Burlap Sack: Portion sizes on campus

There are no good options for a cheap, moderately-sized lunch

Most food outlets on campus are either healthy and expensive, or have huge portions and are priced accordingly. For someone looking for a moderately sized lunch for cheap, it’s tough.

Today, food options for the average, on a budget student are slim. $13 meals are not uncommon and portion sizes have ballooned. According to a couple of studies, portion sizes at restaurants have historically increased by up to 138 per cent. It’s not too surprising as larger portions are more profitable for restaurants. With the current stats clocking in 64 per cent of Canadians as overweight or obese, this needs to be addressed. Portion sizes are one piece of the obesity public health disaster.

As someone who can’t eat that much in one sitting, it’s difficult to find a reasonably sized meal for a reasonable price on campus. Many places on campus have meals that are simply too large and/or too expensive. Only a few food outlets are meeting the needs of the majority of students. Subway and Tim Hortons come to mind; with their lines being longer than the queue for a free hot dog stand, it’s obvious there’s a clear demand for reasonably priced, reasonably sized food options on campus.

The U of A campus serves as a microcosm in demonstrating the broader characteristics of today’s lunch restaurants. Just look at the SUB cafeteria: the base meal options of Edo, Opa!, Marco’s Famous, Hula Poke, and Konz are all over $8 and have large portion sizes.

It’s disappointing that nutrition information on Konz, Hula Poke, and others are unavailable. Especially with obesity on the rise, people need to have access to information about what they are eating. It’s been demonstrated that by labelling menu items with their caloric weight, consumers eat less. If the government and the Student’s Union want to truly take health and the obesity crisis seriously, food nutrition information needs to be easily accessible and menu calorie labelling needs to be a requirement. The epidemic of expensive, huge portions needs to be addressed.

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