"Healthy" campus food choices ignore those who want a balanced diet

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

If you’re spending a lot of time on campus, there’s a pretty good chance you’re also spending a lot of money at on-campus eateries, whether it be the Wave, Spoke, Centrespot or whichever building your classes are in.

The high price of food is nothing new, but it’s almost always avoidable by opting for some of the cheaper options on Western’s campus. Instead of a combo, you can drink water and just get a burger or a sandwich. Rather than blowing your cash at Pita Pit, you could opt for an inexpensive bagel at Tim Hortons.

Certainly, it’s possible to eat inexpensively on campus. The problem is it’s impossible for students to do so healthily.

I’ll concede one thing right off the bat: I’m definitely no expert on nutrition; I’m writing only from the perspective of a student trying to stay healthy.

I’ll also admit it’s not tough to get a decent serving of vegetables, protein or carbohydrates. You can get a tuna sandwich or a garden salad on campus for as little as $4 and a bagel is not likely to run you more than $2.

That makes the situation manageable for those looking mainly for a proper dose of vegetables " it’s not too expensive to get a salad, so in that regard it’s easy to eat healthily. You can even add in some carbohydrates if you want something a little more substantial.

A good diet consists of more than an overload on vegetables, though. Not everybody on campus is trying to slim down, and anybody who tries to bulk up on vegetables and carbohydrates alone is probably my size " tiny.

For students on campus trying to gain weight " good muscular weight, not just another layer to their beer belly and a fat injection to their cankles " it’s next to impossible to get a decent dose of protein along with a healthy serving of vegetables.

Food services may cite sandwiches and wraps at places like Tim Hortons, Pita Pit and Williams as healthy options, but two leafs of iceberg lettuce aren’t going to help significantly. The same goes for a salad from Harvey’s " I want to see real vegetables, not water-logged leaves.

The addition of the Salad Bowl in CentreSpot is an improvement " its salads and wraps generally include some form of protein. However, the portion of meat or chickpeas in a salad is almost negligible.

As such, it seems like the only real option is something along the lines of a chicken or tuna salad " or perhaps a yogurt on the side if you’re vegetarian " and that’s going to run you at least $6 or $7 before even adding any carbs into the meal.

The result is anybody who wants an operational digestive system, a reasonable amount of energy and the necessary protein to maintain their muscular system is left out in the cold.

Western’s food services claims to provide fair-priced, healthy alternatives to eat on campus, but it ignores anybody on campus not looking to lose weight.

You might be able to find a healthy meal on campus for a decent price, but if you want a balanced meal you’re going to have to open your wallet. That needs to change.

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