Picky Eaters and the College Food Plan: Self-Creation of a Food Desert

I am one of those people who classifies themselves as a picky eater. I know what I like, and while I am usually willing to try anything once, there are some instances where I will refuse to eat if I cannot find a food that I am familiar with instead of attempting to try a new one I might just like. This poses a serious problem for me as a college student: as oftentimes I will return to my dorm having taken nothing but an apple or banana which while nutritious does not a full or balanced dinner make, or with nothing at all and will instead make my own dinner out of a packaged and processed food like Ramen Noodles from the supermarket or something of the like. Thus creating for myself a food desert where I am making myself unable to access nutritious food simply because of my status as a picky eater.

Sure, the dining halls have salad bars and delis: but I -like most people- prefer a little variety in my life when it comes to my food. Grilled cheeses, salads, toast, or even bowls of my favorite cereal get monotonous and repetitive after a while. And then I find myself  going back to my dorm for an unhealthy choice rather than attempting to make one at the dining hall, which while not the healthiest food in the world is certainly healthier than what an average college student can afford after classes begin.

So what’s the solution to the problem? Should people who identify as picky eaters have the access to a course which exposes them to different foods? Should there be a course for college students on how to make healthy choices while still living on a restricted budget? Should supermarkets and the like find a way to make healthy food more accessible to college students? Of the answer to this conundrum, this author is unsure.

One thought on “Picky Eaters and the College Food Plan: Self-Creation of a Food Desert”

  1. I totally understand what you’re saying here when you say you’re creating your own food desert. I am also a picky eater, but I’m a picky eater for healthy foods. If find that the main dinner option in our dining halls isn’t healthy enough, I will eat the same thing everyday for dinner (spinach salad with the same 5 toppings) and now that it’s the end of the year I actually lose my appetite when I get to Chase. I think that Chase needs a bigger variety of foods for everyone – gluten-free, vegetarian and meat eaters. While I can see why we have a lack of option, small student body, reduces food waste, ect, I still wish that they had a bigger variety.
    Another contributing factor to our self created food desert is the lack of cheap grocery stores near by. The GATRA only takes students to Roche Bros, which is a high class, expensive grocery store which can’t be afforded by many students on campus. I think a good way to solve this issue would be to offer college students a discount at Roche Bros, or extend the bus route to the Hanaford’s down the road. The food there is much more affordable and the quality of fresh fruits is actually better at Hanaford than at Roche Bros. I hope that Wheaton can fix this food desert setting, but I have a feeling that economics plays a bigger role than overall student health in this case.


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