As a college freshman, it is quite easy to become overwhelmed. The transition from living with one’s parents at home to living independently on campus can be a rough transition. Laundry piles up, homework needs to be done and friends want to hang out… It can all be terribly stressful and time consuming, which, unfortunately, pushes other things to the back burner. Students’ health and eating habits tend to suffer because of the focus they put on succeeding in college.
When asked if her eating habits have gotten worse since getting to college, freshman Emilee Gerk laughed. “Yes! I eat a lot out of stress, unfortunately. It’s my way of procrastinating.”
The unlimited amount of food students are allotted in the cafeteria is also a big factor as to why students feel that their diet is deteriorating. “I eat more at every single meal here and I have dessert way more,” admitted freshman Lexy Bieber. Bieber also commented on “social eating” as being a big influence on her eating habits. “I normally don’t eat chips, but if my friends are hanging out and offer me some, I’ll take them.”
Another hefty impact on student eating patterns is time. “When I’m crunched for time between classes I go for something easily accessible and already made, like pizza. I can’t spend time making myself a salad,” said freshman Grey Taxon.
Freshman Nic Sanders believes that although he has been eating less, he has definitely been eating unhealthier. “My weakness is the cafeteria comfort food section. I like that kind of food and it’s always so tempting,” Sanders said. When asked about the “healthy options” here on campus, the consensus wanted more fresh fruit and vegetable options. Freshman EJ Infante, however, pointed out the things the cafeteria was doing right. “In the dining hall they sometimes have gluten free options, and then there’s the salad bar. I think it’s pretty diverse.” In regards to the best or worst places to eat, Donnie’s Pizza got high marks. “I think that Donnie’s is probably one of the healthier places. Their home spun pizza has more vegetarian based options, which I think the cafeteria should have more of,” Sanders said. Cherry Berry was also suggested as a healthier place to grab something sweet, because it’s a better choice than regular ice cream. Finally, one of themore “greasy” places mentioned was Millikin’s very own Big Blue Bistro. “It’s just too unhealthy,” said Bieber.
Adjusting to the change of college makes it extremely challenging for students to be so health conscious. The convenience of the cafeteria is just too hard to pass up. Another change, however, needs to be made. Unhealthy eating can be a distraction because it hinders concentration and focus. Healthy eating promotes a healthy brain, which helps with students’ ultimate goal: succeed in college so they can succeed in the real world.