Courtesy of the Wellness Center As we reminisce on our childhood, the thought of LEGOs comes to mind. The classic Danish toy has had an effect on the lives of children everywhere, allowing them to build whatever their tiny hearts may desire through interlocking plastic blocks. As a more hands-on approach, LaGuardia Community College’s Wellness […]
The dining room is bustling. Purchases in hand, students and faculty are headed to enjoy a meal after a long lecture. Breakfast sandwiches, coffee, pizza and burgers alternatively fill the aroma of the cafeteria. Some have a seat and enjoy their meal; some speed and eat on their way to the next class. This is the LaGuardia rush.
Most college students and faculty have to face it when deciding on what to eat. It is a race against the clock to find nutritious food and have the time to eat it. LaGuardia Community College has an array of food to choose from but with the current prices on “healthier” choices and lack of time it leaves very little options for the students.
While some are caught up in the rush of school there are those who, despite having a general knowledge of healthy eating, either determine that the cost is too much or would rather go with what tastes better.
Cost is on the minds of lots of students, especially those who pay bills in their house and cannot justify spending a little more on a potentially healthier option such as a parfait ($3.95 plus tax) when they can get something cheaper such as a burger($2.50 plus tax). “Sometimes I want to buy a yogurt or fruit salad but it is too expensive” says Aissa, a student at LaGuardia.
Although the burger is the less expensive option, some of the cheaper options can be worse as they do not hold the same nutritional value one could get by eating something healthier and less processed. It can be hard for students to balance it all out and some are less aware than others of the contents of their food.
When thinking about college the struggle is focused on students who have to navigate their way through classes, but often forgotten are the professors who also have limited time to ponder on what the next meal is as they make their way to a classroom to give a long lecture.
Professor Tina Rupcic finds herself in the struggle with students as well when it comes to eating meals while at LaGuardia. Rushing in between classes to teach with as little as fifteen minutes to make it on time, sometimes coffee is the only thing to get by on. “Plan to be busy,” says Professor Rupcic, if one wants to navigate through the rush of school. Professor Rupcic also encourages students to look online to get a better understanding of the food they consume as change starts with the self and can ultimately change a system.
Professor Rosann Ippolito, Program Director of the Food Management Program at LaGuardia, has made efforts to inform and educate students on nutrition and food. “People have a sense of what healthy foods are but don’t follow that advice.”
The Nutrition department at LaGuardia holds events in October with MBJ Food Services, the company that provides the food in the cafeteria. Events such as the Hunger Banquet help students understand food insecurity. It explores food based on income levels in different households to raise awareness of how income affects the type of foods people consume.
The Food and Nutrition department also contacts Rogowski Farms to set up a stand in the E-Atrium to let students and faculty purchase organic, non-GMO vegetables that are completely free of any pesticides. While browsing the various vegetables, students and faculty are fascinated as some of the vegetables on the table are completely alien to them such as blue potatoes, Japanese turnips, dinosaur kale, and kohlrabi. Farmer Cheryl Rogowski, who brought some of the produce, says this reaction is quite common.
By becoming more self-conscious about what exactly goes in our bodies and organizing to help with busy schedules, students would be able to navigate their way through the daily dilemma of choosing the next meal and ensure it will be a healthy one. It starts with knowledge of what is in the food we consume. As once we know, it allows students to make better decisions on what they choose to waste their money on. “Whatever you put inside of you it becomes a part of you,” says farmer Rogowski, who advises students to develop a better understanding of what process is used to grow the food we eat as it will end up in our bodies.