think you are on the right track of supplementing fish oil omega 3. With the food you are offered sounds like your omega 3/omega 6 ratio would be bad, being too much of the Omega 6. And the fruit probably isn't that great either being full of sugar and canned.

I think you will have to stick with the chicken, if that's the only protein offered for lunch and dinner and like you already know stay away from the pasta, cereal, and breads.

Is cream available? You could add some of that to tea or coffee.

I completely understand your situation; I would not have been able to buy Omega 3 Capsules while I was in college. Hopefully you can get some canned meats and fresh liver (live Helen suggested) once in awhile and cook in your dorm.

I actually eat less food and spend less now that I am paleo. I think this is because I am satiated from higher fat that I eat (no processed or fast food)

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Only half-and-half and....soy milk *shudder*

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:17 PM

Milking all those beans must be *really* hard work! ;)

best answer

6
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 03, 2011
at 09:22 AM

For salads, make your own dressing by buying Good Seasons Packet Italian and get their hour glass mixing bottle one time. Mix vinegar and olive oil and packet together.

For breakfast eat all the bacon, sausage and eggs you can.

Lunch eat the chicken with real butter on it and eat the fatty skin. If steamed veggies are available at noon, slather then with real butter. Watch out and make sure it is not margarine.

Dinner eat that fatty meat...double or triple servings, and veggies again slathered in butter. Have an apple or melon for desert.

You will find that you will begin to lose weight and you will find that you will be satiated because of all the fat you will be eating. And you won't crave the carbs you used to eat.

Fish oil pills. If you can get the Costco Signature Brand fish oil gel caps, they are the most reasonably priced http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11072245 Two a day is enough. It does require membership. Find a family friend that has a membership.

One other thing is you need to supplement with Vit D3...around 10000IU to start for 6 months and then back off to 5000IU. Vit D3 supplementation will increase your immune system and will ward off all the viruses going around the campus. A good D3 is Now Brands 5000IU per gel cap available from http://www.swansonvitamins.com/NWF182/ItemDetail because the carrier is olive oil and not soybean oil.

You are going to have to fuel yourself adequately with meat and fat so that you don't fall into the trap new paleo fall into...ie they get tired easily because they don't eat enough fat. But when you start losing 5-10 pounds a month and you have a lot of energy, the lack of food choices will become a non starter because of your results.

I am sure your college has a weight room. Get with an instructor to do some slow reps with adequate weight to failure only a couple times a week.

Good luck. I commend you on starting your paleo journey so early in your life. You will reap rewards down the road by not screwing up your body with sugars and wheat products early in life. Socially it is hard to not have pizza and beer and all the other neolithic health destroyers that are available on campus.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:55 AM

Careful with the chicken skin too, it's extremely high in omega 6.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:54 AM

Check the sausages are gluten free first.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 10:56 AM

Fantastic comprehensive overview though :)

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 03, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I use iodized salt. As long as your blood pressure is 120/80 or lower don't worry about salt. You cannot do anything about the salt used in the prep of campus food. Many drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, Savon, Walmart have blood pressure machines that are reasonably accurate.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:23 PM

But I have another question I just thought of. I have read different people's perspective of sodium in the paleo diet. Shouldn't I be worried about that or at this point is it would make this too unmanageable, lol

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:17 PM

Thank you! I think the salad bar offers olive oil, so I could definitely try making dressing once I find the packets. Also have an aunt with a Costco membership. Score! :) This was helpful

best answer

4
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 03, 2011
at 12:02 PM

are you able to tell the cafeteria that you are gluten intolerant, and need some GF options? they might be able to accommodate you by putting aside some meat and veggies without the breading and sauces. i would give it a shot and talk to the cafeteria manager.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 03, 2011
at 12:32 PM

That's a fantastic idea. People usually really want to be helpful, and sometimes just asking for help goes a long way.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:15 PM

@akd: Fantastic idea!

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:21 PM

They do have gluten free options, but usually it is gluten free cereal. Every once in awhile they do have beef for tacos and I could see if they could put that aside with out the sauce mixed in. Hmmm, ground beef with some paloe spicies to give it a kick could be cheap and good.

best answer

1
257c54249147b22e6dc34a89aab1cff2

on March 03, 2011
at 01:24 PM

I think it might be good to read up on the n-6 vs n-3 issue, as some folks suggest that it's important to have a balance between the two, instead of just increasing n-3 intake. Here's a post from Kurt Harris' blog that goes into more detail. According to Harris' thinking, the issue for you wouldn't be trying to ingest so much fish oil, but to eat animal protein sources that have a better balance of n-6 and n-3. So at the risk of trying to overpimp his blog, here's another post that details that pretty well. In general, I think he's a good read, as he focuses on whole food choices, and is more realistic about what can be accomplished by any dietary strategy.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Thank you. I was skimming at his website and it was information heavy, so I'll have to study it hard to remember to keep these things in mind.

