Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Uhealthful Change for the Better at Lindenwood

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Uhealthful Change for the Better at Lindenwood

Article excerpt

With an epidemic of obesity spreading insidiously across this country, most colleges have moved toward low-fat, low-calorie offerings in their dining halls.

But where these other schools zig, Lindenwood University zags. Next year, the St. Charles campus will offer fast-food options from Qdoba and Chick-fil-A, plus Caribou Coffee.

But perhaps there is a very good reason for the shift.

"The food has sucked for a long time," said Eva, a student who, like the other students I talked to, did not want to give her last name.

College students have complained about their food for as long as there have been colleges. And students. And food.

So a complaint is to be expected. And then a student named Anna showed me her plate, which she had pushed to the side.

On it was a sickly gray disc with random spots of brown, a weird hunk of pressed reddish meat that resembled an early, rejected prototype of the insides of a McRib sandwich and a corn-on-the-cob that looked like it was frozen and reheated until it took on the approximate texture and taste of a memory-foam mattress.

The vegetable patty, for that is what the gray disc was meant to be, had two small bites taken out of it; the boneless rib and corn were apparently untouched. Anna had, however, eaten all of her rice.

And she said a friend's chicken once was raw on the inside. He posted a picture of it to an online message board, but the university took it down, she said.

But it could be worse. In fact, according to the students I talked to, it has been worse. They noted a marked improvement in the quality of food over the last few years. Still, it is no wonder that the students are looking forward to a couple of nationally known fast-food chains on campus next year.

"It is fast food, and it could be junk food, but if you have the culture and the knowledge of how to pick, you can make healthy choices," Eva said. And there is the rub.

A chicken sandwich, small order of waffle fries and a medium Coke from Chick-fil-A will sock you with 920 calories. Even so, that is less than a standard chicken burrito with brown rice and pinto beans from Qdoba, which tips the scales at more than 1,000 calories. …

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