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Cafeteria in Watauga Campus: The Problem of Students’ Nutrition


Inadequate and unbalanced nutrition brings adverse outcomes to students’ health and negatively affects their general education performance. Canteens at universities and campuses used to be characterized by deterioration and rise in the cost of food. The facility that Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College needs is a cafeteria. The process of organizing food in educational institutions is challenging, including many stages. Due to multiple requirements, catering at campus should comply with various factors, such as facility organization, balanced menu, and college values facing global trends.

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Students’ nutrition is practically not regulated; consequently, most of them might be malnourished. The reasons for this are lack of time, incompetence in food culture, the pace of modern life (Choi 8). Students often eat very irregularly, having snacks on the go, 1-2 times per day; a large number of them do not use canteens’ services (Choi 8). The growing popularity of processed food among students, which contains numerous flavors, colorants, chemicals, and modified components, causes adverse outcomes (Choi 8). These days, an unhealthy diet is becoming a serious risk factor for the development of many diseases. According to Naicker et al., an unhealthy food setting provides unsalutary eating patterns (2). Recent years show a significant increase in obesity, cardiovascular system diseases, diabetes mellitus (Choi 9). A full-fledged and accessible network of public catering enterprises should be organized on campuses to meet students’ needs to prevent such negative consequences.

The student body function is distinguished by a great overstrain of the nervous system. The workload, especially during the exam period, increases significantly up to 15-16 hours a day (Choi 4). Chronic lack of sleep, violation of the day’s regime and rest, the nature of the diet, intense information load and lack of physical activity can lead to a neuropsychic breakdown (Choi 3). According to Lugosi, access to food on campus can provide short-term emotional well-being, shaping community relations (230). Overall, the principal point is that cafeterias are culturally functional areas for advancing students’ sociality (Lugosi 234). The nutritional environment’s adjustment can increase and support healthy behaviors (Naicker et al. 2). In compensation for this negative situation, a well-organized, balanced diet is of great importance.


The campus can implement services for providing students with meals on its own – maintain a canteen or a buffet, employ cooks, dishwashers and other catering workers. With regard to recommendations, it is necessary to evaluate the temporal dimensions of students’ consumption behaviors, depending on daily and weekly activities (Lugosi 238). On-campus cafeterias might become a strategic investment in improving design-based actions to upgrade college facilities (Lugosi 238). The option is to agree with a catering organization, for example, a contract on the joint organization of meals for students.


There is a negative image of college-campus cafeterias as they are recognized as providing low-quality food. For instance, the traditional canteen line was used to feed students fast without examining whether the products are nutrient-rich and tasty (Avant). The question that arises is what cheap meals can satisfy people’s hunger en masse (Avant). Moreover, Lugosi (230) states that institutional food service can also result in stress, concerning students with allergies, unique dietary demands, or people with different nationalities facing unfamiliar meals without appropriate alternatives. However, at present, the campus should suggest options that allow students to choose their eats from a variety of vegetarian and protein-based choices (Lugosi 231). Thus, a small-batch approach can be considered to preserve freshness.

The organization of student meals requires preparing a menu that will satisfy young people’s requirements and be accurate and balanced. The campus needs to engage experienced nutritionists to make food delicious, nutrient-rich and healthy. There is a tendency among students to choose a meal regarding the amount available, not according to the nutrition value (Naicker et al. 4). The quality and quantity of a student’s food have a significant impact on mental performance (Choi 3). The campus cafeteria with the right menu supposes doubled fruit and vegetable consumption, improving dietary intake and health results.

After analyzing the standard meal plans of students, the particular nutritional deficiencies are identified. First of all, this is low consumption of substantial meals as sources of amino acids, creatine, purine bases, vitamins, mineral salts, organic acids, and plant fibers (Naicker et al. 24). The second issue is the absence of fermented milk products in the students’ diet (Naicker et al. 24). Moreover, it is necessary to acknowledge that students are faced with insufficient protein, vegetables and fruit intake, being the primary sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber (Naicker et al. 24). Consumption of coffee and caffeinated beverages is high; therefore, the menu in student cafeterias should be created to fully satisfy the body’s need for macro-and micronutrients while focusing on people with different incomes.

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Emerging Trends

Concerning global trends, the campus should take into account several aims that can create a positive perception. Avoiding meat and milk is one of the most effective options for fighting climate change (Report). If students switched to a plant-based menu, this would significantly affect the world’s situation (Report). For instance, vegetarian cafeterias are gaining popularity in the US; there are a growing number of plant-based canteens in almost every university (Vegan Report Card). Universities across the US have begun to move away from meat in canteens and cafes, with more vegans among students and staff (Vegan Report Card). Activists are promoting meat-free meals on campuses, and the administration is meeting them halfway.

Authorities are ready to support students’ ideas; students are interested in suggestions for a plant-based menu. Specialists from vegetarian establishments can recommend meals suitable for the campus canteen. Students can be captivated with a plant-based menu due to a tasting; popular promotions include giving away delicious plant-based food kits. There are several examples of how campuses face modern requirements. Relevant to the Jewish and Muslim student population’s food preferences, the Boston University campus serves kosher and halal meals (Williams). Furthermore, several establishments such as the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts Amherst include products from local farms (Williams). The campus dining hall organization provides a chance to present values and commit to the campus community.


To sum up, the problem of organizing student meals is associated with the formation of a healthy generation. These are some steps that should be considered, including cooking, organizational matters, and a menu for students. Nevertheless, the organization of balanced nutrition at Watauga Campus is in demand by students. It would bring substantial benefits in improving the level of health and rationalizing the general daily routine. Installing a cafeteria with physiologically correct nutrition has a crucial educational value, illustrating rational diet principles’ practical application, increasing future specialists’ orientation.

Works Cited

Avant, Mary. Why Cafeteria-Style Service is Trending. QSR, 2017.

Choi, Jinkyung. “Impact of stress levels on eating behaviors among college students.” Nutrients 12.5 (2020): 1-10.

Lugosi, Peter. “Campus foodservice experiences and student well-being: an integrative review for design and service interventions.” International Journal of Hospitality Management 83 (2019): 229-235.

Naicker, Ashika, et al. “Workplace cafeteria and other multicomponent interventions to promote healthy eating among adults: A systematic review.” Preventive Medicine Reports 20 (2021): 1-29.

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Report: Vegan Options Skyrocket on College Campuses. PETA, 2019.

Vegan Report Card. PETA, 2021.

Williams, Cobretti. The future is served: The evolution of campus dining. HigherEdJobs, 2019. Web.

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