UA campus dining nutritional plan

By Brittany Gregg, Opinion Editor

With spring semester in session and winter weather fluctuating, students cannot help but evaluate their eating habits aside from whether or not they like their new class schedules. Whether you reside on campus and pay for a meal plan or commute from home where family dinner is served, it is important to be health-conscious.

With this being said, there are several new dining options on our campus that many students can indulge in. From Chick-fil-A and Panda Express replacing Ohio Burger in the Student Union and the former replacing Summit Bistro in Polsky, there is a new variety to choose from aside from what already exists.

Chick-fil-A, an American fast food restaurant that is best known for its chicken sandwiches has two new express locations on campus. Many students and faculty are familiar with chicken sandwiches being available at Zee’s Convenience Store locations in Exchange Street residence hall and next to Rob’s Cafe. Students craving submarine sandwiches and salads are left to grab their veggie delights from either Freshens or the Union Market in the Student Union, Rob’s Cafe, or the P.O.D. Express in Polsky. Though there are still many options to attain veggie sandwiches and salads, the new hit will be the protein kick students who crave chicken will get at Chick-fil-A.

In a Georgia College study taken in December of 2012, students examined whether their peers that eat solely at Chick-fil-A can get a balanced diet with proper nutrition according to the FDA. According to Livestrong, a site that is an official partner of the LIVESTRONG foundation that offers diet, nutrition and fitness tips for healthier lifestyles, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and type two diabetes have been linked to poor diet and low exercise. According to the FDA, a balanced, 2,000-calorie diet requires several nutrition bounds ranging from several of the nutrition facts one can read on the side of any product he or she consumes. There were two main goals in this study, one to see if there is a healthy solution to the Chick-fil-A diet plan and, if there is a solution, to minimize costs across all options.

The study also combined Subway into this nutritional plan. After plugging in the various constraints and nutritional amounts of each item sold at their Bobcat Foodcourt, both Chick-fil-A and Subway diets were found to be unfeasible. The common concern was that the sodium constraint was always violated.

The third option that the study considered was combining both menus, where an optimal solution was found, leading to a price of $17.69 for a four-count chick-minis, garden salad, large waffle potato fries, a 12-inch veggie delight and a veggie delight salad.

There were many weaknesses found when attempting to consider Chick-fil-A and Subway as a nutritional meal plan. Soft drinks were not included, assuming students would resort to drinking water and, for the Subway menu, assuming all subs would have the recommended toppings. In conclusion, it is impossible to eat a well-balanced meal at Chick-fil-A and Subway; but if students eat at both, it can be done.

If students plan to eat Chick-fil-A express on campus, consider complimenting meals throughout the day with other dining options to attain a nutritious daily diet and in doing so, become more health conscious about what you consume this semester and in months to come.