Healthy food choices are plentiful at Appalachian

Healthy food choices are plentiful at Appalachian

Khai Hoang

Students at Appalachian State University have the availability of eating at several dining establishments on campus.

What may be lost is how many surprisingly healthy food choices are available.

Arthur Kessler, the director of Appalachian Food Services, said there are several healthy choices for students, whether it’s the salad bars or one of the dining units in Central Dining Hall. Better yet is how all meat is prepared onsite, and more than 14 percent of produce and other items are obtained locally.

There are also downsides with buying local. Kessler said prices do go up because produce obtained locally is organic, but only for the items that the produce was used for. This is a fair tradeoff for eating organic food and supporting the community of farmers through a variety of choices.

And luckily, the food choices are about to expand.

Trivette Dining Hall is being renovated to include a new salad bar, which will incorporate freshly baked potatoes, similar to what is already available at Central, Kessler said. Appalachian is also implementing an unnamed Asian-themed food stall in Trivette where McAlister’s Deli used to be.

Similar to Noodle Works in Central, students will have the choice of what vegetables they want along with rice, meat or tofu. This is a great way to give students the options of healthy eating that they can customize to their tastes.

Kessler said they are reducing the amount of breaded foods on the menu, and none of the fried foods are fried in trans fats. This is great news for those who love fried foods, but don’t want to feel too bad about eating it.

But the most important thing that Appalachian is doing to help with healthy eating on campus is the production of a mobile application coming in the fall that will allow students to check the calories of what is available day-to-day.

Kessler said the app will calculate how healthy a meal is with a few simple clicks. The app will add the calories of each meal to create a streamlined dining experience.

Two more food concepts are planned for 2015 and will no doubt add variety to the healthy eating experience students already have.

All of this comes at a good time for college students. The obesity rate in 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States has decreased from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 17.1 percent in 2013, according to Gallup.

What Appalachian is doing could encourage healthier food options to help further decrease the obesity rate of young adults, a trend that is sure to continue.

I know that I’ll be eating more on campus with the amount of nutritious food available.

Khai Hoang, a senior journalism major from Roanoke Rapids, is a graphic designer.