Hungry for Healthy

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Published on October 22, 2014

Who would have ever thought you could gain “The Freshman 15” without even living on campus? Well, it’s indeed possible if you are eating daily in the cafeteria at HCC. Who doesn’t love a burger and fries with a sugar filled beverage on the side? However, some people prefer healthier options on the menu, and they are hungry too!

Many students really only want one thing, and that’s options. There is nothing wrong with fast foods.   T hey are accessible, ready to go, and so are we. As students we are always balancing time, rushing from one class to the next so, it’s hard to find time to have a decent meal while on campus. So, it’s understandable why the cafeteria serves the food selections that are available.

Yet, that does not mean that students are content or completely satisfied. After all, we do pay to attend HCC and theoretically no one is coming here for free.

For example, burgers, bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, french fries and fried chicken are all common popular choices for students. Although yogurt, fruit cups or salads are also sold, there is still a limited selection. Salads and fruit cups are pre-made. So, students who have allergies or personal preferences are left to buy things that may not be as suitable. For instance, I am allergic to strawberries, which are normally one of the main ingredients in fruit salads. Most people would prefer to choose what is in their salad or even what kind of dressing they want. We shouldn’t have to be robbed of that choice.

So shouldn’t we have a say on what we are spending our hard earned money on; if we are indeed choosing to spend it on campus?

Felicia Mitchell, a Communications Major at HCC stated, “I would prefer not to eat on campus at all.”

While everyone is entitled to choose what they want to consume, the choice of what we are going to eat is sort of already being made for us. We are given limited options, therefore, the probability of eating and buying healthier foods is fairly low.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, fast foods are known to increase your blood sugar, cause unbalanced hormones, reduce energy, cause headaches, sleepiness, nausea, and the list goes on. These side effects not only can affect your health, it can also affect your behavior, alertness, attention span and ability to be a productive student.

One problem with fast food is that it has no nutritional value. But a balanced diet is necessary in order to be healthy.

HCC student Ashley Welfare thinks that “students usually buy unhealthy foods because they are cheaper and not necessarily because it’s their preference. And eating unhealthy isn’t anyone’s first choice, but sometimes it feels like the only option depends on someone’s financial status.”

This is true because some families find it more affordable to purchase a meal from the McDonald’s dollar menu rather than buying groceries from the Whole Foods Market, which can be very pricey.

In the mean time, we have an opportunity to take advantage of this simple issue by implementing changes to the lunch menu that will accommodate everyone at HCC. During a class session, a classmate stated that other colleges and universities have open salad bars where students can build their own salads instead of eating the pre-made ones. Similarly, we can achieve the same.

Since we are a smaller institution, we could start with a bi-weekly or twice a month trial. That way business will not be affected with any loss of money that could occur. In fact, it may build an even larger consumer base.

We could also go as far as having a “Green Thumbs Club,” where students can plant vegetables and form a community garden on campus. If we wanted to see if this problem is really worth implementing a change, then we could have an anonymous poll where students can vote on whether or not they are being affected, as well as if they want something to be done to change our food selections. The possibilities are endless.

It is up to the students to decide how much it matters to them. If we can all agree that a  change is necessary, we can move forward to learning in a health conscious institution, that is not only invested in our minds but our bodies too.