They’re not your parents’ college cafeterias anymore, limited to globs of ambiguous meat and a smorgasbord of starch. Today’s dining halls have evolved to meet the demands of a more sophisticated student population who expect healthier and fresher options, including entrees for vegans, gluten-free alternatives, and organic selections. Ethnic cuisines, access to local farmers’ markets, and free WiFi have transformed the old-school dorm cafeteria into a convenient and functional international food court with a focus on more nutritious fare.
That is not to say that the “freshman 15” isn’t a factor anymore. College dining halls still routinely offer tempting fattening foods such as burritos, fries, and ice cream, and not all students make disciplined choices living away from home for the first time. But at least the opportunity for better judgment exists.
Dormitories themselves have taken the tact of providing kitchens for students who prefer to prepare their own foods. Mini-refrigerators, microwaves, and George Foreman Grills are as vital as laptops in college dorm rooms. A great accompaniment to these appliances is “The Healthy College Cookbook” first published ten years ago by Williams College students and recently updated to accommodate vegan and other nutritious dishes.
Sharp minds demand nourishing fuel. It’s not about filling up on Top Ramen anymore.