What should I eat in college? The experience of Margherita Bianchin

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Trouble. Prejudice. Sometimes even fear. Italians are very attentive to food, the quality of products and what they eat. Right, absolutely right, but often the food issue in the States is exaggerated a bit. To give you some more info, to tell you about a direct experience and provide you with some gastronomic suggestions, we asked Margherita Bianchin, our former student-athlete at St. John's University (New York) and Florida International University (Miami), beach volleyball player of the Italian national, and professional very attentive to nutrition, to make a general overview of her food experience in the United States.

Food is an expression of the country in which we find ourselves, it is a cultural, identity issue, and for this reason, to live a 360 ° experience, it must be tried, it must be tasted, because those flavors, those aromas, will remain in it as it has. Margherita confirmed, happy reading!

We live in a historical period in which talking about food becomes increasingly the subject of controversy. Dietetics is an area that is rapidly gaining ground thanks above all to the development of certain social networks such as Tiktok and Instagram. Not only doctors and dieticians post their precepts, but also fashion bloggers, food bloggers, personal trainers and influencers who simply want to tell their story. It often happens that, in addition to being a source of inspiration for many, they are also the involuntary cause of bad eating habits on the part of their followers. Having said that, in this article I propose something new and original. Here you will find many ideas and advice on how to eat once you arrive in your new "home", the American college.

The information you will find is not the result of university studies and does not present itself as rules of life to be taken literally. You will not find magic formulas to lose weight or gain weight, rather the experience of a former student athlete who lived between New York and Miami and experienced cuisines from different cultures. I will tell you how I managed to enjoy a "new" food while taking into account that performing in the field is a priority and a lot depends on how much healthy food we introduce into our body.

I still remember the smell of freshly baked bagels when I passed the bakeries in Queens, New York. A kind of donut-shaped sandwich that I loved to fill with salmon and Philadelphia or with peanut butter and banana. My favorite brakfast before entering the Carnesecca Arena and doing an intense workout. And the donuts? The answer is yes, they are just like the donuts that Homer eats. And when you walk into Dunkin Donuts to buy one, you can't leave the store without having at least one American coffee with milk

When you have settled in the new continent, you will also hear about a debate that still remains unresolved among Americans: New York pizza (very fine and very large) or Chicago pizza (very thick and with abundant tomato sauce)? I know you will answer… Well, Napoli pizza! But trying new versions of this mainstay of Italian cuisine is a must and I highly recommend it.

If you pass through California, try the In-N-Out burgers, a fast food considered by Californians (and me) to be far superior to Mc Donald's. And if you are a cheesecake lover, you must stop by Cheesecake Factory and have a slice of chocolate cake, as big as your face!

I still seem to feel the softness of corn bread in my hands, a sweet sandwich that my teammates prepared during the thanksgiving period together with the famous turkey with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.

For us Italians, food is not just fuel, the energy we need to carry out daily tasks. But it is conviviality, an opportunity to create friendships, new experiences and knowledge of different cultures. For this reason I have suggested some American dishes that, in my opinion, reflect very much their desire for sweet, their frenetic pace, their culinary culture. By tasting these dishes, you have the opportunity to feel a bit American too.

The advice I give you, however, is to try these things a little at a time, to dilute them over time. Many successful athletes prefer a strict diet, and it is partly thanks to this that they are able to perform at the highest levels. This does not mean never indulging in a "cheat", in that, as I have already stated above, there are some dishes that deserve our attention. It's all about eating a balanced diet and getting back into the day's energy consumption. Do not forget that you are in America thanks to your physical and sporting skills. If you try all this food the first month, you risk regretting it and living this experience badly.

Generally, the states where I think you eat the healthiest are Florida and California. This is because they are highly influenced by the Hispanic culture. Rice, chicken, avocado, beans, maduros, platanos and salmon are all suitable foods for a student athlete. However, if your college is in states other than the ones I mentioned, do not be afraid. This is just my personal opinion and the healthiest options are available in all colleges. Do not forget a fundamental aspect: many athletic departments provide their athletes with the advice of a dietician and my advice is to use him/her as much as possible. To know how to follow a correct diet in America, there is nothing better than to inquire with an expert who knows indigenous food and its properties well!


Appears in Athletics Home: