Last year, before I would go to class, I would go to the Bistro and use a meal swipe to get food. I would get a sandwich, a bag of chips, a chocolate milk, and that delicious chocolate hazelnut croissant. I loved the way the chocolate spread spilled out of that crunchy dough when I bit into it. The way croissant flakes would fall to the floor as I munched away. The melted chocolate lumps on top that just added a hint that you were eating something special. But that all changed. And not for the better.
Last Fall semester, the croissant’s status changed from being a side to an entrée. I looked at the pastry shelf in horror as I realized that if I still wanted that scrumptious chocolate hazelnut croissant, I would not be able to eat a sandwich. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pick 4 system, it allows the student to pick one entrée, two sides, and a drink. In other words, if I wanted a croissant, I would not be able to get a sandwich or a calzone, which is the most nutritious part of the meal. As delicious as they are, croissants do not fill you up, are not nutritious, and should not be considered an entrée. No one would decide to eat a croissant as the main course of a meal.
To really understand what makes an entrée and what makes a side, I decided to look at four categories: nutritional value, price, length of time I used to eat, and of course, enjoyment factor. Since I am really bad at math, I decided to enlist the help of my friend and physics and engineering major, Nathanael Hillyer ’21. For the time measurement, it is important to understand that I eat at 76 chews per minute (CPM). This was calculated by eating a bag of Lay’s© potato chips for one minute and counting how many chews I took. Hillyer also calculated I eat at a speed of 4,560 chews per hour (CPH) and 399,729,600 chews per decade (CPD, and also accounting for leap years). We decided that these numbers were unnecessary for this experiment. It is also important to note that the nutritional facts were estimated from online sources. This was done as for some reason, food from the Bistro and Gillie’s do not include nutritional facts on the packaging.
The next part is going to be a lot of numbers, but bear with me, it will be worth it. The croissant (an entrée) has 327 calories, 2g of dietary fiber, and 6g of protein. This is what is known as an empty calorie food, it has very little nutritional value and you will be hungry mere minutes after eating it. It costs $2.25 and it took me 2:10 to eat it. That puts the croissant at $1.04 per minute. I enjoyed it very much.
General Tso’s chicken (an entrée) has 330 calories, 3g of dietary fiber, and 19g of protein. In other words, the chicken had about the same number of calories as the croissant, but over 3 times the amount of protein. It also came with white rice, which like the croissant, is also an empty calorie food. It costs $5.95 and it took me 6:54 to eat it. That’s $.86 a minute. I also enjoyed it very much, and the rice was surprisingly tangy.
Next I will compare a food considered a side to the croissant. The assorted cookie bag (which I was lucky and got the one with all chocolate chips) includes three cookies, so the numbers here have been multiplied by three. Three chocolate chip cookies have 444 calories, 1.8g of dietary fiber, and 4.5g of protein. The cookies are a little bit worse for you then the croissant, but you also don’t have to eat all three at once. It took me 4:40 to eat all three cookies at $1.95. That’s $.42 a minute, which is the best value out of the three items. I enjoyed them, but they left a weird taste in my mouth.
For your convenience, I have made a spreadsheet that compares the three foods. I’m doing 20 credits by the way; I probably could have spent my time better.
|Foods||Calories||Fiber (in grams)||Protein (in grams)||Cost (in dollars)||Time to Eat (in minutes)||Cost per Minute|
|General Tso’s Chicken||330||3||19||5.95||6.54||$.86|
|Chocolate Chip Cookies||444||1.8||4.5||1.95||4:40||$.42|
As you can see from the chart, croissants are clearly not as nutritious as an actual entrée, such as the chicken. It can, however, be compared to the cookies (which if you recall, is a side), which has similar amounts of fiber and protein. The croissant is also closer in price with the cookies. The chicken would be more cost beneficial to use a meal swipe on instead of spending $5.95. The croissant also took me the shortest amount of time to eat, which leaves it with the highest cost per minute. From these figures, I think it is safe to conclude that the croissant has been mislabeled as an entrée and should instead be put back in its proper place, as a side.