College Food:

The Food of College

by Nicky Rogers

Nicky's note: The entire article below is unhealthy. But it's college... tread at your own risk

Going to college is a rite of passage for many young men and women. It's sometimes the first time young adults get the chance to begin taking care of themselves. One of the main things that worries parents when their child heads out into the world of college is their diet. What are they going to eat if the cafeteria closes too early? What if they don't like the cafeteria food? What if they didn't sign up for cafeteria meals?

Parents shouldn't worry; the majority of the time, college students will eat, but they will eat poorly. College students today have developed their own underworld of cuisine, involving quite the array of foods, time-tested by students in the past, and catered specifically to college needs by clever and manipulative manufacturers.

The main staple of dorm life in our modern era is the microwave. College students take microwave food to a whole new level. The smell of microwave popcorn is right at home in a dorm, even at 3 a.m. I had a roommate at college who ate microwave popcorn for breakfast. Quick, easy, cheap and filling- what more could you ask for?

There is also the infamous Japanese noodles (the Japanese name for this product many believe actually translate to "student cuisine"). One of the biggest things I learned at school was how many ways there are to eat this ubiquitous, 10 cent meal. There's the traditional method of boiling it into soup, of course. There's also the option of straining the water out before adding the seasoning, creating a cheap pasta meal. A buddy of mine used to give away his seasoning packets to those who liked their soup extra salty and nasty, and then use the noodles mixed with cafeteria vegetables to create his own vegetable soup. There's an entire culture devoted to forming recipes around instant noodles. And college students might be the most creative consumers of all.

But the need for so much creativity is not as dire as it once was. Nowadays microwaves are criminally cheap to own, and many college students even receive a dorm room equipped with one. This has caused manufacturers to cater to the college students' needs like never before. Macaroni and cheese that doesn't involve buying milk, and rice dinners in a bag that include all the seasonings are two examples of the step forward for students living at school, where access to cooking supplies (and having somewhere to keep them) is not as easy as it looks.

Yes, this instant and easy food is about as healthy as what you'd find in a boot camp's chow hall. As parents, be sure to drive into your children's heads college food will lead to all sorts of dietary problems down the road, and "college cuisine" may even cause a few medical problems too if the student goes overboard.

When your college son or daughter is home, be sure to cook them healthy, nutritious meals that are a far cry from the processed staples of university eating.

Editor's note: Every week we feature three brand new recipes. Please click here to check out these free healthy recipes.

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