Everyone grew up haunted by the chilling tales of the fearful freshman 15. It is spoken of so frequently that many consider the unhealthy college lifestyle inevitable, but does it have to be?
NYU dining provides a wide range of choices between the 16 different dining hall options, including vendors like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. However, students question whether the plethora of choices cater to a healthy lifestyle — or simply contribute to the freshman 15.
CAS junior and President of the NYU Restaurateur Club Deniz Basusta sees room for improvement in NYU’s offerings.
“I think there are healthy options, but I wish there was more variety,” Basusta said.
While places like Maoz in Palladium and Olilo Mediterranean in Marketplace at Kimmel offer balanced meal options, these vendors are directly next to more junk food options such as burgers and fried food.
“I certainly think that there could be a larger emphasis on a balanced meal,” Basusta said.
Our knowledge of a healthy diet comes from various places: the food pyramid taught in elementary school, our parent’s cooking back home or even wellness influencers on social media. For college students, however, information about a balanced diet in the physical dining halls could be more available and effective.
Using residence halls as a platform to educate students on nutritional, healthy diets is an idea that SPS sophomore and Secretary of the Restauranter Club Stephen Jin supports. Jin attributed unhealthy eating on campus to the availability of fast food.
“It’s the idea that you’d rather grab a pizza than make a salad for yourself,” Jin explained.
He advised NYU dining to trim down junk food and place healthier options, such as fruits or nuts, in its place.
“More or less it’s more of making healthy options more convenient to the students,” Jin added. “Because a lot of times they do have the healthy options, but it’s so much more time-consuming than eating the junk food.”
Besides fast food, the ease of grabbing an unhealthy snack — a bag of Doritos or a Snickers — isn’t helpful either.
“I’ve been to some other universities, and I’ve seen their dining hall layout,” explained Basusta. “In their dining halls, there is not one thing for sale by the door when you’re xswiping. And here, it feels like every single dining hall, they try to get you to buy some [snacks].”
In his opinion, it feels like NYU is simply trying to push for profits instead of attempting to educate about healthy, balanced diets.
On the other side, CAS first-year Janu Tatachar believes there are no barriers to eating well on campus.
“There is a salad bar every day, so you always have the option of getting that,” Tatachar said. “And if you get bored of that there are things like sushi. If you want a more balanced, more fish and plant-based meal, you can get that.”
There are also students who don’t think the responsibility should fall to the school. Steinhardt senior Miles Grossenbacher thinks of healthy eating as a personal choice.
“I feel like it’s important that [NYU dining] has the options available. But it’s not necessarily their responsibility to promote specific healthy options over ones that people would deem unhealthy.”
One thing that everyone can agree on is that maintaining a healthy diet is an important aspect of self care.
“It’s good for your skin,” Tatachar said. “It’s good for your body, and it sets up a positive internal atmosphere for you while you are working.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 1 print edition. Email Jiachen Xu at [email protected]