The College Diet

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Every time I come home from college, my family asks me roughly the same four questions: Do you have a boyfriend? What are your plans after college? How are your classes? What are you eating? The last question is usually the easiest: food. But what kind of food are college students really eating? Yes, schools claims to have “healthy” dining options, but college students love late night snacking, and who really wants to eat from the salad bar after a rigorous library session?

Ramen noodles and frozen dinners are the quintessential food groups for broke and busy college students. They are quick to make, only require a microwave, and are extremely cheap. The problem with the college diet is that these foods are unhealthy because they don’t give us the nutrients we need in a given day.  Let’s look at ramen noodles for example.

Ramen noodles extremely high in fat and sodium, which can lead to kidney issues, high blood pressure and increases the risk of strokes and heart failure. A brick of noodles contains eight grams of fat, half of which are saturated fat. Saturated fat is the bad fat that is known to clog arteries and raise cholesterol. Ramen noodles contain about half of the suggested daily value for saturated fat. If that isn’t enough to scare you, maybe the 1,560 grams of sodium in each ramen cup will. For reference, the FDA recommends 2,300 grams per day, which means a cup of ramen contains over half the suggested amount.

The chemical tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) is a preservative used to keep the noodles fresh in their package. This chemical is not easily digestible and has little nutritional value. It takes your stomach a long time to process ramen noodles, which can also lead to the health problems listed above.

Speaking of chemicals, some frozen dinners are packed full of chemicals so that when you microwave them, something that smells and looks appetizing results. Yes, there are healthy microwavable dinner options, but the ones that are sold in Dutch Treats are not on the list.The best way to pick a frozen dinner out of the freezer section is to read the label. Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese is one of the worst microwavable options and brands such as Marie Calendar, Banquet, DiGirono and Jimmy Dean offer some of the unhealthiest options that are high in calories, fat and sodium.

Reading labels carefully is the best way to determine which are good for you, and which are packed full of chemicals – if you can’t understand the ingredients list, don’t eat it. Also, make sure you know have many servings are in each dinner. (Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese has two). As far as ramen noodles go, avoid eating them as much as possible and you will be two steps closer to improving your college diet.

Click here to hear my commentary on Hofstra University’s dining options!

The Little State with the Big Voice

New Hampshire: AKA the small state in the northeast corner of the United States that only receives recognition during presidential elections. I am a proud resident of the 603. I will say that the past four years I have lived in New York have somewhat dulled my pride but New Hampshire has been a buzz word this election cycle, and I am happy that the rest of the country can finally see our worth again.

NH only has 4 votes in the Electoral College. We are not Florida (29) or Pennsylvania (20), but nonetheless, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have spent time and money trying to sway New Hampshire voters in their favor. NH has voted democratically in five the past six presidential elections, but in those elections the democrats only won by about 4%. NH is surrounded by blue states, although the majority of voters in NH are registered as republicans.

Trump took the ticket in NH during the primary elections – NH is the first state to vote, but Bernie won over the democrats. It is possible that the Vermont Bernie supporters bled into the Granite State. It will be interesting to see how NH Bernie fans will vote – and if they’ll turn up to vote at all.

As a college student in New York my vote counts more in New Hampshire. A vote is a vote, and yes, it is important to partake in democracy, but a vote is a whole lot more meaningful when your desired candidate wins in a swing state. New York is blue state and NH (as of November 7, 2016 at 3:00 PM) is a yellow state, which Fox News has declared a “toss-up.” My prediction is that Hillary will win New Hampshire, and she will win by more than 4%.

It is important to vote, we’ve heard it time and time again. As a college student who lives in New York most of the year, I will take advantage of the NH address on my license until my parents kick me out. I know that New Hampshire may not be the biggest or most important swing state, but thank you for indulging my New Hampshire pride filled post.