Believe it or not, there are lunch choices on campus besides the usual Round Table mini-pizza or Panda Bowl. For those trying to count calories or simply watch what they eat, there are a few healthy alternatives out there.
Round Table Pizza, for example, sells lunch items from opposite sides of the caloric spectrum. One of its most popular items, the personal pepperoni pizza, has 660 calories.
A healthier, cheaper lunch option is the salad bar, where patrons can create their own salad for an even $4. White-meat chicken, tomatoes, carrots and olives are just a few of the available toppings.
Located right next to Round Table is another popular, on-campus restaurant. Although Taco Bell Express made the move from the University Student Union Pit across the way, much of its menu has remained the same.
Looking at the nutritional information available online, any of Taco Bellâ€™s soft or crunchy tacos appear to be a better choice in terms of calories.
To offer a comparison, it would take about 24 minutes of basic aerobics to burn an original crunchy taco. Using the same scale from nutristrategy.com, it would take approximately 74 minutes to burn off a Taco Bell chicken quesadilla.
These are some of the restaurants that Yohanna Browne, a social work major, tries to avoid.
â€œI would try not to eat much Taco Bell and Round Table,â€ Browne said. â€œTheir food just seems the fattiest.â€
Though a seemingly unlikely place, some healthier food options can be found at the Planet Java, located inside the Peterâ€™s Business Building.
Planet Java sells more than just exotic coffee for anyone wanting to beat the lunch rush. The menu sometimes varies from day to day, but some of the usual items include pasta and Caesar salads, served with or without chicken and a small selection of grab-â€™n-go sandwiches.
Subway, with much of its advertising and marketing aimed at health-conscious consumers, comes as a natural option for healthy eating.
Browne said that when it comes to more healthy eating, Subway came to mind first.
â€œI would most likely eat at Subway, because the sandwiches are low in fat, but still taste good,â€ she said.
At full Subway restaurants, they even have a line of â€˜Jaredâ€™ subs, stemming from their famous patron-turned-spokesman Jared Fogle, who used the Subway diet. The fact is, not all of their menu items can promote such healthy eating.
The Subway six-inch Chicken & Bacon Ranch, for example, weighs in at 580 calories, with about 270 coming from fat. Using the nutristrategy.com scale, it would take approximately 82 minutes of aerobics to get burn up those calories. The Meatball Marinara sub contains 560 calories â€“ almost as much as the Chicken & Bacon Ranch â€“ and would take somewhere around 80 minutes to burn.
Some students, like business-major Erica Quintero, were simply unsatisfied with food selection on campus. Quintero thought that most of the fast-food choices were almost inedible.
â€œDonâ€™t get me wrong; I eat this food off campus, like Taco Bell, pizza, Subway and Panda,â€ Quintero said. â€œBut here itâ€™s just plain fast food that looks thrown together. I donâ€™t think there is anything healthy on campus.â€
Though the definition of healthy may differ from one diner to the next, there are better food choices available on campus for anyone willing to look.