Whether students have food allergies or a small pocket, they should plan ahead to maintain a healthy diet.
For most students on Main Campus, the food options seem endless. Whether you pig out at the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, grab something quick from the Student Center cafeteria or stop at one of the many lunch trucks on campus, it seems there’s a never-ending supply of fast food.
But fast food results in fast cash and ends up leaving students like myself completely broke by the end of the week.
I find myself not only broke, but choosing unhealthy options to satisfy my hunger between classes as well. When I get hungry, I usually want something high in calories, such as french fries or potato chips, and being surrounded by the often-wonderful smells of what so many other people are ordering only intensifies the craving.
Although a tasty bagel with cream cheese may be satisfying to the stomach and wallet, it’s not always the best option.
Joe Davidson, a sophomore accounting major, is a devoted lunch-truck eater who said he stops by Eppy’s on Montgomery Avenue beside the Student Center every day for a quick snack.
“I try to make healthy decisions,” Davidson said. “But there are just not a lot of healthy choices around here.”
At Student Health Services, nutrition consultant Nicole Patience works with students who have food allergies, preferences or intolerances. She also assists students who are experimenting with vegetarianism or who want to lose weight.
“The biggest nutrition challenge for students is finding creative ways to incorporate the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day,” Patience said. “It’s nearly impossible without planning ahead.”
Chloe Tomlinson, a junior urban studies major, eats at the Student Center every day for lunch. Tomlinson said she thinks the few healthy options available to choose from are “not as healthy as cooking your own food.”
The prices in the Student Center food court are also high for most college students – a Yoplait yogurt alone is $1.61 – especially for Tomlinson, who pays with cash every day.
Tomlinson faces a food-option dilemma because she is a pescetarian, someone whose diet includes fish but not meat. Considering there are not many seafood options at the Student Center, she regularly gets soups, wraps or pizza for lunch. But these choices do not provide enough of the essential vitamins necessary to one’s daily nutrition.
For students who have eating issues – whether it’s celiac disease, vegetarianism or just picky eating habits – options are drastically lowered when it comes to eating on campus.
With limited options, students’ routines usually include eating the same unhealthy foods each day.
I have been a vegetarian for six months, and I have learned it is not an easy lifestyle to maintain at college, especially if you’re using a student meal plan. Eating a tomato-mozzarella-and-basil flat bread from the Student Center every day was not satisfying my nutritional needs, and I quickly felt the repercussions.
When I went to Patience for help, she offered a great list of low-cost vegetarian options on Main Campus, including lentil soup from Anna’s lunch truck, vegetarian cheesesteaks from Richie’s, a bean burrito with roasted vegetables from the Student Center and egg-salad or falafel sandwiches, which are sold at most trucks.
As for students who eat gluten-free, luck at the lunch trucks and other on-campus eateries may be limited, but the cafeteria at J&H cafeteria offers many alternatives.
Temple may not have many options, especially for non-traditional eaters, but planning your meals ahead of time, researching cost-effective options and scheduling an appointment with a nutrition expert like Patience can all help lessen the on-campus eating blow.
Lauren Hertzler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.