Make nutritious choices easier

A nutritious diet is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Especially in college, the benefits of good nutrition are some of the biggest keys to success and survival. Overall, healthy food makes us feel better and boosts energy, aids memory retention and protects us from illness. A college campus is also one of the most difficult places to access healthy food.

While we commend Washington University Dining Services and Bon Appétit for their efforts to encourage healthy eating by offering more wholesome food options, launching campaigns such as “nutrition tip of the day” and posting nutritional information on their Web site, we think that they should take this one step further. When hunger (or class) looms, most students do not have the time to get online, thoroughly research the healthiest options for an on-the-go meal and make an informed choice on what to have for lunch. That said, we think that Bon Appétit should post these facts at food stands around campus.

While it is certainly our personal responsibility as mature young adults to take charge of our eating habits, it is also our right as consumers to have easy access to the necessary information to make good choices. We deserve to know what we are eating, especially since there are many items on campus that are unnecessarily loaded with extra fat. For example, it is impossible to get a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In order to enjoy this treat, one must indulge in PB&J slathered between two slices of banana bread. Some facts are not available at all, such as fat content added by the oil used on the various grills at campus eateries. If Bon Appétit is ashamed of the facts behind the french fries, then they should not be serving them in the first place.

Implementation of this information can be environmentally friendly. Permanent items can be posted on a main sheet in dining halls or near food stands such as Whispers Café, and the facts about daily specials could be posted on the same sheet of paper that announces those specials. While this may not be the best marketing strategy for Bon Appétit, they are contracted and paid by the University to serve students, and they make a lot of money from this campus. The money from our meal points goes into Bon Appétit’s pockets regardless of whether we spend meal points or how.

We deserve a more convenient means of accessing these vital nutritional facts, and we hope that the University will encourage this step toward more informed consumption.