“What’s for dinner?” Unfortunately, I now associate this question with disappointment.
No matter the day of the week, the time of the day, I find myself eating the steamed vegetable, the not-so-grilled chicken, and if I am lucky, the random vegetable stew mixture. I consider myself a healthy person. But, not always is it my personal choice to be healthy. I have a dairy and gluten allergy, along with an intolerance to white rice, white corn and white potato. As you probably guessed, these ingredients are used in most things. Whether its as a base, a preservative, or in there just for kicks, I find myself with very limited options. Struggling with this, I rarely eat in the dining hall. I make weekly Walmart runs, and while still trying to manage my tuition payments, the Walmart bills do not help.
Approaching the Dining Services with my dilemma, they have kindly said that if I request my meals, stating my allergies, they will prepare my food specifically for me. Although this gesture is beyond generous, I still find myself eating the same foods, three times a day, unsatisfied. Food is fuel. I live a busy life. I am taking more credit hours than the average student in hopes of completing a Spanish minor aside my nursing major, I am involved in my sorority, I volunteer with my church and on top of that I have two jobs.
Skipping meals, fighting hunger pangs and carrying granola bars around with me cannot be healthy. Not only in the dining halls are there a few options, but walking through the C-Store I find myself leaving with a carton of soymilk and a bruised apple. What is my solution to this daily issue? Better food options.
How do we decide what are better food options, and how to get them? Variety. Listening to those who do not have as many restrictions as I, they do appreciate the different categories of foods that seem to rotate each week. But, I think if we took into consideration the consistent burgers, sandwiches, and pizza that are available, and switched them with healthier, more versatile options, more people would be able to eat. Now, the cost of purchasing food at the dining halls or C-Stores on campus is about 2.5 times the amount of money off campus. This is wasteful, sneaky, and not ethical. If we sold our food at price value, or kept the prices and increased the quality of the food, we would be eating healthier, feeding more people on campus, and saving money. I understand that the school needs an income, but what better way to keep kids on campus than to provide good food? Macomb is surrounded by farms and local businesses. We would be doing our local economy a favor purchasing their organic and naturally grown foods.
I have hope that one day I will be able to walk through the dining hall, create a salad with fresh romaine and spinach (not slimy and brown), read the menu to find more than one option and not have to pay for three times the food I am getting.