Among the students milling around in the Marketplace on Thursday, Julie Lee, a campus dietitian, offered free food samples and tips for healthy eating habits.
Campus dietitians work to enhance the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff on campus. They provide nutrition consultations, guest lectures, educational materials and information for students with food allergies.
Offering free healthy breakfast and snack options, such as Greek yogurt with fruit and granola at her tabling event, Lee explained that it is important to teach college students about creating healthy eating habits.
“For the college age group, eating right is extremely important because it’s one of the times students are on their own and develop their own personal diet,” Lee said. “Being able to teach students now while they’re in the prime of creating their own personalized diet will help establish future patterns of healthy eating.”
In order to promote healthier eating habits, Lee and campus dining services have taken steps to make students more aware of what they eat. One such method has been the introduction of mindful limited-time offers. Featured at Garden Toss, Cakes and Eggs and NY Street Deli, the mindful designation offers healthy food options on a rotating basis in which foods are categorized as healthy or not based on criteria such as fat, sodium and calories.
“[Campus dining services] is attempting to better market the limited-time options, which right now can only be seen at a sign at a food station, but we plan on marketing these options via social media,” Lee said.
John Brown, a sophomore majoring in business administration, expressed his skepticism with being able to find good-tasting, healthy food options on campus.
“Over the summer, I was trying to go vegan, but then I realized it would be hard to maintain that at Binghamton [University],” Brown said. “I feel like there aren’t many vegan options and if there are, they often don’t taste the best. Overall, the food that most people eat because it tastes good is really fatty and filled with sodium. If you try to eat healthy, low-fat, good macros, etc., it isn’t going to taste great.”
However, Lee noted that she believes BU offers students a great variety of options in order to maintain a healthy diet. She did say that there is still more which can be done to promote healthy eating, such as advertising mindful limited-time offers using larger signage, increased promotion on social media and featuring limited-time offers at monthly wellness promotion tables.
Benjamin Babaev, a junior majoring in biology, said he believes that Dining Services offers healthy options although he would like to see more reasonable prices for healthy foods in comparison to unhealthier options.
“Sodexo accommodates well for all types of diets, but I do believe that healthy options have been neglected,” Babaev said. “Whenever there are healthy options available, the price is always marked up and for those of us on a tight budget, it’s off-putting, whereas the unhealthier foods, the chicken nuggets, fries, etc. are a lot cheaper.”