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Food for Thought

Rohan Anand | Friday, February 23, 2007

My junior year of high school was my most difficult year. What got to me wasn’t the homework, or the hormones, or havoc from extracurricular activities. Rather it was another H-phrase: hunger pangs.

At my beloved alma mater, an all-male Jesuit high school in Dallas hosting 250 members per class, our lunch rotations were divided into three separate blocks to fill the bellies of ravenous young men as quickly as possible. Freshman would eat last, around noon, preceded by sophomores, who ate around 11:15.

For the juniors, however, we were the first diners at 10:30 a.m. Seniors could select any of the three lunch periods, as part of their “privileges.” We, however, were shunned by eating in a lunch window during which we could have sneaked across the street and still caught the Chick-fil-a breakfast service.

At first, the juniors were delighted to be the first to dine in our cafeteria. We could use the microwaves before they were marred by the obtuse freshmen who still hadn’t understood why foil doesn’t belong in that particular appliance. We could hoard the best Gatorade flavors from the vending machines or stock up on unlimited breadsticks first. We had a leg up on those silly underclassmen.

But we were clearly misled. By the third day of school, we noticed that our growling stomachs seemed to form a chorus during our last classes, since it had been at least five hours since our previous meal. For those last few minutes of the day, we spent more time focused on the clocks than the blackboards because of our starvation.

It was particularly bad for me as a participant in athletics. As a former rower, I couldn’t possibly grab some munchies during those 30 minutes in between the last bell and arriving at practice. Not only did I lack the time, but also I feared that my snack could potentially reappear on the rowing machines, in the weight room, or out on the water in a mid-workout.

So, I had to come up with a counter-attack, and then the idea hit me: in-class meals. Of course, the Jesuits were by no means lenient if students were caught red handed with a PB&J. It was distracting -and tempting – the teachers and students. So I had to be as surreptitious as possible, but as long as I pulled it off, I maintained sanity.

Is the story any different in college? Well, if you’re booked for class from 11-2 and find yourself in a similar dilemma, try some of these tricks I’ve acquired if you’re constantly feeling famished and hopeless:

uThe Camouflage: The healthiest and sneakiest hunger buster. Blend fruit smoothies at home and put them an opaque container. People, including the teacher, will mistake your “berry madness” for H2O.

uThe Hide-behind-the-Binder: The trump card in large-lecture classrooms. Sit in the last row, prop up a textbook to hide your snack and chow down.

uThe Stall: Bathroom stalls are always safe havens for a quick snack between classes.

uShare: Get caught? Okay, just play it cool. Offer your prof a nibble of carrot cake as an olive branch. Maybe you’ll get permission to bring some in every day.