Category: Chicago Dining

Eating Healthy On a Meal Plan

Eating Healthy On a Meal Plan



One of the worst things that everyone hears about Freshman year of college is the Freshman 15. The supposedly infamous 15 lbs that most freshman will gain in their first year of college. The worst part is that according to WebMD, this old college wives tale, is for real. After some serious googling, I found a statistic that says almost every 1 in 4 freshman gain at least 5% of their body weight, or about 10 lbs. So I guess it’s technically the freshman 10.

So how do you curb the statistics and stay healthy a a freshman in college? Here are a few tips that I have picked up throughout my first year of college at Loyola eating on a full seven day meal plan!

The best thing you can do to avoid gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, is to work out regularly. Take advantage of all the activities and resources that Halas has to offer! You can do everything from rock climbing to yoga in instructor lead classes, or you can do your own thing in the weight room or cardio room. This unfortunately isn’t always easy due to the simple fact that you’re in college and you’re stressed out and have a billion things to do. So what else can you do that doesn’t cut into your intense Netflix schedule.

Stay away from the french fries and pizza as much as possible. These are things that are always going to be in the dining hall, always there staring you down and tempting you to come and indulge – DON’T! Instead of french fries, try the homemade potato chips in every dining hall on campus! Instead of the regular made pizza hit up De Nobili dining and make your own pizza full of fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomato, or any number of yummy fresh veg.

Skip the self server ice cream machine. Don’t worry Loyola makes this one pretty easy because most the machines are perpetually broken, but nonetheless, there are plenty of other sweat after meal snacks to grab instead! My favorite is a banana with peanut butter- super delicious, super good for you.

Go whole grain! All the sandwich bars and bread options for the toaster offer whole grain or whole wheat bread/wraps. They taste practically the same and are just a little healthier which is everything!

Toast instead of waffles. Even though the waffle machines in the dining halls are awesome and really fun especially the first week of school, you can’t eat waffles and pancakes every day. My favorite alternative is whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana on top!

Take the fruit. There’s almost always apples, pears, or banana’s in the dining halls. Take them, steal them, hoard them, but most importantly – eat them. They taste great and are an awesome alternative to chips or junk food.

Stock up on granola bars/ protein bars to eat before exam or early classes. This is key, staying energized and eating all your meals is going to make you feel better and be a better student. If you’re not a morning person, like me, this is great for the days your running late for an 8 am or to catch the shuttle downtown.

If you have the extra cash, mix it up and eat out once in a while. There are amazing restaurants around Chicago and right here in Rodgers Park, treat yo self and go out for sushi or Italian  every so often. It’s a great break from the monotony of your meal plan and will probably be made of high quality ingredients which is, you know, also good.

All in all, gaining a little bit of weight your freshman year, it’s no big deal. It happens to everyone whether you can tell or not. Being on a dining plan and living life as a college student is a lot different then living at home. Don’t let stereotypes and body standards dictate how you live completely, but do be aware that there are little things you can do to stay healthy freshman year.

Loving yourself is 100 times more important than staying a size 4.

The Million-Dollar Question: Food At Loyola

The Million-Dollar Question: Food At Loyola


Believe you me, I toured a lot of colleges when I was in high school. Being led around by the tour guides like some sort of wayward puppy, I’ve asked a lot of different questions. You know, the important ones – and the not-so important ones. “Why did you pick this college?” “What’s there to do around here?” “Would you say the school spirit is high or low?” “How often does the ice-cream truck come by?”

(I’m not ashamed of the last one. The answer was, tragically, not often.)

Here’s one you might not have thought of – and if you did, it’s hard to get a satisfactory answer. “How is the food?”

I vividly remember my older brother coming home from college his first semester and bemoaning his single dining hall and student center with only Chik-fil-a, Panda Express, and Express Pita as other, actually edible options. And even those get old after a while. He was out of Dining Dollars, spent on avoiding the dining hall as best he could. He was sick of it all.

But he doesn’t attend Loyola.

Here, we have not one, but three Dining Halls, each unique for what they serve on any given day of the week, at any time of the day. You could go to Damen for some lasagna maybe, or de Nobili for make-your-own pizza, or Simpson on Wing Wednesday for some chicken wings in a sauce of your choosing. Or perhaps you want some fried rice and orange chicken, so you go to Damen, or you really want some chicken nuggets – de Nobili, but Simpson has a taco bar that is always prime. They also strive to always have a vegan option and to rotate through ethnic/cultural areas like the Mediterranean, East Asia, South Asia, and so on. How can you possibly keep all the options straight?

