Human personality is shaped as a result of one’s experiences in life. Living away from family for some period of time is a learning experience for many students as it leaves some long-lasting experiences during their hostel lives.
Equipped with this new lifestyle, a student supposedly becomes competent enough to live independently and picks up some important lessons along the way on how to compromise with other students and roommates in order to facilitate a harmonious and conflict-ridden environment.It is common knowledge about students facing many difficulties and crises during their stay in hostels like financial crunches, adjusting with others, self-helplessness, distress, alterations in one’s eating and sleep routine, cleanliness, lack of healthy food and countless other issues. However, the one issue that tops everything else on the list is the quality and availability of food. Or in other words, it is the availability of healthy food that becomes a source of worry to many a hostel student. Hostels are usually located far away from the city/town areas and hence the availability of alternate food other than hostel food becomes a major issue. Hence, the question is how anyone gets to eat what is served on their plate, sans any questions asked. Despite the never-ending issues of a hostel life, several kinds of research conducted on hostel lives show that the humane qualities of empathy together with altruistic behaviour and emotional stability are more seen in hostel students as also the environment gives more opportunities to socialize among fellow students than in any other educational or social setting. What Are Food Issues One Has To Face While Living In A Hostel? Food-reated issues can be depressing to many a college student at first especially when he/she is new to the environment, hands down. Here are some challenges and the possible solutions that a student can have while facing food constraints in their hostels: As one can even manage the first few months spent away from home without any craving for home-cooked food. Nonetheless, this cannot go on forever as eating food from the college cafeteria and restaurants twice or thrice every day starts to become frustrating and eventually students crave for home-cooked food no matter what it is. The unavailability of home-cooked food and the inability to have it in a hostel will lead one to a bad mood in the end. What entails, as a result, is homesickness that deteriorates the academic performance of a student. In this atypical scenario, the realistic solution one can seek is to befriend day scholars who can offer home-cooked food once or more a week. Though hostel mess food is not such a mess as it is believed to be, it can still make a world of difference to someone who is habituated to eat homely and hygienic food in his life. Even if the mess menu is balanced and thorough, it still makes for a severe contrast compared to the quality of home food and in turn, can even aggravate and add to the stress that results in due to the shift in one’s living environment from home to a hostel. It is also another dire state of affairs to deal with when food theft is one of the things that happens sometimes in a hostel. Particularly, if one shares a communal fridge with several people having various ethics then there are chances that someone might believe they can own for themselves to anything in there. Vegetarians too face a lot of trouble sharing their meals or even sitting next to someone who eats mostly non-vegetarian food. Some may even have to settle for non-veg food if they don’t get to eat vegetarian food in their hostel premises or surrounding areas. Ultimately, the issues with regard to hostel food can get resolved when the people’s point of view who eat in a private mess is taken into account on the grounds like if they are satisfied with food quality, items, quality of service, value for money, and cleanliness along with sound hygiene practices being in place. What Points To Be Mindful Of During One’s Stay In A Hostel? It is not unusual to find hostel inmates grumbling or even protesting about the grave quality of food served in their hotel mess. The reason for this is that food in most hostels is supplied by private contractors who are singled out on the basis of the lowest charges rather than food quality. In some places, it is observed that the contractors do not have an FSSAI license or registration. These food contractors have no knowledge of either food safety or the best quality practices and continue to put at risk the health of young students and office going youngsters who are staying in youth hostels or in bachelor accommodations. All stakeholders must be wholly aware of food safety and nutrition so that hostel inmates get quality, nutritious and safe food. Without having a proper knowledge of food safety guidelines, it can be very tough to prepare and manage food for bulk consumption in a safe manner. Lack of realization regarding wrong food preparation or poor hygiene practices could easily spoil the food, thus adversely affecting the health of countless hostel inmates. One must inquire whether the right food safety practices are followed in a hostel or no by looking at some of the food safety requirements that are easily overlooked in hostels like the following:
- Insufficient kitchen amenities
- Awful sanitation conditions in kitchens and storage spaces
- Untidy kitchen utensils
- Improper and crude waste disposals
- Licensed or registered food operators on contract,
- Only qualified personnel who are well aware of personal and community hygiene,
- Food handlers who are medically certified infection-free from any contagious diseases,
- Testing all the raw as well as cooked food samples in a certified food testing laboratory.
All For Oats And CornflakesA complex source of carbohydrate like oats will be of an immense blessing for one in their hostel life. They are a quick meal too, as they come with a no-cooking benefit. One can pour boiling hot water or milk and oats/corn flakes are ready to eat. Be Protein Savvy Fulfilling one’s daily protein intake is a major hurdle for hostilities and they can take the following steps to ensure they don’t miss out on their protein levels in their body:
- Eat 15 boiled eggs all through the day which can greatly boost the level of protein.
- Buy packet paneer and add to dals/curries making them rich in protein.
- Protein Supplements and powders work well as they have almost nothing to do with the cooking part that could kill the essential nutrients in one’s diet.
- Buy whey protein as it is safe and natural and irrespective of gender and activity level, anyone can consume it as it has no side effects. It particularly comes to rescue those students who are looking for weight loss or muscle gain through their workouts.
- Choose vitamins and minerals – Irrespective of the fitness goal, having salads are the best choice to have before one gets to begin their actual lunch or dinner as it will help in reducing a lot of fat. As an added benefit, salads bestow essential vitamins and minerals that will help keep the nutrients in one’s body to the desired degree.