Editorial: Students need more options in dining halls

Baylor cafeterias need more Oreos.

OK, so maybe that’s not the healthiest option to help prevent college weight gain.

Baylor has four cafeterias in dormitories.

Penland Food Court offers the mall food court type of feel with plenty of options and late hours but not too high healthwise.

RFoC at Memorial brings some home cooking to campus.

Collins Café offers the healthiest choices of the cafeterias.

Finally, Brooks Residential College offers the Hogwarts setting with the community feel eating at giant tables.

Baylor Dining Services offers websites with helpful nutrition links and podcasts for more information on healthy choices, and also posts updates of campus dining hall menus weekly.

The site shows breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menus for the dining halls, including the available gluten-free options, which were increased in 2010.

Each cafeteria’s menu offers variety through the week for each day of the week.Students could easily schedule meals according to the information online.

Campus, however, is not limited to cafeterias but offers a variety of chain restaurants in the Bill Daniel Student Center, Baylor Science Building and Starbucks.

Baylor was recently named one of 14 colleges “leading the way” for gluten-free students. Only 36 percent of Baylor students eat in the on-campus cafeterias.

Students are encouraged to get online if they have a gluten-intolerance or are vegetarian or have other dietary needs and check out the menu for the dining halls throughout the week.

It would be much easier on these students if they could just walk into a cafeteria and find a section for gluten-free items.

For example, a student walks into a cafeteria for lunch during his break of 50 minutes in his schedule.

Upon asking about the gluten-free options of that cafeteria, he is told there aren’t any and is pointed in the direction of another cafeteria.

His time was wasted in the process and those behind him in line were also held up. If he spent 10 minutes walking to that dining hall, five minutes standing in line and now has to walk across campus to another dining hall, the student can be left with little time to eat before being late.

Now the student has to decide between making it to class and eating lunch.

It is important for each cafeteria to have a variety of options for this dietary issue.

Students without this issue have a variety of choices on the menu, so the cafeterias should provide as many options to those that are gluten-free or vegan so the limited meals for the day don’t add to the frustration of homework.

The Memorial dining hall is known as the best for gluten-free options on campus. They even have a grab-n-go refrigerator with completely gluten free options that students can access whenever they want.

Unfortunately, Memorial is not always open, leaving those students few options after hours. As for the vegans and vegetarians, more fruit options would be beneficial.

For those of us who aren’t vegetarian, fruit is always a good snack or side item. The apples, bananas and oranges are good, and it is usually possible to get some kind of fruit at the salad bar, but more variety would be better.

Instead of offering canned peaches, the cafeterias should offer fresh ones. Blueberries are a great option, as well as grapes and strawberries.

If Baylor is concerned with these fruits going bad, the cafeterias could implement a smoothie bar in each location.

Based on the popularity of businesses like Jamba Juice and Common Grounds, it would be safe to assume that a smoothie station would be a hit.

Best of all, the only extra things that Baylor would need to provide are blenders and more fruit.

All told, Baylor is doing an OK job of letting the students know what is being provided. It is possible to eat healthy, vegan and gluten-free, but Baylor could always do more to help students eat better.

Now, students, it is up to you to make the most out of what has been given to you.