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Nutrition & Dieting/In college with nut allergy - healthy eating?

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Question
Hi,

I am currently in college,
and almost completely dependent on the dining hall/on campus food options
(mostly refined carbs/sugars and pesticide-infested everything). There are
definitely good foods in there, but they are few and far between and you really
have to know what to look for. I also have a peanut and tree nut allergy, which
takes away a lot of the healthy snack options especially available on
campus.

What can I do to make sure I am eating as much natural, real food as
I possibly can, without nut suggestions? It's really frustrating to see lists of
alternative healthy snacks and see that I am allergic to 90% of
them.

Answer
Hi, I admire you for trying to maintain a healthy diet while away from home in college.  It is not easy to lose control over your food choices while you are away from home.  The good thing is that with a bit of planning and strategy you don't have to.  Nut allergies (and food allergies in general) are typically handled well in a large institution such as a university setting.  You are certainly not the only student with dietary restrictions of some type.  

Go for the fresh food first. Find some fresh fruit in the morning and greek yogurt for added protein. Hit the salad bar and fill your plate with veggies.  Watch out for the calorie laden creamy dressings and sauces.  I would then look around at the various stations and choose a lean protein and whole grain side dish (brown rice).  See if you can get some grilled chicken or fish to top the salad.  Maybe some whole wheat pasta with steamed vegetables.  Stick to fresh fruit for dessert or choose one irresistible dessert to share with your friends. Deli meat rolled up with some lettuce and tomato could also be a quick meal or snack.  

When you are in-between meals carry a piece of fruit, cut of veggies and hummus (they now come in individual packages).  Maybe pick up a string cheese and a handful of crackers or a low-fat smoothie. Cottage cheese and pita chips or  even a cup of soup makes a nutritious snack choice.  Sunflower seed butter is a good option in place of peanut butter.  Spread some on whole wheat toast or an apple. Make your own trail mix with pumpkin seeds and dried fruit.  Air popped popcorn is also another good choice.  

Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.  Enjoy your independence at college and trust your instincts with your food choices.  

Nutrition & Dieting

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Stacy Ostrager, M.A.,M.S.

Expertise

I am qualified to answer your questions on nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, disease management,obesity and obesity related issues. I am experienced with nutrition aspect of managing the following: Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, pregnancy, allergies, IBS, diabetes, heart disease, fitness, wellness, healthy cooking, and many more.

Experience

Over 20 years in premier hospitals, consulting and private counseling practice for nutrition.

Organizations
New York State Dietetic Association, Long Island Dietetic Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Center for Science of Public Interest

Education/Credentials
Masters of Healthcare Administration from Hofstra University (Hempstead, N.Y.) 1999 Masters of Science in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University (Ypslanti, M.I.) 2012 Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from Ithaca College (Ithaca, N.Y) 1994

Past/Present Clients
NYU Medical Center, Long Island Jewish Medical Center

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