Opinion: Healthy dining is not always budget-friendly

Matthew Olienechak

Matthew Olienechak

With a new semester once again upon us, I have found myself lumbering around campus and getting used to the new changes made in my absence.

New dining choices are to be expected, and the HUB did not fail to deliver on that account.

However, I must admit that I was surprised to see The Slice, something I consider to be a Kent State staple, replaced by Grazers. 

Though I initially lamented that I would never again taste such strange concoctions as a cheeseburger pizza, I was willing to give this new cuisine a go. While the chicken wrap I ordered was all right, it sure as hell wasn’t worth $10.

This Grazers takeover is just another example of affordable dining options on campus giving way to more expensive, “healthier” alternatives, and these changes are happening everywhere you look.

Even the humble Prentice Cafe has switched to a primarily gluten-free and vegetarian menu.

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I do think that we as a society need to focus on better eating habits.

But, as it stands, the healthier options are also the more expensive options.

Take the chicken wrap I had for lunch as an example: If I had decided to take the money I spent at Grazers and go to Taco Bell instead, I could have gotten ten potatoritos.

While such a meal might not necessarily be the best choice for me or my digestive track, it’s the decision I would make if I had to make that $10 last.

I might not be in such a predicament myself, but there are plenty of others who are; consider students who can’t afford the better meal plans or commuters trying to save some money.

They are all affected by the rising price of eating on campus, and even those who are better off will eventually start to feel the squeeze.

And it isn’t just the take-out places that are becoming more expensive. College staples like popcorn, chips, bread and microwave meals are all being replaced by less cost-effective options.

You can’t even buy cream cheese anymore. Believe me, I checked every market for it. 

Even if you are not likely to struggle with these higher food prices, I would still recommend you contact Dining Services and speak out for those who will. You can call them at 330-672-2541 or email them at [email protected]

Ask them to make sure affordable eating options remain on campus alongside the new, healthier options.

Who knows, together we might just prevent a few skipped meals.

Matthew Olienechak is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]