Many of us have been told for as long as we can remember to “eat your fruits and vegetables!” Fruits are nature’s dessert, while for many, vegetables are an acquired taste learned with age.
Fruits and vegetables are a major part of maintaining a healthy diet. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), fruit can “help increase intake of fiber and potassium which are important nutrients that many Americans do not get enough of in their diet.”
When it comes to the FSU dining halls, there is typically an abundance of vegetables throughout the day and into the evening. Whether it be the salad bar, vegan station, main line, or even Ucook, there are several ways to get your daily intake of veggies.
However, the only time a variety of fruits in the dining hall is available is until 10:30 a.m. The fruit bar typically includes grapefruit, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, several types of melon, and strawberries. You can even make a smoothie if you desire!
Once 10:30 a.m. comes around, all mainline breakfast items – including the fruit – are taken away. The only fruit left for the rest of the day are apples and bananas, typically near the dessert area.
On occasion, fruit will be added to the salad bar for lunch and dinner, but not always. If you aren’t a fan of apples or bananas, and you couldn’t make it to breakfast, you’ve essentially lost out on having any intake of fruit for the day. In fact, many students miss breakfast if they have an early class that goes right up until the time it is taken away.
Vegetables are extremely important, and considering the amount available throughout the day, it is clear the dining team understands this. It would be nice, however, to have a fruit bar, similar to the salad bar, available all day and into the night.
Many fruits are “naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and have no cholesterol,” according to the USDA. Not only that, but “fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.”
Jamie Lee Curtis wouldn’t spend years as the spokesperson for fiber if it wasn’t important!
Westfield State University – similar in population size to FSU – has a variety of fruit available all day and night, proving it a possibility. A new fruit budget may be costly, but the amount consumed by our students would be worth it.
Sodexo should create a fruit station near the dessert area, or in the prepared salad section. Adding fruit all day would encourage students to grab a bowl of berries and yogurt, rather than ice cream, when craving something sweet.
Students are already thrilled when fruit is added to the salad bar – imagine how excited they’d be if they could have a wider variety all day!
Adding fruit permanently will improve the overall health of students, faculty, and staff who use the dining hall.