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Diet Talk from the Doc
by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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The typical college dining hall diet is getting a makeover. Why should you care? Because this change can help you cut back on waste and overeating at home!

In an effort to “decrease food waste and conserve water and energy used in cleaning”, many colleges are going green and removing trays from cafeterias, the Chicago Tribune recently reported.

This is good news for the environment – but I also applaud this move from a nutritional standpoint.

We know that the typical buffet-style eating of college dining halls encourages students to take too much food. A tray can hold a lot of food… and can spur overeating. Less food on the tray means less food in the stomach which can also mean first-year students may have a lower risk of gaining the Freshman 15.

Another recent bold move affecting the eating habits of college students is taking place at the University of Illinois. As reported at DailyIllini.com, students will now have online access to the nutritional information of their meal items through a new EatSmart program.

Knowledge is power and I’m very happy to see these changes that will hopefully make it easier for college students to eat healthier and better manage their weight while on campus.

You don’t have to be college age to learn from these healthy lifestyle changes. And even though your kitchen is not a cafeteria, there are still small things you can do to encourage less overeating.

Here are some tips to guide you:

--Use smaller plates, bowls, glassware and even silverware as a way to naturally eat less, without really noticing (and without having to count calories!). Yes, studies support that this strategy really does work. Use a smaller spoon for that morning cereal, a smaller glass for that glass of wine and a smaller dinner plate for your evening meal. Before you know it, your waist may shrink with your eating accessories!

--Don’t serve family style with piled-high platters of food in the center of the table - this is a well known way to encourage overeating.

--Use nutritional information to help you prepare healthier meals for the entire family. Read food labels and access fast food websites for nutritional information to give yourself the information you need to eat smart – without having to go back to school.

Now that you’ve scored some great healthy eating info, class dismissed!

@ 4:15pm ET on September 25, 2008 Quick update on this topic: Harvard University dining services just decided to remove calorie information from their dining hall because it was negatively impacting individuals with eating disorders.
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