Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

College Lifestyles

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College is definitely an experience of a lifetime. Not only does this separate students from others, having them fight for a chance in life, but it also is the first step to most individuals living on their own. 

I have many friends, on and off campus at The University of Toledo. Regardless of who they are, everyone has to eat. Some have meal plans, while others buy food. My experiences of watching my friends cook are very interesting and show just how different college is for everyone.

First, there is my friend Hannah. She lives on campus, has a meal plans and also gets money for food. She is very lucky because she has many choices to fit her mood and timeframe. If she is running late, she can either grab something from her room, or go get food on the way (either at a dorm or restaurant). If she has more time, she can cook, or do whatever she chooses. This makes it very easy to eat what she wants and when. The only problem with this is that she does not always choose the best food options because of the constant eating out. This creates an unhealthy balance each day.

Second, I have my friend Samantha. She does not have a meal plan because she lives off campus. She goes grocery shopping about once a week and cooks every night. Since she is such a good cook, she always has balanced meals and food that tastes good. The problem with her busy lifestyle of working and going to class makes it hard for her to have the time to cook. This results in two possible situations: either her not eating for the majority of the day, or her eating at like 7 am and 11 pm, not the best ideas for her body.

Next is my friend Amanda. She lives on campus and has a meal plan. She does not go out because it is expensive and she eats most of her meals at the dining halls. This makes her have multiple choices and cuts down her expenses. On the other hand, the dining halls are only open certain hours and she also has to allow enough time in her schedule to walk to the dining halls.

Last, I am going to talk about my lifestyle at college. I live on campus in my sorority house and do not have a meal plan. I go to the grocery store about once every two weeks buying a few items. Since I am paying for all my food with my own money, I am cheap. I buy fruits, vegetables and that’s about it. I always have a loaf of wheat bread to make toast in the morning and sandwiches throughout the day. I usually never have pop, milk or other drinks because it adds to my cost. I am not saying this is right and I know I need to drink milk, but when I can not even finish a half gallon before it expires, it is a waste. Since I am not rich, obviously because I am in college, I like to rely on FREE meals. This cuts down my expenses and also makes me feel like I can eat more for my buck. They will sometimes get stuff in the house, also around campus for events and leftovers from other people. Basically, I have toast or a breakfast bar in the morning, something I can find such as a sandwich or soup for lunch and pasta or whatever is cheap for dinner. Now I know I could eat a lot better than this but can I afford it…NO. I still have my fruits and veggies, don’t eat chips, and stay away from sweets.

I hope you have a better idea of college students now. Everyone is different and has different needs throughout college but we are all similar. Next time you go talk to someone in college ask them how they eat and it may surprise you.

Torie Nicholas

  1. You bring back memories for me when I shared an apartment with 3 other girls during college. I remember eating lots of white rice with soy sauce – very inexpensive! Try it, but get brown rice instead.

    1. Nicki, good luck with your college-aged cooks. Please continue to share your experiences with us — always looking for new ways to educate people in eating healthy and we both know college kids need some help.

  2. About the milk-going-bad thing. I’m lactose intolerant and soy isn’t really the best option for me due to other health issues, so I buy the lactose-free varieties (Lactaid being the primary brand, but most stores have their own brand, too, which can be cheaper). Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, the awesome thing about this milk is that it lasts a lot longer than regular milk (surely something in the processing), up to a month, usually. Because of this, my mom (who doesn’t drink milk often but does like to have it around when she wants it) has switched to buying the lactose-free milk and eliminated the waste involved with having milk spoil so soon,

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