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Round 2, but on college meal plan...


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I completed a whole 30 in the spring of my senior year of high school, in 2018. I loved it and it was not difficult since I lived at home and had access to a kitchen and a fridge. I loved cooking healthy food!

I am on the path of gaining the freshman 15 and miss how amazing I felt on Whole 30. I want to try again but I don’t know how realistic this is in college. I have no access to a kitchen, fridge, or car. All of my meals are eaten in the dining hall.

The only Whole 30 approved foods available in the dining hall are:

boiled chicken breast

hard boiled egg white (at breakfast)


green peppers







Honestly, I don’t know if that’s possible. I enjoy food. I am not sure if can realistically meet my caloric needs or get healthy fats in. But something with my eating needs to change.


I would love to hear your thoughts.

thanks in advanced.  

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Without some kind of healthy fat to add to meals, this definitely won't work for you right now. You would more than likely be hungry all the time and probably pretty miserable. 

I see a couple of possibilities here. One, if can you get a fridge for your room, you could get some whole30 compliant fat sources like salad dressings, olives, premade guacamole and occasionally maybe some other food that you could keep in your fridge to supplement what you can get in the dining hall. This would still be pretty boring but doable.

A second possibility would involve talking to the people in charge in the dining hall and seeing if they could make some other options available. 

Or, you could decide that a true whole30 is just not an option right now but that you will adhere as closely to the meal template as you can. If you know from your reintroductions that there's something that really, really bothers you, avoid that, obviously. But if there are options that are close to whole30 but not quite -- maybe things are cooked in oil that isn't great, or seasonings have sugar, or they use butter on something -- choose those things. 


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Hi @Lavendar.lovely, while a W30 is challenging, it's not meant to make you miserable, and in my opinion, with the options you have available you are putting yourself in a very tough situation. Adjusting to life in college can be rough, especially when it comes to food. I would suggest saving a real W30 for summer when you aren't dependent on the meal plan and therefore will set yourself up for a successful experience. In the meantime, why not set some mini-challenges for yourself so you at least feel that you are doing something that makes you feel better. Like Shannon suggests, start sticking as close to the template as possible. Really think about your day and determine where you can easily make significant changes. I'm not sure what your campus and college life is like, but thinking back on my own experience not too long ago, here's what I could have done differently:

1. Are you a coffee drinker? If so, what are you putting in it every day? Can you go to black coffee?

2. What's your snacking life like? I was a terrible snacker in college, especially in social situations, maybe you can make some changes here.

3. Alcohol, it's a part of college, but could also be not making you feel great. 

Maybe think of this semester as a Food Freedom challenge instead of a W30. Take what you learned from your first one and apply it to the life you have now. And then do me a favor and take a breath. College is challenging, and your focus should be on academics, and taking in every experience possible. Eating healthy for you is important, but don't fall into a trap of making food choices 100% of your day. That's not what this is all about anyways. 

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Shelf stable Whole30 options (assuming you eat them in their entirety as most leftovers should be refrigerated after opening):

-Canned/pouched tuna, salmon,or sardines (check labels)
-Individual packs or small cans of olives
-Fresh fruit/vegetables including avocado (different items can stay out longer than others)
-Approved meat bars/jerky.
-Nuts/Individual packets of nut butters
-Coconut oil/ghee (They sell some in individual packets OR you can get a full jar and a small container if you need to take some on the go. Then, you can add some healthy fats to the low fat dining hall meals)

Of course, if finances and your school allows, getting a few kitchen tools would make a HUGE difference. A refrigerator/freezer and an Instant Pot would be two of my top choices. A microwave would probably be third on my list, but you can adjust to eating cold leftovers or you can use the Instant Pot to reheat food. It's a little slower/clunkier, but it WILL work if it's all you have. 

I'm just thinking about ways people stay compliant if traveling or staying in Hotel rooms without full kitchens. Some people travel with their Instant Pots and order a refrigerator to be sent to their rooms to store food. Unfortunately, the combination of having less food storage does have a few drawbacks:

1. Since a small refrigerator cannot hold a lot of food and freezer space is probably going to be non-existant, you'll likely have to eat the same foods every day. If you make enough stew to serve 6 people, you probably won't have room to store other recipes (nor will you be able to freeze any to keep some longer).

2. Lack of food storage means you'll likely have to make frequent trips to the grocery store for some items. 

Unfortunately, none of this addresses your current situation aside from giving you some suggetions for rounding out the options in the school dining hall. Perhaps, right now isn't the right time to embark on a Whole30, but that doesn't mean you need to live off of sugar. Try keeping compliant foods as snacks in your dorm for those late-night study sessions. Try to incorporate the items from the dining hall that ARE compliant in your diet, but don't feel like you need to eat them strictly. If you can tolerate gluten and dairy, then maybe there are days when you get a slice of pizza for dinner and serve it with a salad. 

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