Imagine yourself seated at a table in the Student Union Building with your homework spread out covering the table. While focused on your math homework, your stomach rumbles. You haven’t eaten in a while. What do you do?
Some students said they find themselves routinely going for the easy convenient option: Subway, Chic-fil-a or Mai Tai.
“Subway I eat more frequently because I am on campus,” said Miriam Forrest, junior psychology major. “I eat a lot here. I’d rather go there where I understand how many calories are in each thing and I can pick and choose what I want, a little more vegetables than I normally intake. That’s a good thing for me.”
Forrest said if she doesn’t bring a snack with her to campus, she finds herself eating Subway because it is good and relatively healthy. Forrest also said she frequents Burger King because it is close to work and other places she goes.
Chris Mountain, a sophomore media production major, said he also eats Subway or Chic-fil-a on campus, often about two or three times a week, because it tastes good, it’s convenient and he can use his student ID to make the purchase.
Mountain said he also finds himself choosing fast food even when he is home.
“I can choose to make something in the apartment and it wouldn’t really be that hard or anything but I would choose to go get fast food which one could say it’s really less convenient because you have to leave to go get it and use gas and stuff like that,” Mountain said.
Forrest and Mountain said fast food is indeed a guilty pleasure for them, especially since both said they are trying to live healthier lifestyles.
“It’s one of those things where it’s really unhealthy. It’s high in sugars, fats, everything that makes you crave it more and more so it is a bit of a guilty pleasure because you feel bad that you just spent a bunch of money on a Whopper at Burger King and yet somehow you’re still hungry for something else,” Forrest said.
The convenience and tastiness of fast food spares no one.
Even students pursuing health-related careers find themselves giving in to the ease of fast food. Kirstin Pfeifer, senior nursing major, and Brittany Anderson, junior nursing major, said they find themselves eating fast food if they haven’t grocery shopped in a while. Pfeifer and Anderson also said fast food itself and the habit of it can be addictive.
“I definitely think that even if it’s not physically addicting like a cigarette it’s definitely mentally (addicting),” Anderson said. “I have to have coffee every day. I don’t have to but I think ‘Oh I haven’t had my coffee today’.”
Pfeifer said she has read research which testifies to the chemical addictiveness of fast food, but she also said she believes habit is a large part in frequently consuming fast food.
“They say it’s the chemicals that are put into the processed food make it more of an addictive thing especially if you’re going a lot then it becomes habit and you kinda crave it,” Pfeifer said. “You get used to going there in between classes or getting yourself trained to think ‘Oh I’m too busy it’ll just be easy to go there.”
Justin Wallace, junior exercise science major, said he brings a snack of a piece of fruit or a granola bar with him to campus so he does not give in to the convenient calling of fast food.
However, Wallace also said he too has fast food, and does not hate himself for it.
“There’s so many theories out there on what you should and shouldn’t eat but what’s worked for me personally and the way I see it is if you’re always telling yourself that you can’t have something you want you’re just going to want it more,” Wallace said. “I still have a burger now and then but it’s not something I desire and it’s not something that I just fall back on. I’ve learned that if I want my body to look a certain way I can’t fall back on that constantly.”