When I was in school, the ‘eating trends’ among university students consisted of the following:
- The ‘Eat Whatever you Want’ trend because your parents don’t buy your groceries anymore
- The ‘I Have No Money so… Ramen’ trend because ramen is 99 cents, and I don’t have time to bathe, let alone go grocery shopping.
- The ‘Freshman 15’ because post-secondary education is the only time where gaining 15 pounds is a trend and not a crisis.
However, over the past few years, millenials have acquired a taste of the healthier variety and with all the scary trends being created by this generation, this healthy kick is giving us hope.
So what do you do when millenials follow a trend that is both healthy and smart? You hold on to it as hard as you can, never let it go, and learn to adapt. With the growing popularity of vegan/vegetarian-friendly means, gluten-free options, and cultural diets (ex. halal, kosher), universities are learning to adapt to these trends and make them more available on campus.
The first change we’ve seen since 2016 is the introduction of caloric information. By law, school cafeteria menus must include the calories listed in each meal item. This information has become available on school food service websites and directly on the menus at each dining location. Since the distribution of this information was so well-received, college and university auxiliary services want to provide students with as much food-health information they can. This is where new dietary trends come into play.
One of the most popular introductions to readily available caloric information was ‘My Fitness Pal’. Through this app, anyone could scan the food items in their meal and instantly know how many calories they were consuming on a daily basis. With this information you could then develop a diet plan, track your exercise, and always have your caloric information at your fingertips.
As college and university auxiliary services become more tech-friendly, these capabilities are slowing becoming available, and are made for students attending that specific school. Companies like Hangry (a college and university mobile ordering service), have the capability to provide students with a list of all items matching their dietary concerns. For example, if a student would like a vegan friendly meal, the app would filter out all items that are not vegan and provide you with a list that matches your dietary needs. This allows the student to easily pick their meals and know what is always available for their dietary requirements. So now, not only do students have mobile ordering solutions for universities and colleges, they also know exactly what their eating and how many calories they’re consuming. With mobile engagement and nutrition apps becoming so popular among campuses, auxiliary services have joined the trend and are making this information readily available for all students. The best part is, rather than downloading several different fitness or nutrition apps, all your dietary information can be found in one place.
Diverse and Easy
As universities start to promote healthy eating on campus, the fear of the ‘Freshman 15’ starts to dwindle because you know your school has your back. With the introduction of wellness programs, nutritionists, and mobile services; we are not only seeing more diverse meal choices, but more convenient ways to order healthily. Gone are the days of ‘less-than-quality’ cafeteria experiences. Students can now start getting excited about the food options provided on campus and all the practices being put in place to ensure all their dietary concerns are met.
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