I love food. As a necessity to live, I like indulging in good food and I think everyone should do the same. As someone who was new to the city this past fall, I explored downtown Lincoln, trying new places by myself or discovering with my parents when they came to town. 

As a college student, it isn’t always easy to spend money on dine-in eating when there are cheaper and faster options, such as fast food. However, because local restaurants offer a wide variety of options, it is worth stepping out of your comfort zone to try new things. 

While the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus has a good amount of options for dining, I, as do many of my friends, get tired of the same meals over and over again. Since coming to college, there has been a change in the amount of schoolwork I do and how tired I am after a long day, which makes it easy to find something fast such as Chipotle or Taco Bell. However, sometimes I feel that I need to be feeding my body healthier foods that will get me through the day or week. 

I think that people should be eating locally rather than at fast food restaurants because of the benefits they provide to one’s self and the community. Having the UNL campus within walking distance of a lot of local places is great for accessibility and for grabbing a bite to eat after class. I personally find that eating local food feels healthier and in doing so, I am helping my local community. As someone who doesn’t have access to my own kitchen, eating local food gives me a sense of a home-cooked meal. Eating fast food doesn’t always give the same feeling that eating locally does. 

I love a good hamburger, and places like McDonald’s and Freddy’s are good for late night grabs when nothing seems to be open or if you are in a bind for time. However, I tend to have an upset stomach after eating fast food repeatedly. I found that the more fast food I ate, the more I didn’t feel good afterwards and I began to wonder why. 

In terms of poor nutrition, fast food tends to be made up of substances that aren’t the best for you. Eating fast food frequently can lead to short term effects such as increased blood sugar, blood pressure and inflammation. Long term effects can be Type 2 diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance. On top of the negative effects, a lot of fast foods are low in fibers needed for good digestion. 

After eating a lot of fast food low in nutrition, I tried finding local restaurants that fulfill my needs for a protein-filled meal. Honest Abe’s has become one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Lincoln that I recommend to anyone that is looking for a place to eat. I am obsessed with their truffle fries, and their burgers are to die for. You can dine in, order online for pickup or delivery or use online delivery services such as Uber Eats and DoorDash.

In addition, there are a lot of local restaurants that have happy hour deals, such as Blue Sushi and Hiro 88. This is good for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend on dining out or who are budgeting. My friends and I take advantage of our local sushi restaurants’ happy hours and I always order the Crunchy L.A. and Hawaiian Roll for under $20 — a steal if I have ever seen one. Bison Witches also does happy hours 5 days a week with $4 chips and dips and $6 samplers. If none of these pique your interest, there are still a lot of other local places that have happy hours. 

Places like the Hub Cafe use locally-sourced foods, which means fresher food that didn’t have to travel miles to reach you. Not only does eating local benefit you by consuming foods grown in your community, but it helps supply jobs to those who are harvesting the food and helping it get to your plate. 

On top of dining locally, there are a lot of coffee locations such as Reactor, Coffee House and The Mill that double as great studying spots. Anytime I find myself at a coffee shop, I am on the search for a poppyseed muffin because they are my all time favorite muffin, and the Coffee House has one of the better muffins I have tasted — if any of you know of any other places that have poppyseed muffins to die for, please let me know. Being able to combine your studies and support a local eatery is what I call a win. 

Overall, by eating local you will be benefiting your body and the environment. Though it is not always the best option in a monetary sense, there are options to save a few bucks and not break the bank. While fast food, at times, may be reasonable for certain people and situations, eating locally always allows you to try new things and get involved with the local community. 

Most fast food restaurants you can try anywhere, but the local restaurants are unique, so find one you haven’t tried and broaden your horizons. 

Alexis Goeman is a freshman journalism major. Reach her at alexisgoeman@dailynebraksan.com.