Eating Habits for Graduate Students

What are the factors that influence graduate students’ eating habits, specifically their decision to eat home meals versus eating from vendors on campus?

Many factors influence a graduate student’s eating habits. The factors vary from individual, social, to financial and sometimes physical. Every individual decides what best works for them in terms of maintaining a diet. In most cases, graduate students choose what to eat based on their personal budget, time at their disposal, and convenience. However, there is an additional factor to consider in terms of their eating habits. There are students who particularly prefer to eat on campus from vendors and some prefer to cook and eat at home. Eating from the vendors, in the end, is cheap and convenient for most graduate students who have to work to ensure that they can maintain their lifestyles and pay for school. Therefore, research is necessary to establish what informs the choices of graduate students on their feeding habits and why they choose to either eat at home or eat from the vendors on campus. This research is going to focus on determining what informs the decisions of graduate students on whether to eat outside or cook and eat at home.

The eating habits of graduate and urban students are informed by their preferences of eating where it is convenient for them. Urban students are also likely to be attracted by the wide range of food that is available from the vendors on campus and that it is always readily available and gives them an opportunity to interact and entertain friends (Harnack & Rydell, 2009). For an urban student, time is of the essence and therefore, whenever they can get something that will save time for them, like ready food from vendors, they definitely would not cook at home (Abuzaid, 2012). Every graduate and urban student at some point in the day east food bought from vendors because of the activities they take on every day. Being on campus and having to go to work after school leaves them with little time to go home and cook. Some may also not have the supplies to cook a decent meal in their houses making it easy to eat from vendors. The urban and graduate students may have a liking for eating and home but the logistics do not favour their preferences.

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Graduate students are in a stage of their lives where they are likely to be concerned about their well-being and want to eat healthy food. Most graduate students want to eat healthier food and prefer to buy salads for their quick on the go meals or make their meals at home, however the urban students may find cooking at home being a bother. The choice to eat at home sometimes is unachievable due to lack of enough time and resources to sustain the habit. In the event where the money is not a challenge, a graduate student can cook at home while their counterpart urban student will purchase more organic fast food which is costly. Studies show that people who cook at home eat healthier, which may not be a factor urban students consider when deciding where to eat (John Hopkins Bloomnerg School of Public Health, 2014). Personal choice matters for graduate students and their preference of where to get their food from. There are challenges eating out eliminates for the students; the preparation, storage, and methods of cooking may be designed in a way that the clients like the flavours, the packaging, and the convenience of eating food from vendors. Urban students are generally more likely to prefer to eat outside than cook at home because of the responsibility that comes after the process.

Eating out has its advantages and students who cannot afford to cook in their homes have options. Some graduate students have barely any time between their classes and work to prepare home cooked meals and at the same time, food from vendors is cheap and affordable for them (Deliens, Clarys, Bourdeaudhuij, & Deforche, 2014). Therefore, some prefer to eat home-cooked meals occasionally when they can spare time to cook. For some, they prefer to eat on the go to save time and take more and longer shifts at work. In addition to being busy, some lead lifestyles that cannot allow them to eat at home (Vaida, 2013). It is generally considered that constantly eating out is an unhealthy habit that is detrimental to the health of the students in the long run but people have different beliefs. More women than men would be keen on eating home cooked meals to ensure that they maintain their weight levels and eat what they think is good for them. Generally, women have been reported to eat healthier than men, which does not necessarily mean cooking at home (Shiferaw, et al., 2012). The personal preferences of urban and graduate students make their eating habits vary and that almost balances out the number of people who prefer to eat out with those who prefer to eat home-cooked meals.


Abuzaid, O. L. (2012). Eating Paterns and Physical Activity Characteristics Among Urban and Rural Students in Saudi Arabia. Nutrition and Health Sciences Dissertations and Theses.

Deliens, T., Clarys, P., Bourdeaudhuij, I. D., & Deforche, B. (2014). Determinants of eating behaviour in university students: a qualitative study using focus group discussions. NCBI public health, 10.1186/1471-2458-14-53.

Harnack, L., & Rydell, S. (2009). Why Eat at Fast-Food Restaurants: Reported Reasons among Frequent Consumers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 20066-2070.

John Hopkins Bloomnerg School of Public Health. (2014, November 17). Study suggests home cooking is a main ingredient in healthier diet. Retrieved from John Hopkins Bloomnerg School of Public Health:

Shiferaw, B., Verrill, L., Booth, H., Zansky, S., Norton, D., Crim, S., & Henao, O. (2012). Sex-Based Differences in Food Consumption: Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) Population Survey, 2006–2007. Clinical infectious diseases, 453-457.

Vaida, N. (2013). Prevalence of fast food intake among Urban Adolescent Students. The international journal of engineering and science, 353-359. Retrieved from Sweet revelations:

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