Nutrition: It’s what’s for dinner

DKS Editors

We’ve all heard of the “Freshman 15,” those 15 pounds students gain during their first semester away at college. But unhealthy dining choices and poor nutritional habits aren’t just limited to freshmen.

Need proof? Take a look at the dining options on campus. You’ll see a lot of pizza, hamburgers and french fries but not as many healthy alternatives. With those kinds of choices, it’s hard not to gain weight.

But that may soon be changing. Thanks to student feedback, Dining Services is beginning to add new, healthy food options to menus around campus.

The changes include more vegan and vegetarian choices, as well as gluten-free bakery options and food without preservatives. Prentice Café and Eastway will also be offering a service called Veggie A-Go-Go, under which students can order vegetarian food for pickup.

These changes are a welcome sight to our eyes. It’s good to know people will have the choice to eat healthy on campus instead of settling for dinner at Sunset Strips or Pete’s Arena on a nightly basis, and we’d like to see students take advantage of some of the new options.

Yes, we know students are stretched for time, and unhealthy options are faster. But with obesity continuing to grow nationwide, it’s important that we develop healthy eating and exercising habits in college. Otherwise, that Freshman 15 may turn into a Senior 60.

And we’re not saying students have to become vegetarians or vegans in order to develop a healthy lifestyle. That’s certainly not true. But eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean eating a salad every night. It could be as simple as eating a salad instead of a cheeseburger and fries one night a week. The university is making healthier options available, so it makes sense to take advantage of them every once in a while.

It goes beyond diet, too. The rec center is available for all students to use at a great price — free — so why not amble over there a few times a week?

Students aren’t alone in the responsibility to eat more nutritiously, of course. The university has its own responsibility to continue to make healthy options available to students.

Sure, it’s good to see the university making strides in offering healthy eating options. But Dining Services can’t stop there — nutritional choices on campus need to grow. And don’t limit it to tofu and salads; there are a lot of different vegetarian foods out there, and the university should make them available.

College is a time when we tend to excuse unhealthy eating, but it shouldn’t be. Maybe these new choices will make it easier for students to be healthier during their college years.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.