It’s that time of year. Everyone from four-year-old pre-kindergartners to aging graduate students are headed back to the classroom. But it’s college freshmen who are notoriously challenged with maintaining a healthy lifestyle after leaving the nest and striking out on their own.
The website Greatist recently released their list of the 25 healthiest colleges in the U.S. They ranked schools by scoring them in the categories of dining services and awards, fitness facilities, health services, happiness, rankings, and health and fitness initiatives.
Here are the creme de la creme–the top ten healthiest schools, determined by Greatist, based on dining hall menus and sustainability of ingredients, dorm satisfaction, club and intramural sports, fitness class offering, and campus acreage. Read on to find out if you or your student is headed back to school at an institution that boasts exceptional food, fitness facilities, health services, health and fitness initiatives, and happy students.
Source: Greatist “The 25 Healthiest Colleges in the U.S.”
The Princeton Review gave Bowdoin’s dining services the number one slot on their “best food” list for their delicious and wholesome meals. Bowdoin also has an impressive line up of student fitness classes at The Wellness Center including yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong. The relatively small school also emphasizes integrative medicine, acupuncture, massage, and reflexology.
Stanford’s students have more than 8,000 acres of gorgeous campus to enjoy the outdoors. Dining halls feature seasonal, natural foods without artificial additives (preservatives, colors, flavors, and sweeteners). The school recently instituted a 10-Weeks to a Fitter You program, giving students access to fitness coaches for personalized assistance in getting fit fast. Stanford also has one of the coolest club sports teams: dragonboat, a team water sport consisting of 20 paddlers, one drummer, and one steerer.
Virginia Tech created an incentive program to get students moving. Students keep track of workouts–created by personal trainers at the rec center–to win fun prizes including a free personal training package, a group exercise pass, or a free fitness assessment. The school’s dining hall serves up quality, healthy options like char-grilled tuna Nicoise and artisan pizzas with tomato, fig, and balsamic, or sweet potato and onion. In 2009, the “Y.E.S. (You’re Eating Smarter) to Go” program was instituted for healthier grab-n-go options at one of the campus’s convenience stores.
The Princeton Review ranked Rice as the school with the happiest students. Dining halls are known for their healthy and flavorful vegetarian options such as marinated tofu with jicama, yucca fries, turmeric potatoes, and chickpea masala. The school also boasts the best intramural sports with offerings like inner tube water polo.
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University not only serves, but teaches students about healthier eating with its Studio40 kitchen, a hands-on program with healthy cooking classes and chef demonstrations. All classes and demos use fresh, sustainable food and menus focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The school’s South 40 Fitness Center has extended hours so students can get workouts in around their busy schedules–morning, day, or night.
Brown’s dining services contain everything from a crepe bar with fruit to a full line dedicated to vegetarian, vegan, and locally grown food. In 2011, the school was awarded a “real food pioneers” award by the Real Food Awards. Brown also snagged the number two slot on Trojan’s 2012 sexual health report card for it’s accessible sexual health resources. Students gave positive reviews of the health center for condom availability, health awareness programs, and STI testing on campus.
Wheaton serves healthy food while also making sustainable choices. The school’s dining services creates coffee ground and eggshell fertilizer for Wheaton’s greenhouse, and food scraps are given to a local pig farm. Fresh, made-from-scratch food is created by Wheaton chefs, who produce yogurts using milk sourced from a local farm, hand-crafted burgers made with local beef and turkey, and pizzas topped with locally-sourced, hand-grated mozzarella cheese.
Cornell is committed to giving students lots of good, healthy food options. The “eating well” apple icon on menus designates whole-grain, trans fat-free, low-fat, low-sugar, and reduced-sodium options. Cornell contributes to Mother Earth’s health too: In 2012, their dining services recieved a STARS gold rating for sustainability. For a treat, students can enjoy ice cream made from milk produced from cows at the school’s dairy farms.
University of Massachusettes, Amherst
UMass Amherst offers of the moment fitness classes including Tabata training, P90X, and reggae-tone. The school also has a 10-week class, UFIT, designed to help students shed a few excess pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The class offers a positive environment with peer motivation and discussions on exercise, nutrition, and healthy living. Dining hall menus at UMass look more like high-end restaurants than run of the mill cafeterias. Some of the delectable choices include barley roasted tomato risotto, crabmeat quiche, curried chickpeas and quinoa. They also have a sushi bar and vegetarian station.
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr residential facilities were given the top spot on the Princeton Review’s “dorms like palaces” list. The women of Bryn Mawr dine like royalty too. The dining department offers delights like pesto pea salad with pine nuts, chili Brazilian carrots, and Caribbean bean salad. They also hold sustainability dinners with dishes like cream of wild mushroom soup, roasted root veggies, and quinoa salad. The school’s Fit Club also encourages healthy activity with free group exercise classes and community events such as the Cycle-a-thon benefit.