BYU is stone-cold sober but snacking on sugar

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BYU students with meal plans often spend leftover funds at vending machines.

BYU has ranked No. 1 “stone, cold sober school in the nation” for the 17th time in a row, but it can compensate for the alcohol-free environment with sugar options galore.

BYU ice cream is a Provo staple, and lines at the Creamery on Ninth sometimes spill out the door. With 45 flavors, from Banana Nut to Whoosh! Cecil, the Creamery sees many families, students and couples.

“That’s totally my go-to date,” said Christopher Gallacher, a senior who works at the Cannon Center.

The Creamery scoops out approximately 60 three-gallon tubs of ice cream per day. That’s 180 gallons of ice cream per day. Ice cream purchases from vending machines, concessions stands and in bulk from the Creamery bring that total even higher.

“I like Graham Canyon ice cream. But who doesn’t?” said freshman Lisa Skousen.

BYU is also famous for its chocolate milk and cookies ‘n’ cream milk. The BYU Store is well known for fudge, caramel corn, Cougar taffy and chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. BYU also produces a 1,328 foot-long Cougar Tail maple bar each year.

If the Creamery ice cream, snacks at the BYU Store and sports concessions are not tempting enough, the vending machines might lure in even the staunchest health nut. Starving students on campus sometimes resort to sugary snacks when unprepared during a busy day.

Sage Hoyt, a sophomore, eats at the vending machine as a last resort when she has not packed anything to take with her.

“I like to get the trail mix because there’s not quite as many carbs in that,” Hoyt said. “They have some healthier options down there (at the JFSB), so I’ll go there.”

Freshman students may fall victim most often to the vending machines. Helaman Hall students are required to have meal plans because their rooms do not have kitchens. Leftover money from meal plans often leads to vending machine raiding parties.

To help students eat healthier, BYU vending created Snack Smarter labels. Snacks that qualify as Snack Smarter foods have 10 percent or less of their calories from saturated fat, 35 percent or less of their calories from fat and 35 percent or less of total product weight from sugar.

“I don’t know if it does much good,” Hoyt said. “They (Snack Smart labels) are on things that people would probably know are healthier anyways.”

Vending machines on campus carry ice cream, chips, soda and candy. But healthy options are available. Cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, carrots and celery, pretzel chips and hummus, beef jerky and no-sugar-added apple sauce are among choices that contain more protein and less sugar.

BYU’s all-you-can-eat cafeteria, the Cannon Center, offers a variety of treats any time of day. Freshman Daniel Williams has the Open Doors 7 Meal Plan, which allows him to frequent the Cannon Center.

“I’ve definitely eaten more,” Williams said.

Cannon Center workers, including Gallacher, see freshmen like Williams on a daily basis. The Cannon Center aims to provide balanced meals and incorporate all the food groups.

“You’ve got your fresh fruit … it’s not all just sweets,” Galacher said. “I’m pleased with it.”

Williams said the salad and fruit bar is one of the most crowded places in the Cannon Center, but that he still finds his way to the desserts.

“The options are there,” Williams said. “But I do find myself going to the dessert section a lot.”

Stephen Smith, a freshman living in Helaman Halls, agreed that in a competition between broccoli and mint brownies, the brownies will win.

“They have healthy food, but it’s tempting to go for the other options as well,” Smith said of the Cannon Center.

Although alcohol and caffeine are out of sight on the BYU campus, it takes effort to eat healthfully while surrounded by tasty temptations.


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