BY SIERRA MACIOROWSKI
Do you know that taste in your mouth after eating candy? It’s deliciously sugary, sure, but it’s also just the slightest bit too sweet, with a lingering taste that makes you feel a bit on-edge. The same happens for pizza--- deliciously salty and fat-filled, but a bit too much. And, although those tastes might seem harmless, they represent the larger problem with fatty, sugary, and otherwisely delightful foods.
Candy bars, chips, cookies, pizza, and countless sodas cover the plastic folding tables of food sales at most of our tournaments. Sugary, salty, and addicting these snacks might be, but they are far from healthy-- and, unfortunately for debaters, terrible for brain function as well. Yet, for some reason, host schools continue to sell these products at tournaments, although strenuous debate rounds require more mental agility and strength than even school itself.
Yes, the foods provided at tournaments can taste good, of course, and many debaters, perhaps, welcome the sugar-highs and sugar-lows that arise from the tournament diet. But, as most of us presumably do know, although we might hide it from ourselves, those foods don’t help our tournament performance any more than a Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Essentially, though they do give us calories of energy to get through the day, they’re rather a waste of time.
Thus, although these junk foods may be the cheapest and easiest to provide, we all would benefit from a few healthier options. Some people would, of course, probably ignore the healthy choices, and partake in the sugar-coma inducing current fare as they usually do, but the benefits for those who prefer healthier food would be many-fold. Personally, instead of buying large quantities of dried fruits and cashews from Trader Joe’s to feed my entire team, I would love for us all to have the ability to buy the snacks that we get outside from the tournament itself... in essence, host schools might gain in revenue from the more brain-concerned or health-conscious competitors who otherwise avoid the available foods.
What healthier foods could be sold? Granola bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, more fruit options... really, anything that comes from even slightly natural sources would be more conducive to the use of the brain in round than chocolate and chips. No one enjoys having a fuzzy mind during prep time, and any reduction in sugar-highs and lows would have tremendous benefits for all involved!
Of course, many host schools probably attempt to buy the cheapest foods possible, for economy’s sake; however, healthier foods don’t necessarily have to be more more expensive than junk foods, and those that are probably significantly beneficial enough to warrant slightly higher prices... fortunately, as research in the field has suggested, when healthier options are present, those options are frequently chosen-- perhaps it’s something subconscious, or perhaps it’s something purposeful, but for some reason or another, many people do tend to lean towards foods with a healthy aftertaste, rather than those foods with a side-effect of sugar-highs.
Not everyone would lean towards fruit before chips, but some would, and I am absolutely certain that some of us would prefer to fill our brains with healthy energy when we need it most.
Sierra Maciorowski debates for Sonoma Academy, and is the opinion page editor for Point of Information.