By Sabrina Messaoudi
Eating healthy is hard these days. According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 17% of teenagers in the U.S are obese. Full-time students spend most of their time at school, which is why it is important that healthy food is reachable and affordable.
In a survey taken by The Chaparral, most COD-students eat at least 1-3 times a week at the school cafeteria. Many are aware of the importance of eating healthy, but say it is hard because food is too expensive.
71.4% agrees COD should focus more on healthier food for its students. College of the desert offers some healthy foods like granola bars, sandwiches, salads and smoothies. However, even these examples are limited in their healthy nutrients. A couple of lettuce leafs and slices of tomato do not raise the nutrition level in these sandwiches, nor does it make them much healthier. They still contain many oils, sugars, higher levels of sodium and additives to enhance the flavor.
It is not only about the calories in these foods; A research on Sfgate.com says: “Children who eat an unhealthy diet of highly processed, nutrient poor food tend to have lower test scores and more behavior problems than their well-nourished peers.” Bacon, Granola bars, flavored nuts, microwave popcorn, ketchup and frozen dinners are examples of highly processed foods that are sold at College of the Desert.
Calories do affect more than some people know. Consuming lots of calories can not only make you overweight, but it can also have serious effects on the brain. According to an article on Belmarrahealth.com, calories can affect your learning ability and memory. Many of the foods sold at COD have a high level of calories, which only causes students to be more tired in class and have a harder time memorizing stuff.
So is it not the student’s’ responsibility to eat healthy, by bringing their own lunch to school or choosing to buy a banana instead of fries at the school cafeteria? Fresh fruits seem to be scarce and if there is so much other filling temptation, can we really blame a student for choosing a burger over an apple?
57.1% of the students says they do not even like the food served at the beep’s cafe and 76.2% says it is too expensive. Basketball player Taylor M Felder agrees, “The food is too dry and bland, no flavor really, and it is expensive, especially the drinks. Also, everyone should be able to get free refills. We live in the desert and it gets hot,” thus Felder.
College of the Desert has made some efforts to inform students about eating healthy. They have affiliated with the Student Health 101 Magazine. The magazine offers different healthy recipes and many articles full of tips on how to be healthy. However, only 19% of COD-students that filled out the survey, say they actually read it. Many of the students had never heard of it.
The school should be more involved in student health and support it by encouraging students to buy healthy foods. The only way for this to happen is by changing the menu and make healthy, fresh food more affordable.