Food for thought

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EAT AND SIP: The Santa Ana College cafe Simply To Go salads fruit cups are a dollar more than surrounding fast food eateries, but the Sodexo-run food vendor makes up for it with Grill 155, which offers cheaper combo meals to students, like Leslie Valenzo, than at other colleges and fast food chains in the area.

The campus cafe offers healthy choices if you’re willing to pay the price.

Eating healthy on campus might end up costing you some extra cabbage.

While fast-food options are cheaper at the campus cafe than surrounding restaurants, healthy meal options are cheaper elsewhere.

“The fruit is expensive, but I would probably eat on campus if the prices were cheaper,” Santa Ana College student Johnny Cortez said.

The average price of a chicken salad at local fast food restaurants is $5.24, about a quarter more compared to what the cafe charges.

Similarly, the price of a fruit cup at surrounding eateries is about $1.75. The cafe charges about a dollar more.

Beyond the healthy and low-fat choices, the average price at local restaurants for a cheeseburger combo meal is about $6.50, whereas Grill 155 at the cafe offers a deal for $5.39. Prices are also competitive with local community colleges in the area with Orange Coast College offering its cheeseburger combo for $6.75. Fullerton College and Mt. San Antonio Community College’s dining halls are both operated by Sodexo, so the prices do
not differ.

About 81 percent of respondents to an informal el Don poll leave campus to eat.

Six of the 11 restaurants within walking distance offer largely high calorie fast food.

“It’s like fast food. It’s too fattening and it’s bad for your health,” SAC student Justin Brunson said.

Still, students would like to see a wider range of low-calorie options with lower prices.

The cafe general manager, Eddie Correa, defends the cafe.

“We make everything fresh. The grill is not a healthy option, but we do have a lot of options that are healthy and fresh,” Correa said, pointing out the made-to-order sandwiches at Baguette Expressions.

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The Simply To Go options are also healthy, locally processed, and packaged in recyclable materials made of corn, Correa said.

As for the cost, Correa said that it has remained unchanged for five years.

EAT AND SIP: The Santa Ana College cafe Simply To Go salads fruit cups are a dollar more than surrounding fast food eateries, but the Sodexo-run food vendor makes up for it with Grill 155, which offers cheaper combo meals to students, like Leslie Valenzo, than at other colleges and fast food chains in the area.

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