Massachusetts Daily Collegian

10 DC foods that will expand your waistline

By Araz Havan

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Gabrielle Phat/Collegian

Gabrielle Phat/Collegian

There’s no denying that some dining commons treats look appetizing. But they might also unknowingly contribute to caloric surplus that will leave students stooped over desks on the verge of slipping into food comas.

This digestive slumber is only one repercussion of these tempting snacks that will also add a winter cushion for these cold months. Know these foods if you plan to avoid grueling hours at the gym and constant trips to the mall for “relaxed fit” jeans.

Morning pastries

When there is time for breakfast (which there always should be), beware of eating too many morning pastries. This made-up category includes delicious foods such as muffin-tops, croissants and rugelach.

Muffins, while not entirely unhealthy, can be sugary and contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Croissants can come with different fillings, such as raspberry or chocolate and are buttery. Rugelach can be made like a cinnamon bun roll, which is self-explanatory.

Sugary cereals

Nothing is better than having a bowl of cereal in the morning, especially when instead of a boring bran-flake made only of fiber that erases all the bad cholesterol from your body, you could be eating mini chocolate-chip cookies or tiny balls of chocolate.

These cereals have high sugar levels, and too much of them can slowly tighten pants’ waistbands. While there are some vitamins and minerals advertised in these cereals, a healthier choice would be Cheerios or Wheaties.


Dining commons’ waffle lines are always active, and rightfully so. One could eat a waffle during any meal (or as the meal) and be totally content with the lake of syrup or the mountain of vaguely unidentifiable fruit jam tucked in the squares.

Don’t fall for the trap. OK, well maybe on occasion. But in all seriousness, many of the calories from the syrup and jam come from sugars and waffles are high in carbohydrates, too, which make the combination of this breakfast-anytime meal particularly dangerous.

Grilled cheese

Grilled cheese may be a personal favorite but the truth must be known. Last semester saw this author having almost a full grilled cheese sandwich a day, to which a stomach party soon turned into a bad “morning after” scene.

Grilled cheese is simply just bread with cheese, which is usually served with white bread, rather than whole wheat. The carb factor here is high, and the sandwich can also be high in saturated fats because of the cheese.


The pasta bar is great – it is delicious almost all the time, and it’s a useful fallback when all the other foods being served are disappointing.

What isn’t a win-win in this situation is the fact that too much pasta isn’t as good as one would guess. The carb content in the white pasta is the main enemy here. With the pesto sauce you can have added fats, as with cheeses. Try the whole wheat pasta instead, and ditch the garlic bread.

Pizza station

Pizza may have been declared a vegetable recently, but that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t. Vegetables, cheeses, meat products and fruit toppings (anything goes in the DCs), are all super yummy, but also unhealthy if too much of it is consumed. Tempting as the spread of pizzas at the University may be, proceed with caution.

Ice Cream

This author may have chosen to come to the University of Massachusetts because of an ability to eat ice cream for breakfast, and no one living can say or do anything to change this craving. But one  non-human entity may have a say: the scale.

Ice cream is obviously not a healthy food, so there aren’t many ways to justify it. What makes matters worse are the vast and varying selection of toppings students can top off their creamy treat with such as M&M’s, crushed M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, jimmies, heath bar and more. Resist the urge to grab a soup bowl and fill it with cookie dough ice cream and all the toppings, and have an ice cream cone as a treat only sparingly.

Mac and cheese

A classic that combines two of the main bad boys on this list: cheese and pasta. Be wary of this combination, because it is always delicious and sometimes even comes with added girth in the form of mixing meat into the mix. Mac and cheese is chock full of carbs and fat, so take small portions and it should be fine.

General Tso’s chicken

The Oak Room at Worcester never fails to please, but many of their options aren’t the healthiest. General Tso’s chicken – a sweet, slightly spicy and deep-fried dish. The sauce is high in sodium, but the dish is served with vegetables on the side, which shouldn’t be ignored.


Soda is not specifically a food, but it is still a danger out in the DCs. Sodas have a lot of sugar. In fact, sodas are made from sugar, flavoring and carbonated water. Some of the other drinks available can also be harmful. The pink lemonade, for example, contains a lot of sugar, as do the sweet teas and juices. Combine these with any of the above foods and you can be ready to change your belt notch one over.

Araz Havan can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “10 DC foods that will expand your waistline”

  1. nairi havan on February 1st, 2012 11:35 am

    Some very informative and detailed info for the parents to be aware of as well. Will stay tuned to here more from you.

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