By Julia Vodyanyuk
Let that sink in.
Although it’s great that there are now less undernourished people, it’s scary to think that the obesity epidemic has spiraled so far out of control that this is now a fact.
A whopping 59 per cent of Canadians are overweight or obese according to Statistics Canada, and that number is growing.
Why is this happening in a world where healthy eating and regular exercise are readily available in so many varieties? Do we attribute this problem to laziness or the convenience of poor habits?
Personally I think it’s both, however I also agree that if there was a vendor on campus that supplied a variety of healthy, locally grown food on campus for breakfast, lunch and dinner that didn’t cost a fortune, students would go for it.
No matter how much students would benefit from packing their own lunches to save their health and their wallets, we’ll never stop purchasing food on campus, so why not make it better?
Let’s think about taking a stroll through a campus cafeteria during lunch. It’s likely you will find some healthy choices, the salad bar for example.
However, it’s easy to load up that salad and make it add up to something like $9, whereas a greasy, cheesy, undoubtedly delicious poutine is a mere $5.
Those veggie sticks and dip may be yummy once in a while for a cool $3, but even I don’t want to eat that day after day.
There are also next to no healthy breakfast options around school. The breakfast special in the main cafeteria is a hit because it’s cheap and the portion is huge, but there is no doubt that a pile of home fries and questionable scrambled eggs are unhealthy.
No, crepes usually aren’t a healthy alternative.
Students at the college may also greatly benefit from nutritional labels on more food items to help make informed choices.
Healthy food choices are often more expensive, but with producers now shifting toward healthy, sustainable options for food due to consumer demand, it’s slowly becoming the norm. Benefiting not only the local economy, but our waistlines as well. Who can argue that logic?
Ottawa has an abundance of local farms and grocers that support locally grown food, so there really is little reason for this not to happen.
Informing students on the options available and providing more variety in healthy choices while keeping costs low may seem like a lot to ask for, but it may be in the works.
A dietician is currently working with food services at Algonquin to make some changes to the choices on campus. Although it is uncertain what the changes will be, I’m sure we could all hope for healthy, low cost, local food to fill our bellies at school.