By Alicia Green
When you think of college one of thoughts that come to mind is whether or not the food will be good. For the most part, it is. Most students come to college on a meal plan. Being able to eat pizza, French fries, hamburgers, and other junk food on a daily basis is almost every college student’s dream. College students love the idea of going away to school and being able to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want. However, meal plans can be just as harmful as they are beneficial. Student must wonder whether their meal plan is a friend or foe.
The first week of college you enter the dining hall excited to indulge in all the different foods you can eat. You imagine all the deserts sitting on the desert table awaiting your arrival. You make your way around the different areas set up with food. Where will you start first? You grab a plate of steaming hot pizza off the platter and head for the drinks. Your choices are mostly soda and juice so your first instinct is to choose that. What you don’t know is that there is water, but it is not as noticeable as the other drinks. Now you have made your way to a seat with a group of friends. By the time you are done eating, you are full. The food was great.
It’s a week later and the food in the dining hall is the same. By now you are tired of eating the same meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Where is the change? At first you thought the idea of eating pizza every day was fun, but now you are over it. Meal plans are not as awesome as you thought they would be.
In college, having a meal plan is essential to your life. Your meal plan helps you survive. Most freshmen do not have stoves or microwaves in their dorms so a meal plan is the most convenient. A meal plan usually gives a student a certain amount of meals to eat every week. Once the week is ends it starts over. Meal plans allow you to have at least 2-3 meals a day.
Although a meal plan allows you to eat, it also can be unhealthy. Freshmen’s have a fear of gaining the freshman 15 when they enter college. The freshman 15 is an idea that freshmen pack on about 15 pounds during their first year of college because of alcohol consumption, and fast food and fatty foods provided by their university. There is also the fact that the meals tend to remain similar from week to week. The dining hall staff tries from time to time to switch it up, which usually means adding another kind of unhealthy meal.
Meal plans are not all that bad. Colleges try their best to accommodate people with alternative eating styles. If someone is a vegetarian they can ask for a special meal to be made for them. The same goes for someone that may be allergic to a type of food or may have diabetes. If you tell a member of the cooking staff about your health condition, it is most likely that they will make a meal based on your preferences. Although the dining hall may be filled with more fat and carbohydrate foods, there are still healthy foods to find. In most colleges the cafeterias and dining halls have salad and fruit bars. It may not be as big as the other food areas, but it is there.
For a large amount of college students, moving away from home into a dorm means little to no home cooked meals. There is no more traditional cooking from their parents or grandparents every night or on the weekends. All they have to eat is repetitive college dorm food, which can be dull.
If you are college student and live with a meal plan life can be pretty simple or difficult for you. Of course getting away from home and eating whatever you want is great, but at what risk? A meal plan is a like a nemesis, you can never beat it or overcome it. You can try your hardest to refrain from eating the meals offered to you, but you will succumb to hunger.