Is It Possible To Eat Healthy in the Loomis Dining Hall?

Photo+Courtesy+of+Gloria+Yi+%2717+and+Anh+Nguyen+%2717

Photo Courtesy of Gloria Yi '17 and Anh Nguyen '17

After my junior year, I was ecstatic about summer vacation and freedom. Despite such high expectations, my first few weeks of summer vacation turned out to be lethargic, unsatisfactory, and unproductive. First, I conjectured that I had narcolepsy because I was constantly tired: I had to sleep more than 10 hours a day, and even after that, I still had to take a nap at some point during the day. I was almost certain that there was something wrong with me. When I begged my mother to bring me to the nearest hospital to get a check up, she looked at me quite perplexed, merely consoling me, “You look perfectly fine, honey.”  While I did look deceivingly healthy, I was shocked when my doctor diagnosed me with…

Malnutrition. Could it be possible for a middle-class girl currently attending a prestigious boarding school in the U.S. to be malnourished? I thought that in the United States, in the holy land of burger and BBQ, I’d certainly get all the nutrition that I needed.

Looking back, my diet at Loomis was a mess. Due to excessive stress during the AP week at the end of my junior year, I had refused to leave my room because I thought going to the dining hall seemed like a waste of my precious time and effort. Instead, I lived off of granola bars, chocolate, and other convenient but unhealthy foods. The few times I went to the dining hall were when my favorite foods – mac and cheese, tater tots, and quesadillas – were on the menu, and during lunch periods, I always gravitated towards the pizza station to avoid the enormous line of the hot meal section that went out the doors. Little did I realize I was degrading my own health with choices that I was making.

Truth is, we, as “owners” of our own bodies, are responsible for our own health. Although the Aramark Corporation is mainly responsible for serving the students with a wide array of food from high protein to fiber to carbs, it is also our job to make the right decisions for the benefit of our own health. Rather than grabbing whatever dish that seem satisfying for our unhealthy inner desire, we should make a conscious extra effort to completely satisfy our nutritional needs. If you are grabbing pizza during lunch, place some vegetables on the side to maintain balance. Add some bananas to your yogurt for breakfast. Take extra steps to the salad station to replace saturated fat items to poly-saturated food, like chickpeas.

Making healthy choices are a part of growing up. Without our parents (or should I say the direct supervisors) to give us a balanced meal, we need to make better decisions in the dining hall to be energized throughout the year and quite literally to survive.