There’s an app for that. (No, really, there is!)

I won’t tell you the food never gets old – you could go to the same Dining Hall every day of the week if you want, and you could eat the same thing every day. But with this many options, why would you? All the Dining Halls have make-your-own-salads and sandwich bars, all of them have (hopefully) working ice cream machines and soup. It all depends on you.


There’s also wondrously fun monthly events like cookie-decorating day, hot apple cider and hot chocolate bars, and cupcakes for those born in the month. The cookie-decorating is especially great because the cookies are top-notch.

Then again, if you still decide you need a break from the large, open sitting areas and big windows from which you can observe the world, Loyola’s still got you covered. You’ve also got Dining Dollars and Rambler Bucks that can be spent at Bleeker Street, Damen Food Court, Engrained Cafe, Ireland’s, Nina’s, Connections Cafe, Lu’s, and our coffeeshops – and that’s just on campus!

‘Off-campus’ food locations are less than five minutes away, and they include Subway, Pita Pit, Potbelly’s, Five Guys, Felice’s, Cafe Descartes, Flaco Taco, Epic Burger, Metropolis Coffee, and Papa John’s, not to mention local hangout The Coffee Shop.

I’m not saying that each food court is five-star dining all the time, but it’s certainly not slop and it’s much better than anything I tried at all those other schools. I don’t dread eating and I enjoy a lot of the food! The dining hall workers try really hard to spice things up for you and there’s always a variety to choose from.

Photo Feb 08, 11 28 40 AM


I recommend Damen’s meat loaf and potatoes, encourage you to give de Nobili’s pizza a try (my favorite is to make bbq hawaiian pizzas), and definitely, you can’t miss Simpson’s cinnamon sticks!

Photo Nov 18 5 31 16 PM

Flashback to High School

Flashback to High School

High school was the best time ever for me. Those four years of schools went by so fast because I enjoyed hanging out friends (some I can consider life-long), I was a good academic student, I participated in a lot of fun extracurricular groups. I miss the prep-rallies, retreats, dances, prom, fundraising- everything. High school was the time when I got to be more independent, understand more about myself, and learn tons of cool things from really fun teachers.

I began taking AP courses during my junior year and started looking into colleges and learning about loans, financial aid, scholarships, etc. One thing I should have done more of, was to actually go to the college campus and take a tour. Visiting college websites and seeing an admissions counselor at a college fair isn’t enough- trust me!

Anyways, I enjoyed my senior year of high school the most. As National Honors Society president and class secretary, I had a lot of things to do and plan for. Many of the student council members and I had a cupcake war to see how many people could bake and sell the most cupcakes- fun times! As NHS president, I help tutor students in all subjects and inducted the next NHS class towards the end of the year.

(Picture caption: Leticia Z., Olga S., Daniel R., and Chris L. (me) at the Gordon Tech National Honors Society Induction Ceremony)


For prom, I did most of the planning and managed to hire a limo for my particular group, taking care of the funds and calling up the limo company. Anyways, my friends and I had a very good evening of fun- something I cannot forget.

(Photo Caption: Prom picture at Buckingham Fountain -May 3,2014)


All in all, the main message I  am trying to get across is to enjoy your high school years! Once you are in college, things will be a lot different. The inclusiveness of high school and all those memories will not be found in college. In college, you will be exposed to more things than you can expect. Everything is open to you and it will be up to you whether or not you make good memories.

Prospective LUC students- cherish and enjoy your time in high school!

The Heartland Café

The Heartland Café

For all of you organic lovers out there, I found the perfect little place for you! The Heartland Café is a small café off of the Morse stop (just one stop north on the red line from Loyola) that specializes in all-organic and locally grown foods! I have a friend who is a health nut and vegetarian, so we decided to check it out one night for dinner! In this post, I’ll tell you a little bit about this unique place.

