Unhealthy Choices at the Student Store

Members of Student Council work the lunch rush in the Student Store (Patrick O'Conner)

by: Patrick O’Connor

It’s a normal Monday afternoon at Tri-City Prep. Students eagerly watch the clock during fourth hour, waiting anxiously for class to end. The bell finally rings and lunch begins. Many students flock to the student store, some to get their lunch, others to supplement their preexisting lunch. But how healthy is the food at the Student Store?

On the average day, there are twenty-five to thirty-five transactions made at the student store. Of these an average of four hundred to five hundred calories are purchased per transaction. Most experts agree that to keep a healthy diet you need to intake somewhere in the area of two thousand calories a day. The calories purchased at the Student Store alone are not enough to send students over this limit; however most students don’t eat what they buy from the store alone but rather use it to supplement other foods. While not all items sold at the student store are unhealthy, enough are that the average transaction contains twenty-five percent of your daily value of fat.

In one day, Poptarts were ordered the most out of any food products. Depending on the type of Poptart, they contain three hundred and ninety to four hundred and twenty calories. They contain seventy-five grams of carbohydrates which equals about twenty-five percent of the recommended daily value. They have thirty-three grams of sugar and ten grams of fat. Poptarts contain very little nutritional value because they have minuscule amounts of vitamins and minerals and are extremely high in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. Due to this, these items are quite unhealthy on their own, especially if you eat more than just Poptarts for lunch.

Cup of Noodles were ordered the second most frequently. They contain two hundred and ninety-six calories. They also contain fourteen grams of fat and six grams of saturated fat which is twenty-two percent and thirty-one percent of the recommended daily values respectively. In addition the contain one hundred and forty-three milligrams of sodium which is sixty percent of the recommended daily value. This is especially important because having too much sodium in your diet can lead to dehydration, elevated blood pressure, and even kidney disease. Cup of Noodles contain little to no nutritional value but, unlike Poptarts, are not commonly used as supplements to a greater lunch.

Candy and ice cream were also commonly bought. Both of these items are high in calories, sugar, and fat but low in nutritional value. Many students bought multiple candy bars or ice creams to have with their already packed lunch, making their meal especially unhealthy. While not all the items sold at the student store are unhealthy, the most commonly sold items are. Though the choice to live healthy is ultimately up to the students the student store does not seem to be encouraging a healthy diet by selling such items.

One of the easiest ways to make sure you are eating a healthy lunch is to pack it yourself. Monitoring the nutritional value is easy when you pack it the night before. For eating healthier at the student store try to avoid the candy, microwaveable items, ice cream, and Poptarts. These items tend to be the highest in calories, fat, and sugar and the lowest in nutritional value.

When asked about making healthy changes to the Student Store, Rachel Winters, the Student Council store manager, was very interested. “I want to make the school healthier, and I think it’s very important for everyone to eat healthy,” she said.

One anonymous student said, “Students have to realize that all through life there are unhealthy choices for food. You have to condition yourself, and that is what the student store is teaching us, that the quick and easy food isn’t always the best choice. It comes down to common sense and for the student to decide what is best for them.”

If you want to eat healthier at the student store stick with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the Baked Lays. For even healthier food on campus you can buy Naked Juice from the Green Team, which has a serving of fruit in each bottle and is high in nutritional value. Hopefully the students at Tri-City will help to promote a healthier diet.

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