By Nathanael Check
The Parkhurst cafeteria at Franciscan promotes healthy eating habits among students. Many students find that cafeteria food is unhealthy, but this is not always the case.
There are many aspects of the cafeteria that suggest healthy eating habits. When the structure of the food service at the cafeteria is looked at as a whole, it does not seem so unhealthy after all.
For starters, there is a dietician available to help students plan their diets and build healthy eating habits.
There is the availability of fruits with each meal. If a student can put a dessert on his plate at every meal, he can just as easily plate a piece of fruit with it.
The cafeteria usually provides bananas, apples, grapes, oranges and more! The fact that both fruits and desserts are present at every meal indicates not that the cafeteria has little regard for how students eat, but rather that Parkhurst does not take it upon itself to rigidly enforce how students eat.
In other words, college students are adults who can make decisions. This is proof that the cafeteria helps build healthy eating habits, since the choices that students make now will help form their eating habits in the future.
Considering how important these formative years are in regard to healthy eating habits, it is very reassuring that the cafeteria takes great care to ensure that students do in fact build healthy eating habits.
Just as there is a wide selection of sodas and juices, so there is water, milk, tea and coffee. The point is this: the wide availability of so-called junk food does not mean that it is all there is to eat.
The fruits and dairy products are locally sourced, so you can also feel good about the fact that by eating them, you are supporting local farmers. And that is something to be proud of!
If you get in line for food at the cafeteria, chances are you will be faced with one or two meat options, another couple of vegetable and greens options and around three different starches to choose from.
Sometimes there is beef, other times pork or chicken. All of these meats are packed with protein, which is good for you!
Vegetables are also very nutritious. Every cafeteria lunch and dinner has a vegetable available. They are prepared fresh by the chefs in the kitchen for the well-being of the students!
If these stations fail to build a healthy plate, the soup and salad bar downstairs can be of help, as can the trusty Clean Plate station. Both of these reliably provide healthier options than the general fare.
The salad bar has a wide variety of greens and other healthy plant-based options.
Soups served in the cafeteria are very hearty, too. They can provide a filling meal and satisfy your weekly recommended sodium intake.
Does this strategy guarantee a healthy plate at every meal in the cafeteria? Sadly, not always.
There may be times when unhealthy food seems to be unavoidable. Nevertheless, it is possible with some extra effort to utilize the cafeteria’s many amenities ordered toward healthy student eating.