I clearly remember my first taste of freedom began with the a la carte lunch line. I now cringe at my imbalanced, 12-year-old diet: nachos, a giant chocolate chip cookie, with the occasional pink lemonade. But who could stop me? I had a choice.
I continued to make the same disproportionate eating choices as a freshmen in high school. Not only was I eating the school’s mystery pizza and signature chocolate chip cookies but a $3.00 Snapple juice was now a daily purchase. The Snapple fact caps became a popular lunch table conversation, and within the first few months of school the fact caps had already become repetitive. This probably should have alarmed us, or at least slowed our rapid Snapple consumption.
Luckily, by the start of my sophomore year, I realized my body and my bank account would be saved if I stuck to the hot lunch line. And so I did; most of the time.
The real test began in college. Up until then, a kid’s freedom of choice is exercised exclusively during the lunch hour.
Say goodbye to dinners cooked by mom or dad.
While The Onion takes a jab at the typical college student’s diet, students who must eat meal after meal at their school’s dinning hall are directly affected by the variety and quality of food.
At Loyola University Chicago, students are tied down to the cafeteria tray for just a year. After that they have the choice to start grocery shopping on their own. The freedom to buy one’s own groceries gives student’s a glimpse into the adult world.
Joe Guszkowski, a Junior at Loyola University Chicago said he spends roughly $60-$80 a month on groceries. A frequent shopper at Devon Market because of it’s convenient location and relatively low prices, Guszkowski appreciates the responsibility of buying his own food. “I eat healthier now that I have to buy my own groceries,” he said.
The inability to use the cafeteria as a crutch also challenges students to think outside the box. “You actually have to make something. You need to think about what you are buying. It [grocery shopping] forces you to make new things and work with what you have,” Guszkowski said. A freedom that is somewhat restricted by the the confines of a cafeteria.