Josh Whetzel/ The Mainstream
Shown are two graphs comparing the wants of students versus their actual consumption.

Student diet survey clears up misleading assumptions on college students’ eating habits

Most people assume that college students, in their newfound freedom, eat whatever they want. Students are, however, affected by accessibility and affordability. We wondered what college students eat, so The Mainstream surveyed 16 students at random. We used Canvas to message students in Writing 121, Journalism Production, and Writing for The Media, while also surveying students roaming the campus.

The majority of students (56%) said that they make their decision on what to eat based on what is convenient more than what is healthy. Grocery stores are the most convenient food source that students noted in the survey.

Sixteen students ate an average of 28% of processed food in their diet. Students’ answers ranged from under five percent up to 70% of diet being processed food.

Students during an average week said they skipped breakfast two times, lunch one time, and dinner under one time.

Approximately five times a week, students cooked their own meals (answers ranged from two to seven).

Out of carbs, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and fat/sugar, the food groups that students consumed the most during an average day were carbs and protein. The food group that students wanted to consume the most was fruits and vegetables.

About half of the students said that they leave campus to get food, while the other half do not. One student shared her thoughts on the topic.

“I know that hunger is a real issue here on campus, but I think a lot of students’ complaints would be fixed if they’d pack their own lunch. It isn’t an option for everyone, I realize, but it saves money and is a lot healthier (and more convenient) than running to the campus bookstore or a fast food place for every meal,” Katelyn Buxton said. “It seems impossible, but maybe instead of cutting the cafeteria, the people who manage the budget for this college should show more empathy for the students and staff and simply bring back the accessibility; cut funding somewhere else,” an anonymous student said.

What do students want for food options?

Josh Whetzel/ The Mainstream

“I would like an open cafeteria again or maybe offer more options in the UCC bookstore,” Caleb Werner said.

Photo provided by Jalisa Simons

“We need to reopen the cafeteria,” Jalisa Simons said.

Josh Whetzel/ The Mainstream

“More healthy/tasty options at UCC bookstore,” Ian Cormack said.

Josh Whetzel/ The Mainstream

“More fresh food options at UCC bookstore,” Selena Jackson said.

Owen Cherry/ The Mainstream

“I think a lot of students’ complaints would be fixed if they’d pack their own lunch,” Katelyn Buxton said.

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