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Ryerson food services: they suck

Each weekend, you stumble down to the cafeteria or a diner to wash away the previous evening’s sins. You order eggs, bacon and some toast. Grease sits in little pools in the ripples of the bacon. You down three sugary coffees. When you’re done, you wipe the oil on your pants. You feel the food coma coming on. This seems the easiest way to overcome the pain you currently feel, but the food’s bad for you and you’re probably eating too much of it. As students, it’s sometimes tricky to know how to eat well and find the time and money to do so. So every Sunday this semester, nutrition students Anna Richardson and Melissa Danchak will bring you a column on about various issues of nutrition and some simple recipes that you can make for cheap. 


By Anna Richardson and Melissa Danchak

It’s Friday, 11 am, and you’re hungry. As you walk around Ryerson’s main cafeteria, the Hub, there are only a few students sitting around the tables. As you wander through the food court, you realize your options are restricted to a wall of chocolate bars for twice the retail price, some droopy looking salads and sandwiches for $7, and mineral waters for $3.50 a pop. The hours are limited and so are the healthy options. The whole atmosphere is… depressing. You could try Pitman’s cafeteria, but it’s nearly identical to the Hub in food selection and inflated price.

Why are university food services so dismal? In our downtown location, there are almost infinite food options nearby – some students wonder why we even need food services on campus. The RSU’s current initiative on food services has yielded unsurprising results: students aren’t happy with any of Ryerson’s food options. According to a survey the RSU conducted, 63 per cent of students polled found Ryerson food services unaffordable, nearly half found it to be of low quality, and 59 per cent were not satisfied with the variety of options.

So what to do? That $4 yogurt and granola isn’t going to keep you full through to your next lecture, and you’d rather not eat cafeteria pizza and Tim Hortons every day. So here’s what we’ve come up with to help you save some cash and keep your body feeling good.


Our picks

·      Oakham Café  – Student friendly pricing, delicious meals with vegetarian, halal, and vegan options. Pre-made sandwiches are half the price of the Hub. Fully stocked café with enough options to make everyone satisfied.

·      Nearby grocery stores – Metro on Gould St. or Loblaws at the Gardens:

Pick up to-go meals, salads, veggies, fruit, yogurt and sandwiches for a fraction of campus prices.

·      Le Commensal – a 5 minute walk away at Elm and Bay, a cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant with student discounts and an array of delicious and healthy options

·      Chipotle on Yonge St. or Z-Teca on Gerrard St. – Grab a customizable burrito bowl with fresh ingredients and lots of veggies to keep you full all day


Tips for eating healthy on campus

·      If possible, bring some healthy snacks with you and avoid the greasy pizza. Try dried fruit, nuts, or an apple.

·      Avoid sodas and mineral waters – they’re overpriced and full of sugar

·      Head to a grocery store and keep a stock of non-perishable snacks in your locker or bag – such as granola bars and juice boxes.

·      Packing meals to eat on campus just takes a little planning – pick some recipes that can be eaten hot or cold or locate one of the many microwaves on campus.


If eating healthy is important to you, the RSU has set up a pledge that students can sign at to encourage the school to bring better food options to campus.


Recipe: Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad


Thinking of brown bagging it? This quick and versatile quinoa salad keeps all day and can be eaten hot or cold. Use whatever veggies and extras you have on hand for a satisfying lunch.

Adapted from Best Health Magazine

Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) red onion, diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) celery, diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) red pepper, diced
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, cooked as per package directions and cooled
1 cup (250 mL) canned chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup (60 mL) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) sun-dried or fresh tomatoes, chopped
Any fresh or dried herbs of your choice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

To a medium-sized pan over medium heat, add olive oil, broccoli, onion, carrots, celery, and red pepper. Cook until soft, about three minutes. Place in a medium bowl and add quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, sundried tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Mix together and season to taste.



  1. Naadia

    Commensal, really? Willing to bet you haven’t been to the Fat Olive!

  2. Anna Richardson

    I haven’t! I’ll have to check it out!

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