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There are more options than ever, but they come at a price
This story is from the 132-page Maclean’s University Rankings, on sale now.
Katie Cvitkovitch, a second-year nutrition student at Ryerson University in Toronto, knows how to spot a healthy meal. One evening in September, she assessed the options in the dining hall on the first floor of Pitman Hall residence. For $13.25, she could buy a grilled chicken-breast sandwich, a side garden salad with fat-free dressing and a bottle of diet iced tea. It cost the same as the deadlier deep-fried version, with fries and a Sprite. As a former vegan, Cvitkovitch was pleased to see vegan shepherd’s pie beside the meat- and-potatoes version. Even the Tim Hortons on campus carries a vegan wrap. Cvitkovitch gives Ryerson’s food a high rating.
Her classmate Deanna Chong, also in nutrition, gives Ryerson decent marks too. She had no trouble finding a balanced meal: a turkey wrap, milk and a melon cup for $14.28. (Those with meal cards pay five to 15 per cent less.)
Still, neither student eats much at the campus dining halls or fast-food outlets run by Ryerson Food Services, the main food provider on campus. “Lunch is like 10 bucks and dinner is like 15,” says Cvitkovitch, “so that’s $25 a day that I don’t have.” A student who managed to spend $5 less daily for one academic year would save roughly $1,000.
Universities once had a reputation for offering unhealthy food, and not enough choice. But as the heat lamps and deep fryers are replaced with vegan alternatives and halal meats, some students say they have a new problem: it’s too expensive to eat on campus. Whether food is provided in-house (via a combination of school-owned franchises and old-style dining halls) or contracted out to a single institutional provider, universities are finding it difficult to meet the multitude of demands while also keeping prices in check. Continue reading The new beef with campus food