As you enter the HUB area, you are presented with many different dining choices. There’s Panda Express, Chronic Taco, Hibachi-San, MOD Pizza and, not too far away, you can find Subway and the Habit. The fast food restaurants offer a number of different choices but lack healthy options. As a UCR student, the predicament of not knowing what to get, simply because we are tired of constantly choosing between the different unhealthy fast food options in the HUB, is an unfortunately familiar experience.
The average student spends anywhere from $5 to $13 per on-campus meal, and for many students who live in campus housing with no way to get to a grocery store, it triples for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Upon first coming to the school it might have been exciting to see fast food restaurants right on campus, as many young visitors do, but the reality of being limited to almost only unhealthy options is a nightmare. I feel as if I’ve recently gained another “freshman 15” and I’m a third-year. Scotty’s isn’t much of an improvement; although it offers a variety of snacks as well as prepackaged salads, sushi and sandwiches, these smaller portions, though slightly healthier, can be just as expensive as the freshly made fast food, adding confliction to your lunch decision.
BestValueSchools.com came out with a list of the “50 Best Colleges with The Best Food 2019” and, unsurprisingly, UCR was not on it. Colleges who did make the list however, include some familiar faces, with UC Davis at 35th, UC San Diego at 33rd, UC Berkeley at 26th and UCLA in third place. The list also describes why the colleges placed, and each of the four highest UCs are listed for things such as: “Healthy College Food, Best Food for College Students on the Go, Organic and Local Ingredients, Culturally-Diverse Cuisine, Kosher-Certified and Vegan/Vegetarian Options” and, for some, the “Community dining plan lets everyone, residential or not, enjoy the school’s healthy college food.” Frankly, none of these really describe UCR’s dining options
There are options like the AI dining hall, Lothian Restaurant and Glen Mor Market that offer healthier and freshly made options but require the time to walk, wait in line and then sit down and eat, making going in between classes impractical. We need a healthier alternative to break up a long week of fast food options, and spending $10 on a coffee and pastry from The Coffee Bean should not be the unfortunate choice UCR students have to make. UCR prides itself on helping its students succeed by providing diverse programs that support students both educationally and mentally so I would think that more food choices that promote healthier lifestyles would also exist. The campus needs a healthy restaurant alternative that’s enjoyable and won’t break our college budgets.