Students discuss healthy dining options on campus

U-News Staff

With so many choices on campus, it may get confusing for a student trying to eat healthy. Many wind up eating fast food, even though there are plenty of nutritious choices on and off campus.

Binging on an 810-calorie sandwich, law student Jeff Luther said, “Being a student at UMKC, I usually make it over to Sahara for lunch at least a couple times a month. The convenience is unbeatable and the food is always great.

I always order the same thing: the falafel sandwich with lentil soup.”

Sahara is located at 320 E. 50th St. and tops our list of healthiest dining options on or around campus.

“Sahara doesn’t stuff their sandwiches with fries but gives you the option of them on the side,” said health science student Susan Nicolette. “You can then stuff your sandwich yourself. I usually add a lot of veggies which keeps my diet under control.”

Ingredients in a Sahara falafel include a moderate amount of sodium. Other ingredients and their percentage of a normal daily requirement: vitamin A, almost 190 percent; vitamin C, 60 percent; vitamin E, 40 percent; calcium, 35 percent, and iron, 40 percent.

However, Mary Chung an accounting major, says that authentic Chinese food is very healthy and low fat, as it is mostly steamed or stir fried and little is used.

She says, “If you’re hungry for a little of Beijing and beyond — northern Chinese dumplings, buns and hand-pulled noodles or maybe even seafood vegetable soup in the style of Xinjiang’s food stalls, Kin Lin has the best Chinese food in UMKC.”

Kin Lin is located at 314 E. 51st St.

Morgan Voorshes, a health sciences student, likes to grab a bite at Einstein Bros. Bagels in Royall Hall. She said, “After volleyball practice and class, I like to have the tasty turkey and coffee blender.”

Michael McKinsey, an MBA major, was digging into into a 570-calorie chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A. Including waffle fries, his meal had a sodium content of 3,290 mg and 63 mg of fat.

“I try and work out as much as possible,”McKinsey said.” In fact, I work out a little extra when I eat out.”

Min Kim, an ESL student, was enjoying the Caramel Delight and a muffin at the Jazzman’s café and bakery in the Student Union.

“One meal is not going to define whether I eat healthy or not,” he said. “Indulging in a milkshake and fries every once in a while is not going to ruin my diet or my health. I look at my daily habits and see where I need to make small changes.”

Reshma Reddy, a computer science student, said, “You can really cut calories by watching what you drink. Every can of soda has the equivalence of about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Even specialty sweet teas can be full of sugar and empty calories. I choose sugar-free drinks, unsweetened teas and coffee, or bottled water with meals to decrease my sugar intake.”

Dr. Sylvia Stump, a registered dietician, offers the following advice: “Starting a meal with a salad or soup is a great way to increase your vegetable intake and can help you control your portion size of other items. Sauces, desserts, full-fat salad dressings and sides such as French fries are the usual culprits for calorie overload. Enjoy sauces and dressings on the side and try dipping your fork in the dressing instead of pouring it over your meal.”

Erica Martin, a sociology student, said, “I try to have at least one serving of fruit or vegetable at every meal. The Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chick – fil – A on campus offer fresh fruit in their combos, which is great. I also carry some fruit in my backpack to snack after class.”

Eating healthy does not mean “all or nothing.” A combination of healthy options with something you enjoy, or eating smaller portions of your favorite foods, can help keep you healthy. Sharing a treat with a friend is a great way to cut back.

Even not-so-healthy foods can be enjoyed every once in a while, and sometimes the most satisfying meals are the ones where you allow yourself something just because it tastes good.

Eating healthy means more than just looking at the calories and fat in a meal. More attention should be paid to foods that may be good sources of calcium and iron. An increase in the intake of fruits and vegetables helps boost the antioxidant intake. Being too restrictive with eating can be dangerous. It can lead to disordered eating patterns that are hard to break.

If you have nutrition questions or would like additional guidance in choosing balanced meals, you can meet with a student health dietitian; call Student Health and Wellness at 816-235-6133 or visit

To check calorie intake and nutrition fact data, visit

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