The industry of food and food processing are two of the most influential factors that could be considered whenever the topic about health and nutrition are being discussed. Nutrition is derived from the foods we intake. According to a study about food processing conducted by Laudan (24), food processing can dramatically affect the amount of nutrition that an individual could get and then later on absorb from a particular type of food. Meaning, no matter how nutritious or filling a food may be, the determining factor will usually be the method of food preparation used.
Some studies suggest that vegetables can be overly cooked while some suggest that they cannot. The advocates of the theory that states that vegetables are not meant to be overly cooked has a basis. According to Levenstein (106), vegetables and other types of food tend to lose their nutritional value when they are overcooked or are prepared in an inappropriate manner. This has a big impact on the quality and nutritional value of the foods inside the University of South Florida that the students consume.
It is important for the people responsible for food preparation to become aware of the possible consequences of overcooking some foods or preparing them inappropriately. 70% of University students buy food (breakfast, lunch and snacks) from the food cafeteria and fast food stores (Brown, 12). While this may be attributed to a range of different factors, if food cooks and vendors will not be educated about this matter and its impacts, we could assume that the nutrition of some 70% of the total university student population would be jeopardized.
Another significant factor in this type of situation is time constraint. College students tend to be busy at school that they do not have time to prepare their own food or even take a little break from school works to eat. This is the reason behind why most students tend to buy food and eat at fast food stores rather than wake up in the morning and prepare their food for the whole day. This scenario could actually be harmless for the students as long as they could assure that the foods they buy from such stores are sanitized and are still of high nutritional value. It certainly becomes harmful for the students, which is most likely the case, if the cooks’ food preparation practices are of low standards. There’s a good chance that the cleanliness of the food as well as its nutritional value will be compromised. And most of the time, the students and their concerned parents do not even know about it.
Based on these evidences, it could be summarized that there are several factors affect the nutritional value of foods at the University of South Florida. Some of the discussed factors include the college students’ consciousness about their beauty and fitness, the type of food that the students eat, their lifestyle, eating habits, current schedule, and fast food chains present in the vicinity. All of these factors were proven to have an impact on the health and nutritional values of the students at USF. A good and appropriate recommendation here is to educate both the students, and food vendors and cooks about the importance of proper nutrition. It would be effective to educate the students how they can maintain a balanced diet despite their busy work schedules and other factors present in a college student’s life. If such programs will be enforced, not only will the student be aware of the fact that eating healthy foods under a balanced diet plan is a constant requirement to stay healthy; the food vendors will also be aware of the fact that they play a key role in preparing clean, safe and nutritious foods for the University of South Florida students.
Laudan, R. In Praise of Fast Food. UTNE. 2010.
Levenstein, H. Paradox of Plenty. University of California Press. 2003.
Brown, J. Interactive Learning Guide for Students for Nutrition Now. Thomson/Wadsworth. 2008.