College food

by Kyle Leahy Walsh

I think most college students are frequently under pressure. We have classes to attend, assignments to complete, group projects to coordinate, exams to study for and many students also work while going to school. When it comes to food, most stressed out students want food that’s fast, easy, tastes great and is as inexpensive as possible.

Unfortunately, these types of food are usually not so good for you. Most fast foods are filled with high amounts of sugar, fat and salt and are pretty low in nutrition. Many fast food meals like a bacon cheese burger, fries and a shake can be between 1,000 and 2,000 calories! According to a 2014 GrubHub analysis, the top 3 foods ordered by college students are:

  • Pizza
  • Fries
  • Wings

Is there a way to make better choices even when eating fast food? It can be tricky to follow a healthy diet when you regularly eat fast food. Finding a healthy, well-balanced meal eating mostly fast food is a challenge. However, there are always fast food choices you can make that are healthier than others.

If you order a pizza, make it plain cheese and skip the toppings like pepperoni or make the toppings vegetables. If you order a burger, skip the cheese and the bacon and if you have to have the fries, make it the smallest size possible. You might try to have a side salad instead. If you want wings, get the plain ones instead of the breaded ones. Don’t have a double cheeseburger when a single with extra lettuce and tomatoes will be better for you.

It’s a good idea to try to not to guzzle sugary sodas or energy drinks because they are very high in carbohydrates. Have water or unsweetened tea. Another great tip is to watch your portion control. Try to look up nutritional values on your cellphone (it only takes a moment or two) before ordering to really understand what it is you are about to consume. I found a really great website with great tips that seem doable to eat healthier fast foods. (www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/healthy-fast-food.htm)

There will always be students who simply like what they like, want what they want and choose what they choose. They will not be coaxed into eating foods they are not fond of whether they are healthier for them or not. The bottom line seems to come down to the fact that people are the ones who have to make healthier choices for themselves. You can’t make people to do something they don’t want to do. Hopefully students will be more aware that there are healthy options available, in addition to the great foods we all love.

It’s OK to indulge your cravings, but just try to remember that moderation is the key to success!