The outside of this little café matches the rustic feel of the inside. The building is old, probably from the early 1900’s, and is decorated to establish some of the history into the modern business! Upon sitting down, we were handed a unique menu that offered many different types of foods, such as gourmet sandwiches, entrees, salads, and sides—all organic! One of my friends and I decided to try the buttermilk chicken with vegetables and veggie mash (mashed potatoes with vegetables in them!) It was absolutely delicious. My other friend ordered the vegetable gratin, which seemed to be a mixture of vegetables all together on top of potatoes of some sort! I didn’t try any of it, but it looked and smelled delicious! We also ordered pink lemonade, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was also organic. The lemonade tasted extremely fresh, and was nothing like the bottled sugary pink lemonade we were used to! We also decided to try dessert. We all ordered our own slice of vegan chocolate cake, and it was so amazing! At first I wasn’t sure what to expect of it, because how can you make a cake with no eggs or milk, right? Also, the cake seemed hard until you actually bite into it and find it to be extremely soft! Needless to say, I was skeptical at first but found that I loved the vegan chocolate cake! It’s definitely a must try.

Once we were full, we decided to take a look around the shop part of the café. Here, there were many different organic items available for purchase ranging from foods to household items and cleaning supplies. It was really cool to see all of the items that I normally buy regular in vegan form. I know it’s healthier, but sometimes more expensive. However, I’d love to give some of that stuff a try sometime!

All in all, if you are ever in the mood for some delicious food, I definitely recommend The Heartland Café. For vegans and non-vegans alike, the food is delicious, the people are kind, and the atmosphere is great! Pop in and order some delicious healthy food sometime!

Being A Tourist In My Own City For A Day

Being A Tourist In My Own City For A Day

This past weekend, I had a friend from home come visit me in Chicago! She has been here before, but has not done many touristy things. So, that Saturday that she was here, I made sure we did as many touristy things as we could! In this post, I will be talking about how fun it is to be a tourist in your own city every once in a while!

The first thing we did after the St. Patrick’s Day parade (which was the same day) was get lunch and eat it along the lake! One of the most beautiful things about Chicago is being right next to Lake Michigan. We went to Chick-Fil-A for a chicken sandwich (there are none in Michigan where we come from, so this was a touristy thing!) and we found a wonderful sunny spot on the other side of Lakeshore Drive to sit and eat as we watched people bike by. It was so relaxing and calming! After lunch, we decided to walk along the lake until we hit Navy Pier. We walked around the inside of the pier and explored all of the cool shops inside! We walked all the way to the end of the pier, where we went outside right by the Grand Ballroom. The end of the pier is absolutely beautiful. On each side, there is a wonderful view of the lake and the cityscape. We made sure to take pictures! My friend also told me here that she has never been on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel! So naturally, that is where we headed next! I was terrified though, as I hate heights! But once we were on board and heading up, the view was just enough to make me forget my fear. The city and lake looked amazing from the top of the wheel! I’m definitely glad I forced myself to go on!

Once we were done with Navy Pier, we decided to take an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River (which was still green!) The tour left from Navy Pier, and traveled down both branches of the river and lasted 75 minutes. Our tour guide was really excited about the architecture, and his excitement led to our excitement, and it was great to learn about the buildings of our great city! We learned about the original shores of the lake, old warehouses, new modern architectural marvels, different architects, the old and new post offices, the Merchandise Mart, and the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) among much more! I learned many new things about this great city that I have never known, and it was a wonderful tour!

The next thing we did was go shopping! My friend was really looking forward to the shopping that Chicago has to offer, so I made sure to take her all along the Magnificent Mile-Michigan Avenue! We also stopped by the Water Tower Place, which always has wonderful shopping. After shopping, it was beginning to get dark. We ended our night with a classic Chicago dinner-deep dish pizza from Gino’s East and a delicious cupcake from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM!

My friend truly had a wonderful stay in our beautiful city, and I had tons of fun being a tourist again! Sometimes, it is good to get out of your daily routine and to take a look at the fun around you! Chicago is a wonderful place to do this. Although I’ve been here for the past seven months, I forgot how much fun the tourist aspect of the city could be and I really loved touring with my friend! So, get out there and do something you haven’t done in ages, like riding the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel! You won’t regret it!


5 Reasons Why You CANNOT Miss Loyola Weekend

5 Reasons Why You CANNOT Miss Loyola Weekend


5 Reasons Why You CANNOT Miss Loyola Weekend:

  1. EVERYONE you want to meet will be there. Are you looking to talk to a Chemistry professor, the Director of the Wellness Center, a Campus Ministry Chaplain, Directors of Loyola’s Interdisciplinary or Quinlan Honors Programs, the Dean of the School of Communication? We have faculty, staff, current students, and alumni from just about every department, major, minor and program on-campus. That’s a ton of awesome people from the Loyola Community who will be around all weekend to answer all of your questions.

