The weight of late night
Students weigh in on the primarily unhealthy options available during late night
As a college student, being awake at ungodly hours is something you get used to.
An irregular sleep schedule and all-nighters aside, you also have to deal with late night hunger and seeking out nourishment at 2 a.m.
While UB does offer a wide variety of food options, a healthier spectrum of food is non-existent once the late night meal plan is in effect.
In the Ellicott Complex food court during the late night meal plan, there are two options – Hubie’s and Sizzles. Not taking the wait in line and the wait for food into account, it’s not that bad. But if you’re a student looking to keep a balanced diet, the food available at late night can pose a problem.
“Even though I do enjoy the food offered at Sizzle's throughout the day, I do believe that the options are not the healthiest for students during the late night hours,” said Jared Gavin, a sophomore computer science major. “One may argue that students should just eat a complete dinner to avoid the fatty late night options.”
With the dreaded freshmen 15 on everyone’s minds and the general trend of college students trying to eat healthy, more students find themselves trying to find better options.
“I am aware, however, that some students may miss the dinner hours due to complex schedules and are free to eat only during the late night hours. Since this is the case for many, I believe that food options should be slightly healthier so students do not have to sleep on greasy, heavy foods,” Gavin said.
During weekends, with busloads of intoxicated students coming back to North Campus from parties in the University Heights, these restaurants offer options that will help absorb alcohol.
They they are only open late three days of the week – Thursday through Saturday.
Other students, such as Emily Scripps, a senior health and human services major, said the options are there, but you have to look for them. She said the advertisements lead students in the wrong direction.
“Sizzles and Hubie’s have healthy options, students just seem to ignore them late at night because of the unhealthy hot box options that are on display,” Scripps said.
A meal plan is worth $4.50 per meal swipe at late night – which limits pickings for a healthier, filling option.
“You can order a turkey sub on wheat, an egg white omelette with veggies or a ‘make your own salad’ at Sizzles, as well as a flatbread veggie pizza and fresh subs at Hubie’s. In the end, I think it's what is put on display and what is advertised the most that is the problem,” Scripps said.
Cheaper, in most cases, does not mean better – nor does quantity trump quality.
With the only alternative to use dining dollars in the Atrium’s Elli convenience store, many students aren’t so keen to spend their dining dollars so fast. Students tend to lean more towards cheaper options like a pizza slice or a burger.
Benjamin Blanchet, a sophomore business administration major, said students are more inclined to spend two meal swipes instead of dropping a few dining dollars.
“I find that the cheaper, unhealthy options are only available late at night because it provides a way for the school's dining services to get rid of them. With only $5 to spend on a late night meal, students are more likely to lean toward the options that have them feeling worse off because of its extremely low-priced.
While there are options, however limited, for students in their fight against the freshmen 15, students don't want to feel so hard-pressed to find these options.
“I feel like it's hard to find any sort of healthy food choices after 8:30 p.m. Sizzles has salads, but if you want to get one you would have to double swipe,” said Dylan Rosales, a junior business administration major.
Most students will plan ahead, buying extra food for the late night so they won't have to eat late night options.
“It's much easier to just swipe one meal and get seasoned fries. But all-in-all, if you're trying to be healthy after 8:30 p.m. it's just a big inconvenience,” Rosales said.
The ease and convenience of unhealthier options makes them more appealing, so curbing that extra weight might be a bit more of a task.
For now, students looking for better options are forced to stock up on protein drinks and veggies.