Students shouldn’t have to partake in the stereotypical college diet

Vending machines, although helpful, are expensive with a lack of healthier or allergen-friendly alternatives. | Ariana Rodriguez, PantherNOW

Ariana Rodriguez | Staff Writer

With food insecurity at an all-time high and barely functional vending machines providing unhealthy food options, it can be difficult for students to navigate a healthy and nutritional diet. FIU needs to take the steps to break the stigma of a college student diet. 

The infamous “college diet” often consists of fast food, TV dinners, instant noodles and energy drinks. It’s imperative for educational institutions to take proactive steps in guiding students toward nutritious choices.

Especially for students who live on campus where the majority of restaurants close on the weekends or have business hours that aren’t suitable, we shouldn’t have to be limited to vending machine food and call it a sufficient meal.

By providing guidance, easy access to healthy recipes and enhancing the overall food options on campus, students won’t be forced to adapt to an unhealthy diet to survive.

The stereotype of college students surviving on ramen noodles and pizza is all too familiar. However, this trend is not only unhealthy but also detrimental to academic performance and overall well-being. FIU can address this issue by offering guidance and education on healthy eating habits. 

Unhealthy eating habits can significantly impact academic performance by causing nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar fluctuations and weight gain. These factors impair cognitive function, memory and concentration—critical elements for success in academics. 

Many may not immediately realize the connection between their diet and academic performance, accepting symptoms like fatigue and difficulty focusing as normal. Recognizing this link is crucial for promoting healthier eating habits and supporting academic success.

One practical approach to encourage healthier eating habits among students is by providing easy-to-follow recipe brochures and papers at 8th Street Campus Kitchen, aka the cafeteria. These recipes should be simple, affordable, and use readily available ingredients. 

By offering a variety of nutritious meal options, FIU can empower students to make healthier choices both on and off campus. Incorporating cultural diversity in these recipes can cater to the diverse student population at FIU, making healthy eating more inclusive and accessible to all.

Most importantly, include more diet and allergen-friendly alternatives alongside providing the allergen-friendly options on the menu since FIU often cuts the menu of fast food chains, such as Taco Bell, which doesn’t have the power bowl.

While FIU offers a range of dining options on campus, the majority of these choices may not always align with nutritional guidelines. Many menus are dominated by fried foods, sugary snacks and high-calorie beverages. 

FIU can collaborate with food service providers to introduce healthier menu options. This can include incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and plant-based alternatives into meal offerings. 

Additionally, reducing the availability of unhealthy snacks and promoting healthier alternatives can steer students toward making better food choices. Especially with the abundance of the M&M vending machines on campus.

Creating a culture of wellness goes beyond providing nutritious food options; it involves fostering an environment that prioritizes health. FIU can implement campus-wide initiatives such as wellness challenges, cooking competitions and fitness events to promote healthy lifestyle choices. 

By engaging students in interactive and fun activities centered around health and nutrition, FIU can instill lasting habits that extend beyond their college years.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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