By Jessica Doran
The age-old dilemma of winter is upon us. With each day we are approached with the fight between staying inside and getting out and being active. In addition to this, we are comforted by foods that give us warmth during the cold months in Schenectady.
But with the New Year comes the resolution to be healthier. This means that in addition to going to the gym more, students are more conscious about what they eat every day. Whether there is a conscious decision made to eat a particular way, or just to be healthier in general, it is definitely noticeable that Union students are making an effort in this department.
When one comes to college, it is often the first time that they have to make major eating choices for themselves. A lot of us have been fed by our parents, eating whatever they’ve given us, for years. Having to make healthy choices rather than being guided by a parent is a big change for a lot of kids. There is no major incentive at Union for healthy eating, so it is impressive to see that students do often think about their options for healthy living.
O3 is a staple of the Union college diet. Let’s be honest, their cran-mayo has to be one of the best condiments that tastes great on everything! The line for the 03 station at common lunch has been extensively long for the whole first week of school. Because organic options are generally thought to be a lot more beneficial for our health than some other options, this is a notification that Union is considering their health more.
But are these organic options really enough? Is replacing a white wrap with a spinach wrap really that much of a difference? The answer is no, but the fact that students are even considering these options is a step up.
The Ozone café that is held on Fridays is also a major hit, as it always has been. Students from differing areas and interests on campus find similarity in absolutely loving the food offered at the café, that not only gives a break from the normal dining services food, but offers tableside service, even if it is difficult to find a seat. Gail Yen ’13, who helps with the Ozone Café says, “We truthfully love serving the students. I am always so excited to tell my friends what will be on the menu each week.” Ozone is different, and variation is always key, but it is true that not everyone loves it, and it may not be as healthy as we think or want to believe.
“Personally, I don’t like Ozone. Mac and cheese can’t really be healthy no matter how you cook it, and sometimes the food is just not good,” says Nicole Georgelas ’13. Obviously they cannot please everyone, but other students on campus certainly could share this sentiment, which is even more of an incentive for variation and choices.
The sushi station in Reamer has also offered a lot of variation for the staples of the Union college diet, but it is my belief that other options really need to be taken into account.
First off, the salad bar in Reamer should be stocked better each day, with more green options and toppings that are more appealing than some of the standard and old vegetables.
Stress is also a major factor in the eating habits of college students. Because of this, the school needs to pay better attention to the eating options available for late night snacking.
Options like Rathskellar, which are open late most nights are not the healthiest. I suggest that there should be late night food that is healthier, and if an open eatery isn’t feasible, then there should at least be vending machines with snack packs of vegetables and low calorie options should be placed about campus: in the library, Wold Center, and even Reamer. This would be an extremely feasible venture, monetarily, and would do a lot for the snack options around campus.
Off campus options can be somewhat of a different story. There are plenty of healthy restaurants that offer high quality food, but you must have a car to get to these places, which is often an inconvenience for students. Still, I would suggest trying to get off campus every so often in order to get out of the everyday food routine.
Another option is the Schenectady Green Market, which is in place year round. During the warmer months, the Green Market takes place outside near Jay Street but in the Winter, it is housed in Proctors Theatre, offering seasonal fruits and vegetables in addition to some year-long staples such as homemade peanut butter and other goods. It is truly even close enough to walk to on a warmer day in the winter.
“The Green Market has lots of fresh quality foods at prices comparable to supermarkets back home. That is why I go nearly every weekend” says Sarah Pollack ‘16.
So let’s not fool ourselves. When we are trying to be healthy we must be honest and truly consider the nutritional value of what we eat. Everyone would like to see this motivation continue at Union. In light of the New Year, people are being more aware, and keeping up this awareness is key.