College students have always been known to thrive on snacks such as vada pavs and samosas. But with growing awareness about health consciousness, students are now carrying healthy home-cooked meals to colleges in a bid to avoid the oily foods.
While this could spell losses for those running college canteens, some canteen owners have taken steps such as incorporating healthy food options in their menu to lure students back.
For instance, Jai Hind College, Churchgate, recently introduced fruit juices and fresh fruits’ servings in their canteen menu, while the canteen at Mithibai College, Vile Parle, has started to offer a choice of vegetable sandwiches and steamed dumplings. Buttermilk and milk have replaced sugary sodas at Jhunjhunwala College in Ghatkopar, while Ruia College in Matunga has started to serve full meals during lunch.
“Hanging out in the canteen is a campus tradition, but I prefer not to eat there, as most of the foods are unhealthy. I carry a lunch box to class every day. However, I do give into temptation once in a while,” said Pragnesh Gajjar, a BCom student of Thakur College in Kandivli.
But not all students are comfortable carrying lunch boxes to college, said Toral Jain, a BCom student, of a city college. “Carrying a tiffin box seems childish. I prefer to have something healthy like idlis in our canteen, which is hygienically prepared and served,” said Jain.
Food hygiene is also a factor that is driving them away from college canteens, say students. According to some students, many canteens are not hygienic nor are they trying to prepare healthy food. “There are no healthy foods on the college canteen menu, which makes it inconvenient for us, especially when we have extra lectures in college,” said a Bandra college student, requesting anonymity.
Ironically, some college administrations have admitted their canteens run without the Food Safety and Food Adulteration licences issued by the civic body’s health department.