Imagine the life-altering experience of cutting into a piece of chicken or taking that first forkful of eggs from Pit or Spit, and immediately questioning whether or not it was safe to eat.
With the limited variety and questionable protein options offered at Villanova’s dining halls, it can make getting enough protein in one’s daily diet difficult. Consuming a sufficient amount of protein, especially as a college student, is essential as it allows one to build strong and healthy bones while also boosting metabolic rate. But how can anyone experience the many benefits provided by protein if the only protein sources that are available to are both limited and concerning?
The next time you walk into one of Villanova’s dining halls, know that you don’t have to eat the questionable protein available. Just a few feet away, at the campus markets, one can find a range of quick and effective options. At each market, there are many packaged protein sources, from protein cookies, small packets of nuts and a range of bars such as ONE protein bars and Quest bars. One can also get a nice cold Core Power protein drink from the refrigerated section. Each of these options will contain anywhere between 10 to 26 grams of protein, with each gram pushing you one step closer to hitting your protein goal for the day.
If someone decides that grabbing a pack of nuts is the best way to reach their protein goals, they should know that they can enhance the consumption experience. To make them feel more substantial and satisfactory, add the nuts to a snack mix, or if one doesn’t have the time, the market offers small packets of trail mixes to purchase. Personally, I am not a fan of what comes with the pre-made mixes, so I make my own. Making a mix with nuts is an extremely creative and versatile way to consume foods and snacks while also adding the benefits of protein to one’s diet.
Students can grab different resources from the market to include in their mix as well. In addition to someone’s nut of choice, they can grab a bag of freeze-dried fruit, pretzels, popcorn, muddy buddies, crackers, cookies, chips and more. What is also great about these mixes is that you have control over the amount of each food and the flavor profile. For example, they can be sweet, savory or a mix of both and can be eaten at all points of the day, whether that is a midday snack or for dessert. I will share one of my all-time favorite dessert/sweet mixes in hopes that it may spark some inspiration: one Packet Of Your Nut Of Choice, Peanut Butter Filled OR Regular Pretzels, Popcorn, Chunks Of Granola or Your Favorite Cereal, Mini Cookies and Chocolate Chips.
If you do not think having these mixes sounds appealing, there is always the option to grab a bar. But, if we are being honest with ourselves, these bars or drinks come with a questionable aftertaste or texture, making the experience unenjoyable. However, this still may be more secure than trusting the dining halls. With that being said, I want to provide a ranking of what I believe to be the best and the worst protein bars offered on campus in hopes that people will try each option and see for themselves which brand best suits them: 1. Quest Bars, 2. Kind PROTEIN Bars, 3. LUNA Bars, 4. Clif Bars, 5.ONE Bar.
The next time you find yourself at one of Villanova’s dining halls about to eat the suspicious protein on your plate, I urge you to stop yourself and think about what I have suggested. Given the few simple tips and tricks provided, I hope that students are encouraged to go on a little shopping spree at one of Villanova’s markets and try some of my various recommendations.