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Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Freshii: Good option for health-conscious Cougars


With the opening of the Student Center, Freshii offers Cougars an alternative to fast food on campus. Its menu has such options as salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, soups, frozen yogurt, juices and smoothies. | Samantha Villarreal/The Cougar

College students are notorious for their unhealthy eating habits, eating food like Ramen noodles, frozen pizza and other fast food to satisfy their appetites and accommodate their tight budgets.

Students don’t necessarily eat poorly because they crave the taste of these unhealthy foods, but often because healthy products are hard to find and outrageously overpriced.

An online poll conducted by The Cougar questioned the level of importance people place on healthy eating in their daily life. Of those who participated, 61 percent said they liked the idea of healthy eating, but that it’s inconvenient and there aren’t enough options available on campus. Additionally, 29 percent of participating students said that they make an effort to eat healthy foods and hardly ever eat food that isn’t healthy.

Seven percent of respondents said that eating healthy is unimportant to them and that they don’t ever think about how healthy their food is, and three percent said that healthy food doesn’t taste good and it’s not worth the effort.

Those who do want more convenient and healthy options on campus are buzzing with excitement at the Student Center’s opening of Freshii, a restaurant devoted to clean eating and delicious tastes. Freshii’s manifesto says that through their vision of “Eat. Energize.,” Freshii is “focused on providing fresh and nutritious meal choices that energize people on the go.”


Freshii held a few soft openings last week to prepare for the grand opening at the start of the Spring semester. | Samantha Villarreal/The Cougar

Freshii is similar to most of the other restaurants on campus in that it is fast and easy for on-the-go college students, but its focus on natural ingredients sets it apart.

“Guests can choose from chef-designed creations or customize any order to fit their specific dietary needs and preferences,” said marketing manager for UH Dining Services Amber Arguijo. “With a population as diverse as the University of Houston’s, this customization is integral in ensuring that our dining program meets the needs of campus.”

Freshii is also a good option for vegetarians on campus. Computer science freshman Darya Balybina, who is a vegetarian, said that she’s interested in this restaurant that focuses on fresh and healthy food.

“Even though I can probably get a semi-healthy burrito or something from Taco Bell, I would still love to get more options,” Balybina said. “Having more healthy eating options will be key to expanding beyond places that aren’t focused on just serving fast food as quickly as possible.”

Freshii also offers burritos that range from $5.99 to $7.49 and salads that range from $5.99 to $13.99. These prices are easily comparable to Chick-fil-A, McDonalds and Panda Express — which are sure to be primary competitors in the Student Center. In comparison, at the two dining halls on campus, it costs $9 to eat dinner without a meal plan.

Freshii is certainly a good start to an affordable and nutritious dining program, but it is still only one restaurant out of more than 30 on campus that is devoted to quality ingredients and healthy choices. For a university that had record enrollment of 39,540 students this semester, more options are not only desired, they are warranted and necessary.

Students are at the mercy of the University when it comes to their nutrition. In fact, the notoriety that surrounds college students and their eating habits might better be associated with the University itself.

“I’m not a 100 percent healthy eater, because that gets expensive no matter what, but our options on campus are usually either something that’s healthy and doesn’t taste great or it’s deep fried and covered with cheese,” said hotel and restaurant management and anthropology junior Ryan Foley. “I know a decent amount about nutrition, and the fact that we have so few healthy options on campus when a dietitian is working for us just blows my mind.”

Students should always be conscious of their food choices, but they are only able to choose the best of what is offered them. It is up to UH to provide its students with good options.

Hopefully the opening of Freshii will be a step toward a new era of clean eating at UH. Students and administration alike can work together to establish a priority on tasty, affordable and nutritious foods.

Opinion columnist Rebekah Richardson is a liberal studies freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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