257c54249147b22e6dc34a89aab1cff2

(30)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Oh yeah, that's another good one JAM. I really think "get started" page is probably the best paleo/primal/GCBC/whatever you want to call it place to start. Simple, direct, and stages anyone can manage.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:34 PM

THUMBS UP to reading Kurt Harris' blog. http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

5
415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:32 AM

You say some of the other protein options are fatty, as if that is a bad thing. Learn to embrace the saturated fat. So your n-3:n-6 rations might be screwed up for a while. It probably won't give you cancer while you are in college. You'll have a lifetime to make up for it.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:02 PM

To be clear, I was worried about all the bad fats in the meat, not necessarily the fat in meat in general. I have learned to embrace the fat!

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 03, 2011
at 09:50 PM

There are no bad fats in meat. Yummy, luscious saturated fat.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 03, 2011
at 11:18 AM

Gosh yes, I dread to think what my ratio was at that age :/

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Well I'm confused. Then is there no difference fat wise between animals grass fed and and not? Only omega 6 and 3? I had read in the Paleo Diet about how when you cook regular supermarket meat and grass fed when you pour the extra fat into the jar. Maybe I'm reading wrong...

2
A993550f2a130df8d3462c08582f08ec

(589)

on March 03, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Here's a trick that I learned from the teacher who introduced me to paleo about the meal plan. Does your pasta line have a bunch of veggies to choose from? A couple meats? Some sauces? Well, what you do is order a bowl of as many veggies as you want, even asking for extra; choose your meats, and then when they ask what kind of pasta, tell them you don't want any. Same goes for sauces; ask if they can just use water or (if they have it) real butter. Congratulations: you now have the closest you are going to get to a paleo stir-fry.

I would usually get carrots, onion, broccoli, bell peppers, and squash with chicken or sausage, and then put parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and some real butter on top.

1
00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on March 03, 2011
at 10:20 PM

For the times you absolutely can't get anything good in the cafeteria (pizza day), get a big crock pot (~$20 at your favorite big box store) and learn to make pot roasts with cheap cuts of beef or pork that are on sale.

You can make scrambled eggs in the microwave, too.

In the cafeteria, what akd said about telling them you're gluten-free.

If you're got no Costco membership and a local Trader Joe's, their fish oil is a good value. Get about 1g/day of EPA and DHA (that's about 4 of those pills) and you'll most likely be fine.

1
976844bb16c0ab60ca2632aa5df149f8

(317)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:57 PM

You're not going to be able to eat perfectly paleo on a meal plan at college, unfortunately, but you can take steps to come close. I'm going to disagree with some of the advice above. In the end though, you are on the right track by eating un processed foods however you can make it work!

In the cafeteria, eggs are your best protein source, so eat lots. Bacon and sausage are ok, just remember that sausage typically has added sugar and bacon is high in omega 6. I'm not saying don't eat it, just choose eggs first. If they have an omelet station this is an awesome way to get veggies in at breakfast.

As far as the fatty meats, you are right to avoid the fat. I'm assuming your cafeteria isn't using organic meat, and since hormones and pesticides are stored in fat, you should trim the fat. Yes, fat is good for you, but in this case I'd stick with lean meat. (see below for fat source) If they have beef grab it over chicken.

For snacking in your dorm, I'd recommend coconut flakes, coconut milk and coconut butter over nuts. High in omega 3 and a fantastic fat source. You can bring coconut milk with you and put it in your coffee in the cafeteria. If you want to occasionally eat nuts, go with macadamia. If you have money, you may want to get a protein powder. I personally don't use protein powder, but in your case I think it may be a good option, for variety if nothing else! I do not think that 2 fish oil pills a day is enough. A liquid form will be easier for you to take the amount you need, but it's pretty expensive, so that may not be an option.

For salads, go with oil and vinegar or better yet, oil and citrus juice if you can find a lemon or lime.

Don't be afraid to play the gluten intolerant card. After all...it's true!

Regarding support...just show your friends a few pictures from paleo blogs and that will shut them up ;)

0
8274ce9d4bffd8209055e1e34def04d6

(429)

on March 27, 2011
at 08:47 PM

I am going away to college next year, too!

I already told them I am gluten intolerant and received a letter from Disability Services or some such department. They really do want to help.

My school allows students to choose their meal plans. I chose the least expensive one, with one meal a day provided by the school.

That way, I can eat their crap just once a day, and then make my own food the rest of the time.

I already know I will be going to ALDI to buy butter, and that will have to be my main source of fat/calories. I can buy some meat and cook it in a toaster oven (microwaves are dangerous), then eat it in the butter.

I know I will have little variety in the meals I plan for myself, but maybe the school food will make up for it somehow.

At our age though, I think getting enough sleep might be even more important than what we eat.

Also, properly chewing everything makes you feel fuller and more satiated (and less indigestion in case you have to eat something questionable from the college).

Regarding weight loss- I think I am 20 lbs overweight after almost of year of paleo. I barely lost weight (partly because I have something like an eating disorder) but I clearly gained muscle and feel a lot stronger and have more stamina. I think true weight loss may be much more difficult for those of us who are female and overweight at a young age. But that may be the result of psychological food issues.

Good luck at college!

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 27, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Microwaves are dangerous? um... But I am going to college in 2.5 years and I was thinking I'd get all my vegetables there. If they have a salad bar, I'd just load up on that. Then I would buy my own meat and fat.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!