Skip Class, Not Breakfast

By Cynthia Dagenais

It is 9:15 a.m. on a weekday at Marist.  Some students are sleeping-in before their afternoon classes.  Others are just waking up for their morning classes, or returning from 8 o’clock classes barely awake and ready to collapse onto their beds and go back to sleep.  In various upperclassmen townhouse kitchens and the dining hall, the sounds of crunching cereal and smell of eggs and bacon emanate the campus.  It’s breakfast time at Marist College.

Everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when students are in college, it is very hard to keep a healthy diet due to the late-night snacking after hours of studying, or even early classes that students nearly miss from waking up 5 minutes before it starts.  Many students feel as though there is not enough time to sit down for a healthy meal and instead either grab a doughnut on the run or skip breakfast altogether.

“Breakfast is something I look forward to when I wake up,” said Andrew Clinkman, sophomore and Class of 2011 president.

“Depending on the day, I sometimes eat an egg and cheese omelet, cereal, toast with peanut butter or regular butter, or a bagel with cream cheese.  It depends what I feel like eating.  I just like eating in general,” said Clinkman.

“I don’t eat breakfast. I used to eat breakfast. I don’t have time for breakfast,” said Andrew Fritzer, sophomore singer of the Marist’s all-male A Capella group, Timecheck.

Fritzer and Clinkman are residents of Foy Townhouses and tend to cook meals in their own kitchen.

“It’s not worth going to that part of campus when I can buy eggs for cheaper and make them myself,” said Clinkman.

While Clinkman acts like his own chef over in Foy, Marist’s main dining hall, located in the student center, is cooking some of the same foods, but for hundreds of students each morning.

“Breakfast is a popular meal here,” said Suzanne Rizzo, “we usually have over a thousand students who come through here in the morning,”

According to the cash register receipts, this past Thursday between 7:30 to 11:00 a.m., a total of 601 students swiped into the cafeteria for breakfast.  Depending on the day, the number of swipes for breakfast can be higher or lower than the statistics for last Thursday.

The dining hall has a variety of foods available: assorted cereals, fruits, bagels, toast, English muffins, eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, home fries, doughnuts, yogurt, granola, muffins, and made-to-order omelets.

“The best breakfast they have [in the cafeteria] is waffles.  The wafflemaker is great, you put the batter onto the hot pan, turn it over, and wait until right before it beeps, and then take it out so it’s nice and soft.  Put apple sauce and maple syrup on top, sit down, and dig in,” said Ben Colsey, a sophomore living in Midrise.

Rizzo said that some of the most popular breakfast foods served in the morning are cereal and omelets, “especially those omelets made by Tracey [a morning-shift cook].”

The cafeteria is open from 7:30 to 11:00 am for breakfast on weekdays, and 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekends.  For those students who do not have a set meal plan, a swipe of your Marist ID during the breakfast hours costs $4.50 for an unlimited amount of food per meal.

Although Sodexho, the catering service that provides the food for Marist’s dining hall, offers many choices of food to eat for breakfast, are they all good for you to start off your day?

According to Nutrition and Eggs,  eggs are an “eggcelent” source of protein and contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.  Eggs also contain cholesterol, not as much as you might think.  Cholesterol is important in many aspects of the human body’s function, including the maintenance of cell membranes, and production of sex hormones, cortisol, Vitamin D, and bile salts.

Cereals can either be great breakfast choices, or one of the worst.  Most cereals contain massive amounts of sugar.  The dining hall offers both sweet “kid” cereals such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, and the adult-marketed cereals for you to choose from, such as Special K.  According to AOL Health, cereals containing whole grains, nuts, and fiber can reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.  General Mills guarantees whole grains in every box of cereal.  Whole grains contain antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, and carbohydrates; these help protect cells from getting damaged, provides normal bowel movement, helps to build our bones and muscles, and provides energy for the body, respectively, according to the General Mills website. When looking at nutrition information for cereals, look for boxes containing whole grains and less sugar.

General Mills cereals with whole grains (Photo from https://i2.wp.com/ryanmay.com/images/Gen_Mills_Image.jpg)

General Mills cereals with whole grains (Photo from http://ryanmay.com/images/Gen_Mills_Image.jpg)

Bagels are not generally considered to be healthy choices for breakfast due to the amount of calories and carbohydrates they contain.  The carbohydrates in bagels can quickly turn to fat, according to Associated Content, and can make you hungry for more food after consumption.  The worst part is that the toppings usually put on a bagel tend to be high in fat and calories, especially when used in excessive amounts.  For example, a plain bagel with cream cheese from Dunkin Donuts contains about 500 calories, according to the site.

Since last year, the Marist dining hall provided nutritional information on the various foods available for students to eat.

“We’re trying to go green and help the environment, and everything indicates calories and how much sodium, sugar, fat, etc. is in the food,” said Rizzo.

Rizzo also believes the dining hall offers healthy choices for the students.  “The new flavored water machine encourages those who don’t like water to drink it,” said Rizzo.

What is the best breakfast? According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent to CNN’s health website, the “A+ breakfast” is oatmeal with skim milk, a half-ounce nuts, berries, and orange juice.

“This is the ultimate breakfast because you’ve got a whole grain in the oatmeal, a protein in the skim milk, heart-healthy fats in your nuts, and the berries are a great source of antioxidants. You can wash the meal down with a nice glass of orange juice, which is loaded with vitamin C and potassium,” Gupta wrote on the site.

There are pros and cons to every type of food, but it is up to the student to choose what is best to start off the day.

For healthy breakfast tips, go to http://weightloss.about.com/od/eatsmart/qt/betterbreakfast.htm.

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