Temple students and staff line up each day to sip their favorite morning beverage as they rush to their 8:40 am classes.
Shortly after, hovering under the 12th Street Food Pad Vendors, the outside dining area near Anderson Hall, those same people grab slices of pizza or wait for their large containers of high cholesterol vegetables submerged in greasy noodles.
Dozens of food trucks and huts line the streets of Temple. From the Mike’s Steaks truck to the Hot Pretzels and Best Fresh Ground Coffee hut, these dining options provide plenty of flavor but little nutritional value. The sole purpose is convenience.
The Temple community should not have to sacrifice its waistlines to these establishments. Thus, Temple Dining Services offers more food options. Jeffrey Browne, marketing director for Sodexo, said that in October 2008, Sodexo will launch a new program to help students eat healthier. This plan is called the “Balanced Way.”
The Balanced Way will offer fruits, vegetables, protein and grain. Each Balanced Way dish will contain a total of 600 calories.
“Students will know that they are getting the best food because we follow all the safety regulations and train staff,” Browne said.
Browne said he wants to ensure that every student has a great dining experience on campus.
The Louis J. Esposito Dining Hall at Johnson & Hardwick halls has a double-sided salad bar, a dedicated vegan station and expanded menus. Additionally, the Valadia S. Walker Food Court at the Howard Gittis Student Center has new additions this fall. Browne explained that students can make better choices by grabbing a fruit cup, salad or pre-made sandwiches.
Sophomore Alia Days said the renovations have not changed her eating habits.
“The vegan burgers are good. The place looks different, but the food tastes the same. I kind of wish they offered more,” Days said.
Even with the new additions, lines at the Burger King in the Student Center will still probably exceed those at Wrap Up, the newly renamed wrap station.
Other than Temple, most local vendors and lunch trucks do not offer an array of healthy foods, let alone vegan or vegetarian dishes. Among all those food trucks there are only two fruit trucks. Even still, fruit alone does not create a balanced diet.
Browne explained that food trucks are not the competition. The mentality of the students is the real road block to healthy eating.
“Students don’t understand the importance of breakfast. Sodas and coffee is not great either because of the sugar intake and the lack of exercise. The info is there, but [students] have to break habits,” Browne said.
When it comes to providing more nutritious foods, Temple’s Dining Services win. Although, those silver trucks still appeal to student’s appetites, evidenced by the long lines of students crowding around them.
College students or faulty members who are rushing to class or work may not have the time to sit down and eat a nutritious meal.
Nevertheless, carrying a water bottle instead of a bottle of soda or buying a few apples instead of a bag of chips seems to be a healthier way to snack.
Trenae McDuffie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.