Baylor needs more affordable, healthy food options on-campus

Hannah Holliday | Cartoonist

Eating at college can be difficult—with the majority of students eating on a limited budget and a tight time schedule, the easiest option often seems to be grabbing a bite at Chick-fil-A or Steak and Shake in the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB). But students shouldn’t have to forgo healthy eating for convenience and affordability.

Healthy eating can lead to academic achievement in students, according to a CDC study. The document, titled “Health and Academic Achievement,” said that the “lack of adequate consumption of specific foods, such as fruits, vegetables, or dairy products, is associated with lower grades among students… Healthy students are better on all levels of academic achievement: academic performance, education behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that nutritious meals will produce better grades. For lunch, a balanced diet of vegetables, whole grains and fruit was recommended. However, this may seem like a difficult meal to find on campus and in-between classes.

Students should be able to prioritize their diets without having to take the extra time or spend the extra money to eat healthy. If you look around campus, you can find plenty of different food options. However, for students looking for a healthy meal, it can be hard to find any at all.

Currently, the SUB is home to Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Freshii, Common Grounds, Steak N’ Shake, Heritage Creamery and Slow Rise Pizza. Additionally, there is a Moe’s Southwestern Grill, Au Bon Pain, Which Which and Starbucks located in different buildings around campus.

Freshii seems to be the only healthy vendor on campus and is steeply priced compared to the rest of the options. If you look at their menu, they offer a variety of healthy foods—including a number of salads, wraps, burritos, soups and make-your-own bowls filled with grains, vegetables and proteins. But these health-conscious foods come with a steep price compared to the rest of the vendors on campus, with most products averaging around $8.

While you can still find a semi-healthy options at some of the other vendors such as a salad or a veggie sub, many of these vendors mostly sell popular products such as chicken nuggets, french fries and noodles. Additionally, many of these popular items often come at a much lower price than fresh produce would cost.

The lack of healthy options available on campus could be affecting the academic performance of students. There are too many fast food vendors, and not enough ways for students to eat healthy while on a budget and time crunch. The three newest additions on campus are the Steak N’ Shake, Heritage Creamery and Slow Rise pizza, and while these may be popular fast food options, none of these vendors can provide students with the necessary nutrients for a balanced, healthy meal.

Baylor should work to add more health-conscious vendors on campus and better prioritize students’ diets, while keeping their wallets in mind too. Not only will this benefit our bodies, but can help improve our overall well-being and performance in the classroom.