Interview with West Virginia University Student Hillary Long
By Kristyn Zylka
Millennials have quite an appetite! With the purchasing power of more than 80 million individuals, it is no surprise that their eating habits are being closely watched by the food industry. In terms of food trends, perhaps no other generation is more obsessed with snacking than the 18-24 year old demographic. Unlike their parents and grandparents who were used to having three square meals per day, millennials enjoy snacking between meals, and sometimes snack throughout the entire day. They are the main reason why the global snack market is expected to grow by 7% per year through 2015.
With 5 million college age students at more than 650 campuses, nationwide, BNCM wanted to get the real “Beat on the Street”, so we reached out to our millennials, and asked them, “What are you craving?”
BNCM interviewed Hillary Long, a Second Year Master’s Degree Student in English Literature at West Virginia University, and asked her about her “Millennial Cravings”.
BNCM: As a full-time student, how would you describe your eating habits and snacking habits?
HL: My eating habits have changed a lot since I started college. My Mom was a wonderful cook, so I was used to home cooked meals growing up. My freshman year away at school was like a “second childhood” for me. I ate whatever I wanted. I developed really poor eating habits – lots of food with high sugar and high fat content. I began not feeling well because I was not eating right. So I decided to try to seek out healthier food options.
Now, as a graduate student, I am living off campus and I try to cook more at home, in my kitchen. Buying food and snacks can get expensive, so I have to be very conscious of my choices.
BNCM: What are your greatest challenges with eating healthy away at school?
HL: I have a very busy schedule with my graduate classes, research in the library, and a part time job at the bookstore. There is no time for a sit down meal – especially for breakfast and lunch. I am a self proclaimed snacker. I like sweet snacks and chocolate snacks. It’s tempting to grab something quick that may not be the healthiest choice.
Now, since I am more likely to read labels and seek out healthy options – avoiding things like trans fats and other artificial ingredients, I can “graze” all day. My purse is a veritable “Mary Poppins Bag” of snacks ranging from cereal, muffins, and nuts to fresh fruits and veggies.
BNCM: Do you have a favorite go-to healthy snack? What’s the easiest way for you to grab a healthy lunch?
HL: I used to grab a Pop Tart every morning. Since I want to make healthier choices, I have been trying to eat more nuts and dried fruits lately. Now, KIND Bars are my favorite go-to healthy snack. I LOVE THEM! I first tried them at the bookstore. They are my favorite granola bar in the world! I like the fact that they have a low calorie count, the small portion size really fills me up, and since they are chock full of healthy nuts and grains, I know I am putting “good fuel” into my body. I also admire what they are doing with the organic movement by sourcing organic ingredients.
KIND Bars have been part of a free sampling program at the bookstore. Many students come into the bookstore to by a notebook, a textbook or school supplies, but they are very excited when they get anything free at the register, especially a full size sample product. When we have free samples, we have a lot of excited customers. Many of the students who did not previously know about KIND, now love the product and buy it at the bookstore on a regular basis. I am one of them!
BNCM: What is the best little know secret about Barnes & Noble College bookstores?
HL: I think the bookstore has changed a lot over the past few years. It has become a greater gathering place on campus. The Café provides a great atmosphere and also gives students a place to relax, and grab a healthy sandwich or hot coffee on their way to class.
Also, since I work at the bookstore, I know that the store managers go to great lengths to really listen to customers, and “keep it local”, in terms of merchandise, books and our social media outreach. It is the personal attention and the great sense of community that makes our bookstore unique.
Hillary is a second year English Literature Master’s student at West Virginia University (Let’s Go Mountaineers!). She is a self proclaimed book hoarder who adores everything literary from the classic works of such authors as Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde and O. Henry, to more contemporary authors like Phillipa Gregory and Toni Morrison. She hopes to one day use her master’s degree to teach and share her love of literature with others. She has worked for Barnes & Noble for 5 years. She is active in Russian and French clubs, She has studied abroad in both Romania and the Czech Republic, became president of WVU’s English honorary Sigma Tau Delta, and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In her spare time she is working on getting her pilot’s license and she loves attending WVU football games, hiking and camping, cooking, internationally traveling, and of course curling up with a good book!