  2. You get an ALL-ACCESS PASS. Literally. It’s the only weekend the entire year when you can tour all 5 first-year residence halls, the Nursing Simulation Lab, the Engineering Science lab, a Chemistry lab, the Fine Arts Annex, the Newhart Family Theatre, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Campus Prayer Rooms, and Halas Recreation Center. This is, of course, in addition to our normal Lake Shore Campus and Water Tower Campus tours that are offered the rest of the year.

  3. Get ALL of your questions answered. Are you wondering … How do I make the deposit? Where can I study abroad? How do I register for classes & orientation? What do I do with my AP scores? What do the dining hall menus look like? Well we’re here to answer those questions. The day is filled with presentations (on topics like Next Steps, Financial Aid, Study Abroad, Off-Campus Student Life, etc.) to get you answers for any of those questions floating around in your mind. It’s a one-stop-shop to get it all taken care of so you don’t have to schedule multiple appointments or call/email different departments at the University.

  4. Figure out what that FINANCIAL AID Package really means. Don’t worry, you are not alone with this one. Understanding your financial award and responsibility is a tricky task, which is why we want to help you out with that during Loyola Weekend. Financial Aid counselors will be giving presentation and available to meet with you to answer your specific questions. Trust me, going to the presentation will be a life-changing and worthwhile decision.

  5. Meet other future RAMBLERS! Each year hundreds of students come to campus this weekend to get their first chance to really see what life as a Rambler looks like. It’s a great way to confirm Loyola is the best fit for you and make some new friends for your upcoming collegiate years. And hey, maybe you’ll even meet your future roommate, teammate, classmate, or even your future best friend!

Now that you’re dying to go to Loyola Weekend,
click here for a full schedule & registration!



Chicago Bucket List: 35 Things To Do

Chicago Bucket List: 35 Things To Do

Blog Post 36 - Photo 1

I recently saw an article trending on Facebook among my Loyola friends, titled “Your Loyola Bucket List: 50 Must-Do Things Before Graduation.” Inspired by this concept, I decided to adapt and modify it, creating my own beyond-academics agenda of “35 Things I Aim to Accomplish at Loyola.”  That leaves me approximately three and half years for me to finish my entire list.

Since first stepping foot on campus last August, I have been conscientiously immersing myself in a broad range of activities which have, thus far, culminated in an array of impactful* experiences, from interesting and informative to outright challenging, from to awe-inspiring and emotionally moving to deeply insightful, and from warm and friendly to just plain fun.  So some of the items on my bucket list, below, have already been checked off, with 22 to go.

  1. Live in an apartment with a lake view.
  2. Live in an apartment in the heart of Chicago.
  3. Pull an all-nighter at the I.C. and watch the sunrise over the lake.
  4. Attend a group fitness class.
  5. Go on a LUREC
  6. Witness the river being dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.
  7. Jump in the lake at the onset of winter, before it freezes
  8. Watch a movie in the Damen Cinema.
  9. Study in the Harry Potter Room.
  10. Attend a Hawks game.
  11. Attend a Cubs game.
  12. Rent a bike from ChainLinks.
  13. Take 8ride back to the dorms.
  14. Rush to ResNet for a computer rescue.
  15. Nap on the Victorian furniture in the Silent Room.
  16. Go to the Art Institute of Chicago.
  17. Eat cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather.
  18. Study abroad.
  19. Complete an off-campus internship.
  20. Go to a comedy show and concert at Colossus.
  21. See a performance by Loyola’s AcaFellas.
  22. Watch the Quidditch team play.
  23. Eat at Thai Spice.
  24. Try Ethiopian food at Ethiopian Diamond.
  25. Take a class that doesn’t have anything to do with your major or minor.
  26. Go ice skating at The Bean.
  27. Stand in the circle outside Madonna della Strada to hear the famous
  28. Meet Sister Jean.
  29. Walk on the lake when it’s frozen.
  30. Take a whole stack of cookies from the dining hall.
  31. Go to Felice’s Late Night.
  32. Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
  33. Visit the Field Museum of Natural History.
  34. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry.
  35. Visit the Adler Planetarium.


