As the hustle and bustle of college resumes, students are in constant need of food, drinks and other pick-me-ups to keep them charged throughout the day. But, Montclair State University has a significant imbalance when it comes to nutritious snack options. Instead, campus vending machines are packed with Skittles, Doritos and Dunkin’s French vanilla coffees.
One evening, in search of a quick snack that would retain fuel for my night class, I scrambled around campus scanning vending machines for something other than junk food. A few minutes before class, I found what I was looking for. Nestled between Coca-Cola vending machines on the first floor of the student center was a vending machine with granola bars, Veggie Stix, multigrain crackers and nuts. I was relieved to have found one but disappointed to see the lack of accessible nutritious snacks on campus.
Although Montclair State provides balanced meal options in their dining halls, over two-thirds of Montclair State students are commuters who spend little time there. College students are often on the go and looking for pre-packaged, no-mess snacks as they transition from class to class.
The students of Montclair State have busy schedules, whether it be work-study, off-campus jobs or familial duties. The campus should be dedicated to providing these students with sufficient healthy snacks.
At the market in Blanton Hall and the café at University Hall, students can find fruit cups that mostly consist of purple grapes, which go out of stock quickly. Salads and wraps are offered, but the majority of them contain meat or dairy products. With the number of vegan diets increasing annually, it is surprising Montclair State hasn’t made bigger efforts to grow with this trend.
Our bodies need access to healthy sugars, which can be found in food such as fruits and yogurts. While Montclair State carries a variety of yogurts, lactose intolerant and vegan students cannot consume these products. Offering more fruit would give students an alternative way to ingest healthy sugars.
Student-athletes make up 615 people in our community, and our dance program is in the top 30 of the country. An important aspect of athleticism is maintaining a nutritious diet in order to sustain energy and fuel performance. Considering student-athletes and dancers have to be diligent about time management, it would make sense to give them an easy yet sustainable snack they can have in between classes and practice.
Montclair State needs to implement a variety of fruits and vegetables that can be purchased quickly and on the go. There should be a larger selection of dairy substitutes and meatless, pre-packaged meals. Buildings on campus could include more vending machines with quality ingredients in order to promote a more nutritious diet campuswide.
Locating healthy snacks on campus shouldn’t be as difficult as it currently is. In regards to produce and healthy snacks, Montclair State is seriously lacking. Students deserve a range of food that satisfies everyone’s health and diet needs without inconvenience.