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COLUMN: Who killed the sack lunch?

When I was a kid, it was the mark of the cool kid to bring a Lunchables for lunch. Even though Lunchables aren’t that filling, or even have the best ingredients, it was beside the point. I was the kid with a PB & J.

For the longest time, I wanted to be that Lunchables kid. Then, one day, my parents gave into my begging, and I learned a lesson: Lunchables suck. And so does the price, monetarily and metaphorically.

I was hungry; unlike when I brought a few PB & J’s, and I knew Lunchables were more expensive for my poorer family’s budget.

As I grew older, I applied that lesson to when I was in charge of my lunch. So, the rule was I basically made my lunch for work and most of my college career.

At Mid Michigan Community College it came in handy, as there was no real food to be had on the Mount Pleasant campus; nothing cheap and healthy, I mean. Not unless your idea of cheap and healthy is a $2 candy bar from a vending machine or a gas station sandwich with over 30 ingredients I cannot pronounce.

I would spend about 15 to 20 minutes the night before classes to put together some kind of lunch for the next day. This was my typical routine. Years ago, this was considered normal.

However, I have noticed a change in the winds lately. It isn’t normal anymore. Somewhere along the line, people have gradually shifted into consumerism’s instant gratification mindset.

Coming to Central Michigan University started to change me. Toward the end of last semester, I started to do the typical college-kid lunch shuffle. On my bad days, I would spend about $10 eating out for lunch and dinner, but would at least eat eggs and a smoothie for breakfast before coming to campus.

On my good days, I’d pack a bread and cheese sandwich. I even bring water from home because I despise the chemical-tasting water in town.

I think it is a serious issue that we, as a culture, have turned over our health and pocket money to corporations to feed us. Now, we pay more than ever for convenience and it makes me wonder how many students had a resolution to save money? Or be healthier? Hell, even to lose weight?

These are all wise reasons to pack a lunch. The goal is to pack it before you are hungry and tempted to eat out.

It doesn’t have to be PB & J; it can be soup, yogurt, a cheese sandwich, an avocado, banana, whatever. But, I guarantee if you buy the ingredients to make something, you’re going to save money.

And if you make eating campus food a treat rather than a mainstay, you might lose some weight, too.

Take the challenge with me. I promise you, and myself, to do better than I have lately.

To my shunned sack lunch, I’ve missed you, my friend, and promise to treat you better from now on.

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