Weighing the benefits

College life makes healthy food decisions difficult

Weighing the benefits

While strolling down the aisles at Gordy’s County Market last weekend, it came to my realization that eating healthy and cheap as a college student is nearly impossible no matter who you are or what you like.


I usually find myself eating unhealthy when I am away from my mom’s home cooking. Normally leaning toward the quick meal, whether it’s a frozen pizza, quesadillas, burgers or even a corn dog or two, it makes sense for the busy college lifestyle. However, for some, eating healthy is a lifestyle choice.


Whether you choose to eat healthy as a lifestyle choice, as a way to cut out risk of heart disease or just to feel better it is tough to do so on a college budget.


As I sifted through the meat cooler at Gordy’s, I immediately began to compare the prices of chicken and beef. Thirty-two ounces of chicken breasts or 72 ounces of chicken legs will run you just short of $5, meanwhile a pound of ground beef will cost you nearly $4.


Now compare these results to the prices you find on pre-packed meats and foods at Gordy’s County Market and you will be shocked.


Roma frozen pizza is five for $10, Banquet chicken patties are under $4 and you can even get 16 pre-made burger patties for around $10. Choices like these will save you more than a pretty penny, but they aren’t the healthiest choice for students.


Most college students in today’s busy and tough economic climate will reach for what is cheap and easy to make, even if it isn’t the healthiest choice.


Many times I have wished I had the time, ambition and money to cook myself up some fresh chicken to make myself a nice healthy salad, or even the time to whip up some chicken or burgers on the grill. But let’s be honest, that hasn’t happened yet and most likely won’t.


It’s not that Eau Claire doesn’t have the resources to provide healthy foods but cost is a barrier. Just Local Food in Eau Claire provides healthy fresh and local foods to our community. Walmart has some of the best fresh meats and produce, and you can never forget about the unbeatable prices at Aldi.


However, most college students will look past these healthy options because of the “poor college student” excuse, myself included.


Much the same can be said about the cafeteria on upper campus for students living in the dorms. Some healthy choices are available such as simple fruits and vegetables, but your main meals are extremely simple pre-cooked foods that aren’t all too appetizing to say the least.


The sad reality for all college students is that you must weigh the benefits of eating healthy and spending more money, or spending less and paying the price by eating worse.