Correction: This story has been modified from its original version. — The article has been modified from its original version to reflect a typographical error in the headline. The Collegiate Times regrets this error.
A monster cinnamon bun smothered in warm icing for breakfast, a meat-packed sandwich for lunch and London broil with mashed potatoes topped with gravy for dinner — the diet everyone wishes they could live off of without growing a lovely muffin top that pours over those jeans.
For all the wonders that face college students while away from home, the lack of parental supervision is a huge change. With no one telling students to eat breakfast before morning classes or consume all their fruits and vegetables, new dorm-dwellers’ diets are often lacking in nutritional value, causing them to pack on the inevitable “freshman 15.”
It may be easy for students to grab Pizza Hut at Hokie Grill on the go, or a croissant from Au Bon Pain in the Squires Food Court, but for the amount of calories in those quick snacks, they should be nipped in the bud before consumption becomes a regular habit.
Zachary Rahm, a junior computer science major, said between school and a job, he doesn’t have time to think twice about what he eats or the calories his meals contain, so he simply grabs what he can. Rahm’s attitude is like almost every other student, where jam-packed schedules and convenience outweigh healthy choices.
With the best campus food in the country, Virginia Tech’s dining centers provide a vast array of food ranging from the classic burgers and sandwiches to Chinese and Mexican cuisine, and even organic, locally-grown food choices.
The collection also includes many tempting items, such as cheese-heavy pizzas and pastas, desserts and sauces that often are served over steamed vegetables, whole-wheat options and fruits.
Using tools made available by dining services and student programs, students can proactively make better decisions when it comes to what they eat.
Administrative Dietitian Jenny Lindsey said all foods can fit into a healthy diet, but it is important to know which foods are indulgences and which should be meal staples.
“Students should be looking at the calorie content of food but they also need to watch the fat and sodium content,” Lindsey said, citing an example: A side salad from West End Market has 308 calories, but contains more than a quarter of the daily fat value and 35 percent of the daily sodium value from the cheese.
“I do think that some people don’t realize that foods that have been fried or have sauces can be much higher in calories than they realize,” Lindsey said.
Senior biology major Melissa Yates said she doesn’t currently search for food facts online, but has in the past. However, she does make an effort to eat well.
“I try to eat yogurt and fruits,” Yates said. “And I get a salad every once in a while, too.”
Yates’ balance is the type of behavior Lindsey encourages — understanding that a well-rounded diet includes all the good foods but still accounts for splurging on occasional brownies and French fries.
For a balanced, healthy diet Lindsey listed a few key points students should keep in mind: Eat whole grains and nine servings of fruits and vegetables, select low-fat meat and dairy products, limit sugar consumption and pay attention to how foods are prepared and prepped for hidden calories.
For more information on healthy foods, visit the YES Web page and Tech’s nutrition blog.