Slim before Summer

You are what you eat, but do you know what you are eating? Students would like to think that all of the food on campus is healthy. In reality, some of the food available on campus is bad for you and should be avoided.

Sam Houston State University’s six fast food eateries can sometimes offer little to the health enthusiast. Robert Cardenas, an HKC Personal Trainer, agrees that “we need healthier places on campus.”

According to Cardenas, there are many indications that the food you are consuming at SHSU’s fast food places are particularly bad for you. For one, he said, students should be leery of trans fat in their food. Minimizing as much fat as possible is undoubtedly a plus but trans fat is the worst.

“Start off slowly to change your diet,” encouraged Cardenas. “Subway doesn’t have as much of it [trans fat]. Stick with Omega 3 fats and fish oil.”

Santel Fraiser is the Director of University Dining Services at SHSU. He has made a habit of trying to eat healthy at Caf Belvin, turning a typical lunch of a grilled chicken salad with olive oil and citrus dressing as part of his diet. He fears that the real reason students want the unhealthy products at fast food restaurants is because “that’s what everyone grew up on.”

Fraiser would love to see students find the healthy food they need. For instance, he said, Caf Belvin serves chicken grilled in soybean oil and rotisserie chicken, which has no added oil. Also, Caf Belvin is going to have a “Fried-Free Week.”

“There may be some dissention from the students [for Fried-Free Week] when there are no fries and no chicken nuggets,” Fraiser admitted. “It comes down to knowing what is healthy. The closer to natural, the better. Not everyone had a mom that cooked healthy meals or educated them about healthy eating.”

Caf Belvin offers salads for $6.26, but for many students, anything over $5 can exceed the pocketbook. This can cause a problem for people like the fianc of sophomore Christopher Whitaker, the Student Government Association President-Elect.

“My fianc is a healthy eater and I never realized how hard it is to do that,” said Whitaker. “When the only place that sells decent salads is Wendy’s, that’s a problem.”

Eating healthy is not always easy for a college student on the go, as Michelle Lovering understands. Lovering, the Health Programming Coordinator at the Student Health Center, still acknowledges that it is possible to stay healthy with such a hectic schedule. First off, she suggests that students eat balanced meals or focus on obtaining a balanced diet throughout the day. Many subjects examined in elementary and junior high school are still just as important now, like obtaining foods from each of the food groups as outlined by the Food Guide Pyramid. This is the best way to accumulate the nutrients and energy necessary to keep you going during the very busy semester.

“The campus dining facilities offer a variety of fruits and vegetables in the salad bars. When you do not have time to sit down in a dining hall, get small pieces of fruit and mixed nuts for quick snacks rather than hitting the vending machines,” said Lovering. “The fast food chains located in the dining hall and even those off campus have healthier choices, you just have to be smart about your selection.”

More people are learning about nutrition. When consumers start eating healthier, food companies will have to adapt to their demands. There is a lot of information out there for anyone who would like to eat healthier and learn about trans fat or hydrogenated oil. You can look it up on the Internet, read fitness magazines and go to the library or bookstore to learn more about what all those mile-long words on the ingredient list really stand for. If you have an opinion about the food on campus, Santel Fraiser said to tell him instead of just complaining about it on the Facebook. You can go to to contact him or to find out more about the food offered on campus.

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