Midnight munchie madness: study shows students binge late-night
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 21:10
Sundial, Bagel & Deli and Skyline, oh my! These are just a few of the Oxford food services that deliver late at night. According to a recent study by GrubHub.com in which data from over 350 college campuses were analyzed, college students are 87 percent more likely to order late night meals than the average diner.
At Miami University, students often look to off-campus eateries for their late-night needs, and the restaurants Uptown are happy to provide for them.
Junior Kelsey Straub said that with a full schedule of extracurriculars and a 23 credit hour course load, she is no stranger to late-night eating.
“My personal eating habits are bad in general,” she said. “On days where I haven’t eaten a lot because of class or other responsibilities, I can eat a lot after 10 p.m. I guess about maybe 10 percent of my average eating happens then.”
Straub said she feels that part of the reason for the high number of late-night take-out orders is the unavailability of an on-campus eating option in the early evening hours.
“Miami doesn’t work well with the eating habits of students because if I need to eat dinner after eight then everywhere is closed,” she said. “College kids have weird hours so we eat at weird times.”
Straub said she typically wakes up before 7 a.m. and is in class or meetings until various times after 7 p.m. For her, a lot of eating happens in class breaks.
“There should be more meal options open later,” she said. “Not necessarily until midnight, but dining halls should be open at least until ten. Bagel & Deli and Skyline are the only two places I can think of that are open late. I personally feel like I end up snacking or ordering out more when I want to have dinner after all the dining halls are closed.”
While most dining halls close at 8 p.m., Bell Tower-to-Go is open until 4 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. Additionally, Sundial Pizza delivers to students as late as 1 a.m.
Senior student manager at Sundial Andrew Jenkins said he believes there are definite trends in late-night eating.
“I don’t think there is much of a trend in whether students are ordering pizza or wings, but we definitely get a rush late at night, typically on weekdays or Sundays when people are studying,” he said. “We usually get a rush around 7 or so, when most of the dining halls close. Then we get another at around 10:30 or 11 right before we close.”
Jenkins attributes the tendency to order late-night take-out to convenience and price efficiency.
“It’s college students,” he said. “A lot of them are looking for something fast and relatively cheap. It’s delivery here, so students don’t have to leave their dorms. For people with meal plans they don’t need to carry any cash. Sundial fits the bill for the typical college student diet.”
But the typical college student diet really may not be the best for their bodies, according to Nancy Parkinson, a member of the clinical faculty for dietetics at Miami.
She suggested a range of foods that college students should keep in their diets to maintain good health.
“As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I can say that eating fruits and vegetables, along with some protein sources like chicken, turkey, hummus, beans and nut butters in combination with whole grain breads, pasta or rice make for a nutritionally balanced snack or meal,” Parkinson said.
She noted that barely eating throughout the week only to consume an excess of alcohol during the weekend is particularly unhealthy.
“Calories taken in over a week’s time, and the amount of calories expended over the week, play a role in the energy balance equation, which determines if a person getting enough energy to cover activity,” she said. “Alcohol is metabolized in the body like fat in foods, so trimming calories all week, then binge drinking, only puts the energy intake versus energy expenditure, towards weight gain.”
Parkinson added that drinking a regular amount of water is an effective way to avoid illness.
“Staying hydrated, since two-thirds of our adult body weight is water, with eight to 12 servings of eight ounces water, keeps toxins from building in your system and helps fight infection,” she said.
Credit to Miami University students Brenna Haven and Bethan Miller.