Trying to avoid the freshmen 15 can be challenging, especially when it is a student's first time making decisions about their daily meals. To help with their selection, many look for key words when selecting healthy food options.
“Fresh” is by far the top feature that students look for when selecting healthy food options. Sixty-six percent of students selected this as a top feature that they seek out, followed by multi/whole grain (39%), high protein (30%), natural/all-natural (27%), local/locally grown (25%), and organic (25%). When asked about trends in healthy eating, students were most likely to indicate that local/locally grown, organic, and GMO free were “on the way in” or gaining popularity.
What are Students Eating?
One third of students indicated that they get the daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. Sugary drinks are consumed by far fewer students with 25% never consuming pop/soda and 36% never consuming sports drinks.
Most students indicated that they snack between meals either always or most of the time. More than half rarely or never eat frozen meals and one-third rarely or never eat “fast food”. Eating on-campus food was split with 34% choosing this source regularly, but 42% rarely or never doing so.
Although 59% of students don’t follow a specific diet, some of the specific diets that students do follow are high protein (18%), low carb (15%), low fat (15%), vegetarian (9%), and gluten free (5%). Students indicated many of these diets, like vegetarian and gluten free, are “on the way in” or gaining popularity, with the exception of low fat which may be “on the way out.”
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