Cafeteria Trays=Freshman 15?


When I came to the University at the beginning of September I noticed a lot of differences between my high school's cafeteria and the residential dining hall. There were a lot more options at the dining hall and you could go back and get food as many times as you wanted.

From a health and portion perspective neither of these things are necessarily good. With so many options, it's hard to decide and you often want to try more than you are really hungry for. Since you can go up multiple times and get food, you may eat more than you think you are.

One other big change from high school cafeterias is that the dining halls do not have trays. This is not by accident. Not only is it less dishes to wash, but the absence of trays is supposed to combat the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph. Without trays you can't have multiple plates; you can carry one plate and your drink. This is supposed to encourage diners to decide on one dish. This article points out people will be less likely to go up for seconds because they have to make a conscious decision to go get more food.

I don't know if I agree with all of their reasoning. Sanford dining hall is tray-less and people seem to have no problem juggling multiple plates or setting their plate down and getting more. I think it's a hassle to not have trays because if you are trying to carry your plate, silverware, and drink and then you decide you would like to grab a bowl of soup you either make multiple trips to your table or balance really well.


I agree with what karpx030 is saying. Students have learned how to juggle multiple trays and will go up for seconds if they want them. Having trays in the dining halls would be very helpful to all students. I also think that one reason why students eat so much in the dining halls is because we pay so much per meal. When calculated, we pay around $8 per meal. College students are poor and want to get the most out of their money. Like we talked about in class, more options are not always better. We have many options of foods to eat in the dining halls which could also cause more eating per student. UDS should be focusing on getting healthier meals for students to choose from, I think we pay enough money to have local, healthy food.

Karpx030 states a valid point about choices and wanting to eat more, but as I was discussing the dining hall's food choices with some fellow residents I discovered that the food here could actually be making students lose weight.
One of the boys said he had in fact lost weight, he stated that when he goes to the dining halls nothing looks appetizing. His friend agreed, she says nothing here is satisfying.

It makes you wonder, then what the real cause of the freshmen fifteen is, if not the residence halls. My theory for those who do gain weight is that they go to the dining hall eat an array foods, but leave feeling dissatisfied. An hour later they are back in their rooms studying craving food because they did not enjoy their meals at all.

While Karpx030 makes some great points about the flaws in the UDS system, I think that there are significant improvements that I see in the dining halls as opposed to when we were in high school.

First, there are many more vegetarian and vegan options. Simply put, at my high school my two vegetarian friends almost never had anything besides salad because there was nothing substantial that didn't include some kind of meat. Fake meat that they called beef or pork at that.

Second, the easy availability of healthier options seem to make at least a small impact. In Pio, where you can walk up and order a sandwich like at Subway, I see dozens of students eating 7-grain bread and loads of vegetables. Not only is there a salad bar, but when I see people using it there are far more people loading up on spinach or romaine than their nutrient-lacking counterpart, iceberg.

Sure, there are always burgers and fries and soda. And there are always students who will practically live off them. But considering that we don't have parents to watch and monitor our every calorie, I think college students are off to a much better start than I was expecting they would be.

And as for the lack of trays, I agree that it does not seem to be that effective in curbing appetites, but at least they save the energy that would be required to manufacture and wash the trays.

Kulz0028 states a valid point concerning how the dining halls may in fact have positive effects on diet. It is not rare that I go down to the dining hall and find nothing appetizing. In Middlebrook, there are always hamburgers and pizza available to us; however, I don't like either of those. I usually find myself in the wrap line or sandwich and often resort to making a salad. Furthermore, I always choose to get some steamed vegetables. I frequently leave the dining hall not necessarily still hungry but rather disappointed in the choices I had available to me. Thus, I find myself in my room eating chocolate most of the time after meals just to taste something good. If I had a tray rather a plate, I would feel that I receiving even less quality food than I already am. I don't think it would necessarily make me eat more, but it would emphasize how much of my money's worth I do not take advantage of.

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This page contains a single entry by karpx030 published on November 3, 2010 9:20 AM.

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