By Sally Ann Moyer
Busy college schedules mean that eating sometimes comes secondary to studying or other activities.
“The eating patterns of students over the years have become more varied, with the number of daily eating occasions and the times of day they eat both growing,” Brett Perlowski, director of Baylor Dining Services, wrote in an email to the Lariat.
Baylor Dining Services acted to rectify this problem in the fall of 2004 by introducing continuous service at Collins Café and late-night residential dining at Memorial Dining Hall.
The late-night dining moved from Memorial to Penland Food Court in the fall of 2008.
“The original idea came from surveys and focus group feedback from students,” Perlowski said.
Since then, counts during both service times have continued to grow.
“Penland on average does as many people during the 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. window of service as it does during the normal dinner time — over 800 nightly on average,” Perlowski said.
Increasingly, late-night service has replaced dinnertime for students.
Lawton, Okla., freshman Mecia Lockwood said she eats at late night almost every night because she gets hungry later at night after eating a later lunch.
Killeen freshman Tonee Shelton normally eats her dinner during late night.
“I just sleep during the day, and I usually go to the gym pretty late so this is the only thing open still,” Shelton said.
She said when she wants to go to sleep determines how late she will eat her dinner.
While dinnertime has shifted to later hours, lunch remains a priority as both a break in the day and important time for social interaction.
Perlowski said noon to 1:30 p.m. is generally the busiest time of day.
“Lunch is by far the most popular meal – on average in the spring we have been right around 3,700, with counts for breakfast around 1,200 and dinner close to 3,000,” Perlowski said.
Lunchtimes are also beginning to shift to later times.
Eating lunch after 2 p.m. has become a normal schedule for San Antonio freshman Bianca Hernandez.
“For me, it’s mainly just if I have time,” Hernandez said.
She tries to develop her class schedule on allowing herself time for meals, but sometimes other commitments get in the way.
“It’s rare that I skip meals, but if I’m really busy I will. It depends on meetings,” Hernandez said.
Lockwood said she prefers eating with friends but will choose hunger first.
“If they’re not hungry, then I just eat anyway,” Lockwood said. “I can eat whenever. Sometimes I get granola and eat throughout the day.”
Lagos, Nigeria, junior Denola Adepetun purposely develops his eating schedule around his friends’ availability.
“It’s more sporadic,” Adepetun said. “I don’t have a set time here because I’m in school. It’s more like when my friends are free to eat.”
Later meal times have resulted in students snacking throughout the day to sustain themselves.
Adepetun also eats snacks in class or on the way to class sometimes.
“I only do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays when classes are longer, to sustain myself between classes,” Adepetun said.