Why I Hate Meal Hall

When walking into meal hall a year ago for my first campus tour, I was amazed by the large, open space, the abundance of food, and the concept of “My Pantry.” The description of fresh, full salad bars, healthy sandwich stations and the idea that I could cook my own food was one of the main attractions of Acadia.

After spending my first night on campus, I was looking forward to waking up to a fresh, healthy, simple breakfast of plain yogurt and muesli, maybe some fruit and a glass of pure orange juice. To my horror I was faced with Mystery Meat, French toasted waffles, potatoes, sausages, rubber eggs, yogurt with more sugar than Ben and Jerry’s, and orange juice that came out as a bright, orange substance immersed in water. And as I searched for muesli, I instead discovered Lucky Charms and Cheerio’s; not a healthy oat in sight. Horrified, I went into town to buy breakfast supplies for my room and have not been back for breakfast since.

Dinner was much of the same, with dry old carrot sticks, dying celery and creamy fat and sugar-rich salad dressings. Pizza, fries, burgers, perogies, ice cream, cookies and brownies were plentiful. Settling for lettuce, cucumbers, and chickpeas, I ate my disappointing dinner with looks of disdain and confusion from other students, who were relishing the opportunity to stuff their bodies with fat and sugar.

Meal hall isn’t a completely rotten institution – it employs the lovely idea of sourcing local foods and supporting local farms, and provides ample vegetarian options. It does its best to please a very large population of students, which is hard considering the diversity this beautiful campus provides. Reducing myself to the lowest meal plan available, (only 5 days a week), I am still paying $4000 just to eat chickpeas and lettuce since students cannot cancel their meal hall subscription while living on campus. This waste of money means I am unable to buy myself the healthy, fresh food I want unless I move off campus in my first term.

There are many simple things that could significantly improve meal hall. A station of just “plain food” with the same set-up as a salad bar is one option. Providing plain oven roasted chicken breast with no flavourings, plain brown rice, plain roasted vegetables at night, and plain yogurt. Include some real juices, muesli and seeded breads such as rye, with low fat spreads in the morning. Simply providing real meats daily, not the heavily processed meats found in the sandwich bar and simpler, plain foods year-round would improve meal hall significantly. Then, students could at least have the choice of making their own meals without consuming the additional fat and sugar.

So good-bye, Wheelock. The risk of never becoming a meal hall crush is one I’m willing to take if it means I can avoid the next mac and cheese day.

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Settling for lettuce, cucumbers, and chickpeas, I ate my disappointing dinner with looks of disdain and confusion from other students, who were relishing the opportunity to stuff their bodies with fat and sugar.

I’m sorry the eating habits of the majority of students aren’t good enough for you. I’m also sorry that you feel the need to concern yourself with it- lots of wasted energy you could be using to fresh squeeze your own orange juice.
I was one of hundreds (thousands?) of students that were happily fed daily.

Have you ever made a formal complaint or discussed this with the kitchen managers? I dont go to wheelock, but in other meal halls they’ve been understanding, if not fully accomodating to my dietary needs.

I am a very healthy eater. I am vegetarian and lactose intolerant and Wheelock hall has always been incredibly accomodating for my restrictions. Thanks to dining at wheelock, I am able to eat a healthy diet consisting of avocados, fresh fruit, almond milk and fresh spinach and more. These are all things I have difficulty affording off campus. I spend time in my pantry cooking up healthy pasta meals and stir frys, make pita pizza’s topped with goats cheese and feta, and have huge salads with freshly chopped veggies topped with balsamic vinagrette and pumpkin seeds. I am on my third year of having some amount of a ameal plan, and although Wheelock is not perfect, I have been able to continue my healthy lifestyle because of them. The managers are always VERY happy to help you figure out how to make the most of meal hall if you feel you cannot eat healthily, and I would encourage you to do your research and talk to the staff before publishing such an offensive post.