Healthy snack options would be nice change
Posted April 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm in Opinion
Ladies and gentlemen, students from all corners of campus: Trojan Grounds is starting a conspiracy.
Having just slaved over a paper, I walked into TroGro one fine morning looking for an orange juice fix. But instead of grabbing one of the innocent Starbucks cups at the front, I found myself confronted with a whole new array of sweets.
Cupcakes, crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e cups and a remarkable assortment of mini cheesecakes tempted me to forsake health and submit to sugary, fatty evil. Bleary eyed, I decided then and there that TroGro was trying to kill me.
Now that Iâve slept, I will admit that the new products probably arenât part of a grand scheme; Iâm sure TroGro is just responding to student demand. But that morning highlighted an issue with the convenience store.
The candy bars, baked goods and fatty frozen meals vastly overshadow the small selection of juices and healthy snacks â and as the latest additions show, they might continue to do so. Although TroGro caters to late-night cravings well, it should give students more than just what they want. By stocking healthier food, the store can provide students with what they need.
Contrary to popular opinion, healthy options are not impossible to come by. Several products already offered around campus could replace similar TroGro products. Take Stoufferâs frozen meals. Though the companyâs slogan is âLetâs Fix Dinner,â it might as well be âLetâs Clog Your Arteries.â A serving of the macaroni & cheese contains 17 grams of fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol and 920 milligrams of sodium .
By contrast, a serving of Amyâs Cheese Pizza Snacks, which students can find at The Lot, contains 7 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol and 390 milligrams of sodium. They also have nutritional value, since the snacks contain whole grains and organic ingredients. Now, are the pizza bites the healthiest thing on the planet? No. But they are a vast improvement, one that USC Hospitality could conceivably make available.
There are a few more products USC Hospitality could replace. Iâm sure the Pepperidge Farm fortress could size down a little to make room for whole grain crackers and dried fruit packets â and not the sugar-coated kind you find at the other end of the store.
LĂ€rabars (also available at The Lot) could replace a few candy bars. These delicious treats contain nothing but fruits, nuts and cocoa, but they pack enough natural sugars to satisfy any sweet tooth. Moreover, while Iâm not saying USC Hospitality should do away with all the croissants, it could afford to slip in some oatmeal cookies and banana loaves. Iâm sure health-minded students would appreciate these options on mornings when the Cliff Bars are gone.
Of course, as business students know, product choice isnât everything. TroGro doesnât just stock junk food; it purposefully positions it so that we consume a lot. With the exception of the apples and oranges by the register, most of TroGroâs healthier options donât exactly stand out â the energy bars sit under the gummy bears and licorice, the Odwalla juices are tucked into a corner near the back. Itâs almost as if USC Hospitality would rather we impulsively grab sodas.
One could argue that TroGro has no reason to take health into consideration. After all, junk sells and it makes sense to supply the demand. But making money should not be TroGroâs only responsibility. USC Hospitality must not lose sight of the fact that the convenience store is located on a university campus â i.e., a center of learning.
A plethora of scientific evidence shows that consuming healthier foods increases our ability to learn. One study from across the pond demonstrates this finding to an alarming extent. British researchers gave supplements to 117 children with mild learning and behavioral disorders; some children received omega-3 oils, while some received plain olive oil.
After three months, researchers found that the children who had received the real supplements made up to 10 monthsâ worth of reading progress. Moreover, some of them even shed their disorders. Think you have attention deficit disorder? You might want to eat healthier. Itâs too bad that TroGro wonât really help you if youâre pulling an all-nighter.
Itâs true that TroGro canât make us all health nuts. But if it canât teach students to make good choices, it should at least make those choices readily available. In class, we learn about the bodyâs nutritional needs and Americaâs obesity problem. After arming us with the knowledge to take care of our bodies, why shouldnât the university spread the tools? It makes absolutely no sense.
Students have repeatedly shown they enjoy healthy food. The Red Mango line at noon is huge, and the standard Red Mango cup is fat-free, fruity and completely delicious. If USC Hospitality used its resources to find quality health options instead of using them to scout for cupcakes, the convenience storeâs profits would likely remain stable. For the sake of the students, itâs worth a try.
Weâre college students â we donât always know whatâs best for us. What if TroGro, of all places, could point us in the right direction?
Just something to chew on.
Maya Itah is a freshman majoring inÂ communication and international relations.