Dealing with a dining hall

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM

I'm a college student who eats pretty strict paleo. I have to eat what my dining hall provides, which is usually a lot of chicken. Obviously, the chicken is not from the best source or cooked the right way. It is often covered in grease and oils that I know can't be good for me, but sometimes there isn't another option. However, there are lunch meats. But I know these aren't the best options either because of all the additives in them. So...

What meat (chicken vs lunch meats) would be a better overall source of protein for me? What are the negatives of eating lunch meat? In general, which one would be a healthier option? Thanks

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2 Answers


on November 14, 2012
at 12:54 AM

The principle I use is: can I recognize the species I'm eating? This isn't a rhetorical question either - if the food I'm eating has been processed to the point where I'd need a DNA test to identify the species, I just don't eat it. Lunch meats fall into the "don't eat it" category. I'm not a chemist, but poorly cooked whole chicken seems to be the lesser of the two evils.

I work on a college campus, and I know that the food service folks are happy to help with dietary restrictions. I know nothing at all about your campus, but it might be worth just asking if they can accommodate your needs. It might reduce your options (baked chicken everyday) but you could stick to paleo.



on November 28, 2012
at 01:39 AM

I think I'd take deli meat over chicken cooked in seed oils. Maybe you can ask cafeteria staff to let you see the ingredients labels for the deli meat to see what's in it? Had I known about paleo when I was in college, I think I may have opted out of the meal plan and tried to make due in my dorm room with my fridge and microwave. If you could get away with having an electric griddle, you'd be golden, but I'm guessing that's a fire hazard.

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