It doesn’t have to be fast and fatty

Kristen Kotz

For the busy college student on the go, meals often consist of fast food. This type of food, while convenient, can often be high in fat and sodium. When eating at a fast food restaurant, there are types of foods students should definitely avoid and others that are OK to eat.

The average college student needs about 2000 calories per day and about 3000 milligrams of sodium, said Rose Ann Chiurazzi, a nutritionist at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. It is very easy for a student to rack up those calories with a fast food meal.

A Chipotle burrito with a 13-inch flour tortilla, rice, chicken, cheese and guacamole has 1069 calories and 2451 mg of sodium.

That is about half the calories and almost all the daily sodium a person needs in one day .

One suggestion Chiurazzi made for students eating fast food was to go for smaller portions at fast food restaurants.

“Get the smallest size you are comfortable eating,” she said.

Students should aim for between 600 and 700 calories per meal. When eating out, students should look at the amount of fat, sodium and calories in the food to determine what is healthiest, Chiurazzi said. Students can obtain this information by asking for a nutritional fact chart at the restaurant.

Students should also watch the condiments they put on food. That same burrito from Chipotle has only 789 calories after the cheese and guacamole are eliminated.

Salads are a good option for students when eating out, Chiurazzi said. One healthy choice is an Asian salad with grilled chicken from McDonald’s. It contains only 300 calories and 890 mg of sodium without salad dressing. The low-fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing adds another 40 calories and 730 mg of sodium to the entree.

Wraps are also another healthy option for students eating on the go, Chiurazzi said.

Many restaurants also offer non-salted food options. For example, Burger King, offers both salted and unsalted fries.

Students should also opt for water or low-fat milk as opposed to soda when they dine out, Chiurazzi added.

She said people tend to eat a lot of fast food because they find the fat in it satisfying, and while eating it once in a while is all right, students should not eat fast food for every meal.

Four Fast Foods to avoid

Chipotle burrito with chicken, cheese and guacamole

1069 calories, 51 grams of fat and 2451 mg. of sodium


Burger King’s Double Whopper with Cheese

990 calories, 64 grams of fat, 1520 mg of sodium


Subway’s 6-inch Double Meat

630 Calories, 35.0 grams of fat, 2850 mg of sodium (

McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

740 Calories, 380 grams of fat and 1380 mg of sodium (

“They feel like they have had a substantial meal,” she said. “That’s why when people eat out all the time they have trouble with their weight. It’s really easy to over do.”

Contact all correspondent Kristen Kotz at [email protected].