Every day, hundreds of students line up in the Hamilton “Ham” Center for a hot plate of food to take to class or to enjoy after a long day. Unfortunately for many, the Hamilton Center does not have the widest array of options for those who are seeking healthy, affordable choices. What may be kept in the dark, however, is that there are courses of action to be taken for those who are not completely satisfied with their meal plan.
The Catalyst recently put out poll on student experiences with healthy eating at New College. Out of 78 respondents, 73 percent live on campus, 61 percent prefer to cook for themselves over using their meal plan, 80 percent are not entirely satisfied with the options provided to them by Metz, 91 percent consider healthy eating to be important to them right now and 52 percent feel that attending college can occasionally be challenging to a healthy lifestyle.
“They [Metz] have nutrition facts but they are very deceiving like they will only tell you the amount of saturated fat in a particular food item they won’t tell you about fat that is not saturated,” first-year Lucy Dunn said. “Also what it says on the list that they put online is not necessarily what they are serving and I feel like that is really deceptive for the parents, and for me coming to this school, I looked at the meals ‘that they were putting online because I am not from Florida, I came from Virginia.
People’s parents are thinking that their kid is going to have a certain amount of options and if they aren’t there they should be taken off [the website] or they should start serving what they say they are going to serve.”
Salua Rivero, a first-year transfer and vegan, also shared her thoughts about maintaining healthy eating habits while attending school and also working part-time.
“Meal prep is what helped me the most to consistently stay vegan, and then knowing what restaurants around my area are vegan, or have vegan options,” Rivero said. “The most important thing that I learned was to make it a habit […] I would get home and immediately start cooking before I even did homework, I got it into a routine and that is what made it super easy.
“I sometimes don’t want to eat at the Ham Center because they have mostly greasy foods like the pizzas, the burgers, things like that, and they have the salad bar which is great but it is expensive so I usually refrain from that, I wish it was more accessible”
“I like to stick with plant based foods, I don’t like a lot of salt and oil and stuff so Metz is hard because usually all I want to get is salad bar or go to Boars Head and get snacks,” second-year transfer Shannon Collins said. “In terms of big meals, there is some stuff but not a lot, it’s part of why I chose to live off campus this year so I did not have to pay for the whole meal plan.”
Collins also expressed her preference for the buffet style offered at the University of Texas, as opposed to paying for individual items, while also acknowledging that we do not have the same amount of resources as a smaller institution.
“Things that they know that they don’t publicize, that I am going to publicize as food service rep, is that they use a green light, yellow light, red light system in terms of the salad bar. The things in the green bowls are the best options, according to Metz, then the yellow light foods with are healthy but you want to eat them in a little more moderation than the green things, then the red bowls are the ones you are not supposed to eat as often,” third-year and Food Service Representative James Nunez said. “The salad bar has upped their game, they have made those options more enticing which they should be because they are healthier options but they are also very expensive because they charge by the ounce I believe it’s 50 cents per ounce so it is quite expensive.
“With the Metz pizza deal you can get two pizzas and a coke and something else for six dollars versus if you were trying to get the equivalent amount of calories from in food from the salad bar you are looking at 12 dollars which is discouraging if you do want to eat healthier.”
Speaking to his experience as a Food Service representative, Nunez said, “Oftentimes, the problem lies not in them, or even New College, or the specific chapter of Metz, but the fact that Metz works for a large corporation and they have guidelines and rules they have to follow […] But, there are these meetings that Metz holds once a month or every two months where they chef provides demos or samples of things that they are looking to put on the menu or take off the menu and you can voice your opinions.”
“You can talk to the chefs, talk to Bill, but I don’t think many students are even aware of that. The meeting is meant for students to come and chat with them and tell them their opinions so one thing I am looking to do is to maybe make those more frequent, and obviously better advertised.”