What’s in your lunch?

Chicken strips and fries sit under a heat lamp in the cafeteria at Saddleback College. (Betsy Johnson)

Chicken strips and fries sit under a heat lamp in the cafeteria at Saddleback College. (Betsy Johnson/Lariat)

Having to find time to sit down and eat can be a chore in itself. Living the busy lives makes finding the time even more difficult, especially when there are not many options. For most people they have to schedule in work, school or both.

For most jobs it is easy to take breaks, get lunch or bring it to work with you. But when going to school it can difficult to eat when classes are back to back. If there is an hour or so in between what options are there? For most college students who are on the go with little down time there is an option, cafeteria food.

Saddleback College student Chris, 30, has gone to the school cafeteria when he doesn’t have time for breakfast.

“I come here when I have long breaks and I’m starving,” Chris said. “But the fact that there is not nutritional menu bothers me and some of the food puts me to sleep while I’m in class.”

The cafeteria is privately run, contracted out by the college for that specific service.  Sysco and U.S. Foods are the companies that deliver the meals. James, the manager of the cafeteria has tried many times to get a nutrition menu from the two companies.

“They can’t provide one because they don’t have an accurate menu to provide,” James said.

Daniel Martin, 28, doesn’t eat at the cafeteria very often after discovering that the chow mien was “F***ing disgusting,” Martin said.

Learning how there is no nutritional menu to look over either Martin doubts he will be eating there again any time soon.

Lisa Inlow, a culinary arts instructor at Saddleback became interested in food by loving to eat good things and having fun with food while it is constantly evolving.

After graduating from culinary school Lisa started her own business preparing nutritional meals for high-end clients who were always on different types of diets. After preparing the weekly meal she would deliver the food to her clients.

“It was all healthy foods, having sauces that were reductions, vegetable purees’ or fruit juices giving it that flavor without the calories,” Inlow said.

The Food and Beverage Comity hopes to provide healthier meals in the cafeteria along with better snacks in the vending machines. Inlow, who is also part of the comity, said change will happen sooner than later when it comes to having better options.

“I believe in order for students to be successful first of all need a nurturing environment in order to be successful and second of they need to be fed well with foods that help them to study and that’s not French fries,” Inlow said.

A new class will be provided so students can learn how to grow their own foods, shop seasonally and locally.

“The best way to live is to eat yourself healthy, shop locally, when shopping in season the foods hold the highest nutrition and the value tastes better, support your local farmers,” Inlow suggested.  “It is an investment in your future.”

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