The cost of “college kid food”

“College kid food.” When the words are heard, what usually comes to mind are things like a block of ramen noodles, pop tarts or the double shot Starbucks drinks that someone could buy from a vending machine. The reason for eating these foods instead of a meal with vegetables and all the fixings is usually because it is the cheapest food to get on a budget. 

But what are we really putting in our bodies? On my recent trip to Meijer, I picked up six foods that would be perceived as a “college kid foods.” Along with writing about the general calories, sodium and other health factors, I will be rating the food from a Weight Watcher perspective. Weight Watchers generally have a set of points to go by and every food has a number of points its given. For example, for a day I am given 23 points to go by.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the chosen foods.

Chef Boyardee Mac and Cheese: One bowl of this pasta, which is listed as “pasta in cheese sauce,” is six points and contains 7.5 oz of food. For a small container, it is pretty heavy which means either a large amount of cheese sauce or a large amount of pasta. Listed as having no preservatives, this bowl of mac and cheese has 200 calories per serving, but has 690 mg of sodium. It has 10 mg of cholesterol and 140 mg of potassium.

Pop Tarts, S’mores: These pastries are sold all over campus and are one of the easiest to turn to outside of Nutrigrain Bars. The Pop Tarts I got have the regular amount of frosting and are listed as “naturally and artificially flavored” and are 8 points per pastry. So, if both are eaten, it comes to a total of 16 points. They have about 210 mg of sodium, 200 calories per serving, 5 g total fat and 3 g of protein. 

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken Flavor: These are the prepackaged squares of ramen and come in either single packs or bulk. A full package is listed as 13 points, again, eating up most of my points for the day. This specific pack has 830 mg of sodium, about 35 percent, and have 190 calories per serving. There is 7 g of fat and it has 26 g of carbs. Ramen has less sodium than The Original Cup Noodles, which has 1030 mg.

Starbucks Frappuccino Chilled Coffee Drink, Vanilla: This drink and others like it are found in vending machines all over campus. A single bottle is 14 points on the Weight Watcher scale and has 290 calories per serving. The total fat is 4.5 g, the sodium is 150 mg, it has 53 g of total carbohydrates and 46 g of sugars. A Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte has about 4 points in it and is one of the lowest point drinks on the menu.

Lean Cuisine Craveables, Pepperoni Pizza:  This pizza is located in the freezer section and says on the packaging that it has 20 g of protein. It has 410 calories, 620 g of sodium and 310 g of potassium. Though it seems to have quite a lot of protein, this pizza has 12 points per package. These sort of frozen dinners are easy to eat and make, giving it appeal to people who have little time on their hands.