Hungry for better, healthier food options

By Caleb Hennington
On February 6, 2014

Picture this scene: It’s 12 o’clock on a normal weekday. You just got out of your 11 a.m. class and want to grab a quick lunch.

You have the All Flex Meal Plan this semester so most of your meals are eaten in the Student Union food court.

You walk into the court and immediately face a mob of other hungry college students packing in, trying to get their own meals before their next class.

You survey your options: Chick-fil-A? Quick and delicious, but you’re watching your calories, so that’s a no.

Howl’s Grill or Godfather’s Pizza? Not unless you want to finish your meal feeling like Paula Deen’s armpits.

Lobos Rojos? Too gassy.

Jump Asian Express? Come on, we’re talking about food here.

It seems your only option is to grab a “fresh,” overpriced low-cal sandwich or wrap from the Sodexo Simply To Go selection, which is located at the back of Chick-fil-A, just past those fresh, crispy chunks of chicken meat.

It’s safe to say A-State lacks any sort of resemblance to a reasonably priced, healthy food option in the food court.

And for a majority of active, healthy college students enrolled here, that’s a problem.

Most of us probably have the same thought go through our head every day: “Okay, today I’m going to avoid the fatty, greasy foods and eat something healthy!”

But just one whiff of a smell that appeals to the fat person that lives inside and we’re right back to eating processed, blubbery garbage.

But is it really our fault when our food court fails to provide students with a healthy alternative?
According to a study conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, most college students fail to consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

In fact, most college students aren’t even getting one serving of fruits and veggies a day.

Another study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University shows many college students routinely skip meals during a day, which could account for the lack of fruits and vegetables in their diet.

So what’s the solution to the food court conundrum? One word: smoothies.

Smoothies offer a great way to get all the nutrients, vitamins, fruits and veggies your body needs, all in one easy-to-drink bottle or cup. Not to mention the fact that (most of the time) they’re delicious.

ASU already offers a great smoothie option in the campus store, Coca-Cola’s Odwalla brand. One 12 oz. bottle of Odwalla’s Original Superfood juice blend includes at least two servings of fruit right there in one tiny bottle.

And if we’re looking at adding a healthy option to the food court, one idea pops into my head over and over again: a smoothie bar.

Smoothie places offer a variety of healthy smoothie options, including supercharged drinks filled with cancer fighting antioxidants and even great food selections like flatbreads, wraps and sandwiches.

I can almost promise that adding a smoothie bar to the food court would attract all kinds of students, both the healthy and the unhealthy.

And while we’re at it, why not move the Odwalla smoothies a little closer to the food court, perhaps by placing them in the same area as the Simply To Go items, Powerade and water?
Healthy living can’t be achieved unless the means to attain it are readily available and that won’t happen until A-State does something about this problem.

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