Healthy food choices available at UCC

Cafeteria doing made-to-order

Because college students juggle school work, jobs, relationships and many life stressors, often healthy eating is not a priority. So how can a starving college student make time to eat healthy and keep their growling stomachs from embarrassing them in class? With a few life hacks, including a little planning and preparation, eating healthy can be fun and manageable.

As an added benefit, February is National Heart Health month. Learning to make heart healthy food choices today can lead to a healthier and longer life.

Fortunately, UCC offers many healthy eating choices.

“Often what’s cheap isn’t healthy,” said Melanie Bonney, executive chef and general manager at Loggers restaurant in the student cafeteria. However, Bonney tries to overcome that obstacle. “We offer fresh food at fair prices.” For busy students, the cafeteria offers grab-and-go protein snacks such as nuts, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and cheeses. Berkeley Wellness Center, of the University of California, notes that cheese “is a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLS), a fat that may have anti-cancer, weight-reducing, and heart-protective effects.” Bonney sells made to order eggs and breakfast burritos, muffins, and biscuits with gravy. For lunch the cafeteria offers two varieties of soups and chili, a salad bar full of fresh veggies and a burrito bar. Pizzas come in flat bread and gluten free options. Veggie burgers come in four varieties: all bean, black bean mushroom, taco style or Italian. Made-to-order entrees are also available. Loggers will cook eggs with only the egg whites, an option that lowers cholesterol. “We aim to please and are happy to prepare special order menu items,” Bonney said.

Loggers is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The UCC Bookstore is also expanding their healthy foods and snack choices. “One of our goals is to increase our variety, especially healthy grab-and-go items,” said Debbie Niebaum, food manager and ordering specialist.

The bookstore carries a wide variety of healthy snacks and meals including organic oatmeal, whole wheat bagels, nuts, apples, carrots, Odwalla 100% juice smoothies, protein shakes, V-8, Lean Cuisine meals, deli fresh sandwiches and Amy’s brown rice and vegetables. Some of the grab-and-go snacks include Rocky Mountain popcorn, apple and coconut chips, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and a variety of cheeses. Heart thrive bars are vegan and wheat free.

Currently, Niebaum is working on getting approval to use EBT cards for food and drinks. Other colleges have that in place, and UCC expects that to be happening soon. The store also has a microwave and offers free paper plates, plastic ware and paper cups. Students can bring food from home and use the microwave anytime during business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

UCC student Kaya Maliglig preplans her meals to bring with her to campus. She prepares them once a week, refrigerates them, and puts them in individual servings so they are ready to go each day. Planning ahead saves her money, stress and time. Preparation such as this can help students resist unhealthy choices with empty calories when their stomach starts complaining.

Healthy eating increases energy, improves mental clarity, and promotes heart health. Since “heart disease is the leading killer in America for both men and women,” students should know it is preventable. College students can benefit from fueling their bodies with food that will sustain them while keeping their heart healthy. When students choose to eat healthy food before they’re starving they will prevent those embarrassing stomach rumbles before they turn into a snarling student resembling a foraging beast.

Bookstore working on getting approval to use EBT cards for food and drinks