The Dining Hall at State University is bustling with kids in sweatshirts and pajama pants. The make-your-own Belgian waffle line is long and students are complaining about the lack of forks. Phrases like “I got wicked smashed last night,” and “I really need a cup of coffee” can be heard around the tables. It’s typical Sunday morning on campus.
It’s hard to find something healthy, nutritious, and tasty at the university’s dining halls.
Students normally just go to the “caf” and choose whatever looks good to them, and the health effects really start to add up.
“That’s why I don’t have a meal plan,” said Jamie Cooper, a sophomore anthropology major. “Last year I gained 20 pounds. I was a vegetarian and I would load up on carbs and wouldn’t eat the vegetables because they wouldn’t look appetizing.”
The dining halls at Northeastern are managed by a company called Chartwells and not by the university itself. The dining hall offers a large selection of food, but the overwhelming majority of the food is starch and carbohydrates and loaded with fat.
Chartwells keeps the menu on a bi-weekly rotation of choices.
Some dining selections are a constant option while other main dishes rotate. Students can always get burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, pizza, salad, and some sort of pasta in Stetson East. Stetson West, a dining hall only open on week days, offers brick oven pizza and stir-fry daily. In both dining halls an assortment of high in sugar cereals are always offered along with a selection of dessert, ice cream, soda, juice, milk, and coffee.
After constantly eating in the dining halls many students become disgruntled with the monotony of the food selection.
“When I first got here I though the caf was awesome but a. .bulk when I can,” says Carter “when I have access to a car. I also try to cook things so I can eat more than once a day. Pasta is always good especially when you’re broke.”
For unavoidable life-on-the-go there are a couple fast healthier food options.
“The dining halls do have some pretty healthy choices,” he says. “The wraps and sandwiches are usually good, the Churchill dining hall has a grill and a great salad bar. The Wrap on Campus has a ton of healthier choices. Whole Foods is right around the corner and I haven’t found a better grocery store.”
Ellen Glovsky, a health professor from the Bouve College of Health Sciences agrees that eating healthy on a hectic schedule and tight budget may be a challenge.
“I know that students try to eat well but often are unsuccessful,” she says.
“It is possible, however, with some creativity and advance planning.”