Eating healthy with meal plans

Ericka Hardin

Ericka Hardin is a Crestwood senior studying hospitality management and dietetics with a concentration in nutrition. She also works as a fitness instructor at the Preston Center.

We asked Hardin for her perspective as a WKU student and a learning nutritionist on eating healthy with meal plans. 

In college, part of the decision is not having to worry about what you’re eating all the time. I stopped getting meal plans because they weren’t offering the choices that I wanted to eat. There are not that many healthy options.

You can get a meal plan, but if you want a better option it’s going to cost you more. Healthy food isn’t readily available. If you want a healthy option, it’s usually two meal plans instead of one.

Burrito Bowl isn’t an adequate response to the lack of healthy options. They took away Greens-to-Go, which wasn’t the freshest salad ever, but at least it’s a better option than going to the Chick-fil-A next to it. 

Subway is fine. That’s where I spent every single meal plan when I had them. Sadly, they have a lot of preservatives in their food, so they’re all processed together and shipped here.

At Panda Express, you can always ask for brown rice instead of white. Anything with protein, vegetables and rice isn’t going to be that bad for you, but all the soy sauce gives you so much extra stuff that you don’t even think about. If you get a pizza at Papa John’s every now and then it’s not going to kill you, but it isn’t the best option. 

We definitely could work on bringing in different options and healthier options for students. Plus, restaurants that are here should advertise more their healthier options and make them more accessible for meal plans. 

There are not a lot of healthy options on campus, but there are some. Ultimately, it comes down to the student to make that decision. If it’s important for them to eat healthy, then those options are available. Sadly, they have to work a little harder at getting them.