From the Snack Shack to the cafeteria, Palomar students find guilt and weight gain rather than nutrition and stamina in the unvaried, unhealthy food options offered to them on campus.
Most students strive to make healthier choices than the day before each time they get out of bed in the morning. What they choose to eat and snack on throughout their busy school day is a crucial step in achieving that goal.
Wake up. Rush to class. Rush to work. Repeat. This is the unfortunate daily routine for many Palomar students. It is a never ending struggle to try to find time and money for a quick, healthy lunch or snack during nine hour school days, followed by an eight hour work shift. The gas money students use to get to class everyday leaves them with hardly enough spare change for the cheapest food item they can find to hold them over throughout the day. At best, a 700 calorie chocolate muffin from the Snack Shack or a bag of Hot Cheetos will suffice.
In a survey taken of Palomar students leaving the cafeteria, eight out of 10 of them say they have no time to prepare a lunch at home to take with them to school everyday between homework and other responsibilities.
So what is to be done? How does a student satisfy their health goals during a day at school without overspending, running late or venturing off campus?
The answer is: you can’t.
Palomar offers cheap, unhealthy snack/lunch options that leave you with an unavoidable feeling of guilt that have you scrounging for the spare change at the bottom of your purse and a hungry belly a few hours later.
“Sometimes I dread spending the day at school because I know I will end up ruining my diet, wasting money and eating bad,” said sociology major Marissa Mendoza, “I don’t want to go hungry so I just eat the cheapest thing I can find, unfortunately.”
Palomar can afford to stock its shelves with a ridiculously large variety of chips, candy and microwavable “just add water” lunches, yet they cannot tweak the menu options in the cafeteria to include reasonably priced, cooked to order options besides chilli-cheese fries and pizza.
Nobody wants to pay $6 for a salad that is the same size of the wallet that is left empty once the purchase is begrudgingly made.
Yes, there is an overpriced salad bar option. Yes, there is a Subway. According to NY Daily News, your “$5 footlong may be LESS healthy than a McDonald’s Big Mac.” Just a heads up people!
The grill that cooks the burger patties and fries could be used to cook up a lean piece of grilled chicken with a side of veggies for a reasonable price.
Palomar may have more options than other smaller community colleges, but if the options are unhealthy, there is no point in having them available in the first place.
The constant battle between your wallet and your health-conscious mind is even more exhausting that the hours you spend at school to begin with. With some thought and student consideration, Palomar must surely have a way to make minor changes to what is on the menu’s in order to make a major, positive difference for students and faculty alike.