Image from:

The Growling Rabbit

The Growling Rabbit

One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is all of the cute and interesting café’s and restaurants around the city! This past weekend, a friend of mine and I found a cute café just down the street from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus called The Growling Rabbit! In this post, I will talk about my favorite things about this new gem in the Loyola neighborhood.

My friend Abbey discovered the café one morning last weekend and asked me if I’d like to check it out for lunch. Of course, I said yes, I would never want to miss an opportunity to try a new place! The Growling Rabbit is just a short walk North down Sheridan, not too far past the 7/11. When we got there, the first thing I noticed was the cool lime green color of the walls, and the steps down to get into the building. These unique features of the place automatically intrigued me to eat there, well that plus the food smelled amazing! The café was filled with really unique people, and the two tables next to us sat really friendly people who we chatted with a little bit! I loved how social this little place was, making new friends as we enjoyed the atmosphere.

We then began to peruse the menu. They offered a variety interesting and delicious-sounding breakfast and lunch foods, with a bunch of vegan options! I was especially in the mood for something sweet, so I ordered a fruit and honey crepe. Abbey ordered a vegan breakfast burrito. When the food finally came, I was amazed. My crepe was beautifully decorated and tasted amazing! Abbey’s burrito was huge, and she said it was delicious. The food was not too overly priced, and the service was quick and kind!

All in all, The Growling Rabbit is a great little gem of a place to get good decently priced breakfasts or lunches close to campus! If you’re looking for a new place to try, I’d definitely recommend it!

Defining Different Types of College Visits: Which visit is right for you?

Defining Different Types of College Visits: Which visit is right for you?


Enjoy your Campus Visit

30 Reasons Why We LOVE Loyola

30 Reasons Why We LOVE Loyola


With Valentine’s Day approaching and everyone talking about love, it only seemed appropriate to talk about what Loyola staff and current students have to say about their relationship with Loyola.

Here are 30 reasons staff and students love Loyola:

  1. The ability to go abroad to the Rome center. – Ellen
  2. The incorporation of social justice into academics. – Judy Kyrkos
  3. The small campus feel with access to the city. – Lexy Rux
  4. Being in Chicago. – Maggie
  5. The small class sizes; it really feels like you get one-on-one time with the professors. – Patrick
  6. Being on a beautiful campus with access to downtown. – Adam Buller
  7. Living in Mertz and the chicken tenders from Damen Dining Hall. – Katie
  8. The sense of community. – Ricky Mott
  9. The beautiful campus and social justice focus in all of my classes. – Kara
  10. The small campus feel. – Shaniqua
  11. How the core classes make us a well-rounded person. – Elise
  12. How self-aware the student body is. I’ve never encountered an impolite person on campus. – John
  13. The community feel, size of campus, friendly/welcoming environment, and small class size. – Christy Vargas
  14. How there are Vegan and gluten-free options in the dining halls. – Sarah
  15. Dynamics of taking class on the lake shore campus and downtown. It’s nice to experience the best of both worlds. – Claire
  16. Class sizes, pretty campus, and nice/passionate professors. – Carlee
  17. Diverse community. – Samantha
  18. Friendly environment on campus. – Brittney
  19. Approachable teachers who seem to enjoy their jobs and always want to help you do your best. – Gabby
  20. The view of the lake. – Shannon
  21. I feel safe on campus. – Adrian
  22. Loyola has always given me the opportunity to succeed. – Aaron Brunmeier
  23. The architecture of campus. – Brian
  24. The sense of community. – Aliyah Jervier
  25. I love that Loyola offers something for anyone and everyone who attends so that they can be a part of something and feel included. – Hiba Abbas
  26. I LOVE that every time I step outside and see our beautiful campus I get excited for my day no matter how stressful it is. – Lucy Mooney
  27. I love that Loyola has so many things to offer to their students. Whether it be information on study abroad, fairs talking about feminism, or tutoring for certain classes, Loyola does an amazing job providing us with tools for success. I think that since there are so many resources offered, any type of student can feel like this school is a perfect fit for them. – Katherine Weir
  28. Loyola fosters education both inside and outside the classroom enabling YOU to grow immensely. Upon graduating from Loyola in the spring of 2015, Loyola has taught me that the aim of my education is not the facts, but rather of values. –Joe Sadofsky
  29. How connected students are to the Loyola community. – Callie Short
  30. How Loyola shares the same values as myself. – Alyson Crutchfield

Happy Valentine’s Day from Loyola University Chicago!