Opinion: Don’t be fooled, convenient is not the same as healthy

Fullerton College’s cafeteria offers easy access to all Hornets that need to grab a bite to eat while on campus, but the food options there might not be what is best for student health.
The Fullerton College cafeteria is found in Building 200, now called Cruz Reynoso Hall. The cafeteria, managed by Sodexo, has drawn criticism from students due to the lack of healthy food options.
The Fullerton College cafeteria is found in Building 200, now called Cruz Reynoso Hall. The cafeteria, managed by Sodexo, has drawn criticism from students due to the lack of healthy food options.
Hornet Media

The expression “It tastes better when it is free” resonates with almost everyone, especially to the struggling college student, and at Fullerton College, students are fortunate to receive twelve Buzzy Bucks ($12) every day in the cafeteria.

Nevertheless, when has free ever been true? The food at the cafeteria might be free for students, but repercussions that follow will be paid with something more valuable than money, your health.

Although options such as Buzzy Deli, Tres Habaneros and even The Grill have so-called “healthy” choices for students to eat, the predicament in which students are faced with every time they enter the cafeteria is rooted in the ingredients that are put into their food.

A third-year nutrition major, Callie Pearson shared her negative views about the options served at the cafeteria. “I definitely think that if they’re only providing unhealthy options, and that’s if you’re here like four or five days a week and all you’re eating is foods that are unhealthy you’re going to kind of get addicted to it, especially if you’re here for the entire day,” said Pearson.

In the ingredients list provided by Sodexo, the company that manages the cafeteria, The Grill’s breakfast choices included harmful additives and preservatives to the food served to the community of Fullerton College.

The ingredients list mentions these five ingredients consistently: artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate (which is also referred to as MSG), artificial preservatives, nitrates and partially hydrogenated oils (which is also referred to as trans oil).

Representatives from Sodexo declined to be interviewed after multiple requests for comment.

Next time a decision needs to be made between a savory sausage pizza or a simple salad, remember the sausage in the pizza contains nitrate… the same nitrate found in fertilizers.

These added preservatives and sweeteners are added to the food to make them last longer and look more appealing.

However, some of the items listed above are considered by the National Library of Medicine to be very harmful to people’s health, even linked to possibly causing cancer.

“It depends on where you’re buying food from. I would obviously say the grill does not. I think as far as packaged foods, those are kind of rough because they put a lot of preservatives in them,” said Pearson.

Frida Dornats, a first-year animation major, said she believes that having more fresh produce could be a better alternative. Fresh fruits and vegetables could be a better and healthier option for her and her fellow classmates.

“I mean, everything is processed, but I think it depends. It’s the level of processing because you can’t compare like, frozen vegetables with the actual produce itself, but it’s completely different. So, I think if we just had fresher options, it would be better,” said Dornats.

While eating a sausage patty for breakfast won’t kill you, it could be one domino that starts a pattern where all the dominoes of your health go crashing down. Now the question is, in a world where convenience is a priority and affordability is the main goal, how can these harmful ingredients be avoided?

Quitting processed food is not the answer, because everything that is packaged contains some preservatives. But, reading the ingredients and nutrition facts can prevent you from making the wrong choices.

Eating organic labeled food is not necessary, because even organic fruits get sprayed with pesticides which can still be washed off. Minimizing packaged deli, frozen fruits and vegetables would be a good start.

The easiest way to avoid eating processed food is simply cooking at home. Avoiding fast food restaurants and cooking a delicious home cooked meal is the best alternative.

Advocating a healthy food consciousness is something that needs to be brought up more, and we are beginning to see this now. Multiple news outlets have recently published the possibilities of banning certain corn chips due to their recipe containing food dyes.

Realizing what makes foods healthy is the key to making better food choices and as a result will lead to a longer and healthier life.

View Comments (2)

Comments (2)

All The Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    eli youngMar 25, 2024 at 11:47 pm

    we 100% need healthier options. eating a lot of the food there just feels so heavy and causes bloating + fatigue. it sucks that the healthier options there tend to be a bit more expensive too like a fruit cup from the grill vs one of the other sides

  • M

    Mae YoungMar 24, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    It feels there are no fresh snack options. Even when there are apples or bananas, they are too unripe or sour.