The Different Types of College Eaters
The Freshman Fifteen-er
This is the one type of eater who is ecstatic about the unlimited cafeteria food and worries he won't get enough calories. He gets up much earlier than his friends for practice and hammers down an egg and bacon biscuit from the fast food joint on campus that opens at 6am before he rows for crew or goes running. Then he heads to the dining hall and eats a full breakfast. You can always spot the jock at every meal because he is the only student who actually gets glasses of milk to drink with his food. He also has a stock of protein bars and shakes in his dorm room, because his muscle mass might atrophy if he skips lunch.
The OCD student
|Pasta, cake, and coke: it is what's for dinner but the Sweet & Low in coffee makes it all okay|
The junk food junkie
|I'm not sure you have enough ketchup for your onion rings, there...|
|Not sure there are enough carbs here|
This person has more Tupperware than a 1950s housewife. Technically, you aren't supposed to take any food from the school cafeteria, but most people will grab the occasional apple, banana, or orange to snack on between classes. Others, however, more out of an urge to get their parents' money's worth out of the price of the meal plan than hunger, will go much further. They begin with taking containers of cereal from the cereal bar. Then bread, crackers, dried fruits and nuts. The Rubbermaid carafes of milk for said cereal follow (which can be kept cold on a windowsill). Even salad components like cheese cubes and nuts are fair game. The only thing that the thief doesn't steal is meat or hot food. Oddly enough, this person, despite all the stocking up, still goes to regular meals...though his attitude would seem to suggest an attempt to only darken the door of the cafeteria on a weekly basis.
The best heist I ever saw took place my freshman year when a group of kids on my dorm room floor stole an entire industrial drum-sized container of ice cream for the birthday party of a friend. We were all so impressed but it was still pretty crappy ice cream. But we were stickin' it to the MoConn Man (the name of the school cafeteria) so that made it all worth it.
This person's mother was a great cook and so he spends the entire meal time complaining about the food and saying how it isn't as good as what he ate at home, or just looking silently horrified at other people's meals. He is likely from a European family that valued food or a non-Western food culture, which makes lurid cafeteria food appear even more alien to his eyes. This also means that the junky staples that get other kids through the day like French fries don't appeal to him. He eats lots of rice or pasta (depending on his ethnicity) and lives for the care packages his grandmother sends him so he doesn't starve.
Missing in action
After the first week of orientation, this person often lapses into a totally nocturnal schedule. She might show up for coffee at breakfast (or lunch) if she is so unfortunate as to have morning classes but is usually too tired to eat. She keeps bags of junk food in the dorm like Oreos and Pop Tarts and orders in pizza or hoagies. Her parents cry when they see the food bill she runs up and the fact that the meal plan they purchased has gone totally to waste.
The anorexic often eats alone, usually some sort of meal cobbled together from the salad bar that can be calorie-controlled like celery and cottage cheese. Maybe a container of fat free yogurt, if available. The fact that she can't be sure if the cottage cheese is fat free and the absence of controlled portions worries her. Usually this only lasts for one semester and then she discovers beer which leads to drunk, compensation binge eating rather than drunk sex like most of her classmates.
The frat boy
Knows all of the inexpensive food joints to eat at around campus not because he is cheap, but to allow more money in the beer budget.
The special diet
Vegan, vegetarian, kosher, gluten-free, allergic. Regardless of what this kid's obsession of choice might be, he is really, really annoying about it and talks about it all the time because 'how' he eats is such a crucial part of his identity as a teen or young adult. Don't worry. This phase will pass.
One note: no one, and I mean, no one goes low-carb in college. Maybe low-calorie. Alcohol contains carbs as does pizza and vending machine food. So no one does low-carb.
This type is relatively new and did not exist when I was in college. This person critiques his or her cafeteria food, lobbies for more healthy and vegan options, dines out around campus at interesting ethnic restaurants, and has a food blog which showcases pictures of food. They are barely twenty years old and don't own a toaster but can talk with great authority about the locavore movement, the secret menu at In-And-Out, and why you should use room temperature butter when baking.