Battling the ‘Freshman 15′ is tough fight

Battling the 'Freshman 15' is tough fight By Guest Commentary It's everywhere. From unlimited buffet meals to stocked vending machines, college students have their eyes set on food � and it's just getting worse.

As a college freshman, I've noticed the trends being the common "Freshmen 15" lingo. Constant exposure to various types of high-fat foods, endless times to eat, and a wide range of food choices bombard students.

We are simply surrounded by food. It seems as though everywhere a student goes, food will be there with them. While food may be used for comfort and social gatherings, it's gotten to the point of exhaustion. Students are gaining weight on a daily basis.

According to ABC News, students, on average, gain 0.3 pounds a week.

With a little incentive of wanting to know why food is being served everywhere, I did some research at USD. It's all about serving students around the clock. Bottom line, it's about using college students to make a very large profit.

"Nutrition is second to taste," Coyote Student Center Director Rick Haught said.

Well said. When it comes to eating, tastier is better. No longer does nutrition come first in priority. And what's tastier than a Snickers bar at 10 p.m. after a long day of studying? According to ABC News, one factor of weight gain among college students is snack foods consumed during the night hours.

So whatever happened to the good ol' fashioned cafeteria where students come in for three complete meals? It seems as though that was yesterday, and today's trend is composed of constant snacking all day. Charlie's, Lakota, Bump, and the U-Brew are all extra food stops for students to spend their money.

ABC News says that the more options people have, the more they eat.

"We attend to the demand of students, to get what they want and when they want it," Haught said.

What are the demands of the students? Common French fries and burgers are one option, but there's more: Chicken sandwiches, stir-fry, pasta salads, grilled-cheese sandwiches, pizza, desserts, soda, coffee, salad drenched with high-fat dressings, and the list goes on and on.

However, while these foods could be served in a more nutritional fashion, campus food is usually prepared in low-cost efficient ways. The deep-fried method is the most common.

Haught said that cheeseballs are sold a lot, simply because it's cheese that is fried and that it doesn't get much tastier than that.

So for students who are on diets, what are they supposed to do?

"We offer a wide variety for students to pick and choose what they want to eat," Haught said. "Students can create their own meals from the stir-fry and pasta menus."

That's a good start, but what about more to choose from? Students say they want more options, and USD says they are doing just that. But the only options they are getting are high-fat, high-calorie food. They haven't seen anything else to choose from.

I took a look at Aramark's (the world's largest dining service and USD's contract partner) food survey that is distributed every year to students. Questions concerning the quality of the food, service, etc., were all on there.

When it came to a question about the health aspect, it was generalized. Healthy food could mean several different things to different students. Organic food is among the healthiest to eat, but that choice isn't offered. The problem is that Aramark isn't showing what else is out there. USD should investigate on what is truly nutritious for the human body, and do its earnest effort to provide such a selection.

However, it's all about making money. "Organic foods are cost prohibitive," Haught said.

Aramark is a profit organization, which means they do what sells. And what sells these days are tempting, delicious foods that college students crave.

But the real question comes down to what will happen in the next generation to college students. Until drastic changes occur within the meal department on campuses, the number of overweight students will begin to take a turn for the worse.

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