Dining hall's sign displays outside of building on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 at the 459 Commons.

We come to college to begin adapting to adult life. The forefront comes in the form of education for a future career. But, it’s also the time we start living on our own and facing the resulting challenges.

One of those challenges is maintaining proper nutrition. The infamous “Freshman Fifteen” is a warning to incoming freshman to maintain good nutritional practices and regular exercise.

Good health practices are important for people of all ages. However, it’s crucial for developing young people. Scientists suggest the human body isn’t done developing until our mid 20s, so a proper diet is just as essential in college as it is in elementary school.

College is hectic and fast-paced; the process focuses more on keeping up with a flurry of assignments and deadlines than taking time to craft an excellent workout schedule.                       

Lunch breaks are a formality to some students and a myth to others. The Student Union seeks to answer the call with a variety of restaurants. They may fulfill the “fast” part of fast food, but they hardly meet nutritional standards.

The University’s web page for dining options in the Union lists a variety of restaurants offering “delicious” and “healthy” choices for dining. While the delicious aspect holds its ground, calling Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and McDonald’s “healthy” would earn you some strange looks.

While these three restaurants are far from the only choices in the Union, they are the quickest and most efficient of the bunch. When students only have an hour for lunch, speed makes a difference.

If you’re willing to wait a little bit longer for a custom experience, Create Chop’d & Wrap’d offers customized salads, wraps and loaded baked potatoes. Similarly, Einstein Bros offers more health-conscious bagels, salads and sandwiches. On-the-Geaux serves a plethora of healthy foods and features the largest variety of the three.

In addition, these restaurants give options for vegetarians and vegans. Two percent of Americans are vegetarian, and only half of one percent are vegan. As small as these percentages are, they account for thousands of people. It is unfortunate the "big three" restaurants in the Union have little to offer to vegans and vegetarians, but it is good to see others pick up the slack.

For freshmen and others who live on campus, the University has established two cafeterias. Aside from location and small differences, The 5 near the Pentagon and The 459 near Laville are highly comparable. They offer an all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner.

However, getting into these cafeterias becomes increasingly expensive as the day goes on. Visiting the cafeterias for three meals a day will cost you $28.68 plus tax. A meal plan adds convenience but doesn’t offset the price.

In our constant state of development, it's vital we take care of our nutritional needs. To this end, the University offers its fair share of healthy food options and choices for vegan and vegetarian students. However, the options are imperfect and fewer than ideal. There’s a long way to go, but the University has and is currently making strides.  

Kyle Richoux is a 20-year-old sociology student from LaPlace, Louisiana.

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