It is no secret that for those depending on dining centers for most meals may have a challenging time avoiding the easy access to unhealthy choices, but eating healthy at Campus Dining is not impossible.
“We offer a variety of fruits and vegetables at each meal and two steamed vegetables with no salt or fat added at lunch and dinner,” Dianne Feasley, registered dietitian at Campus Dining, said. “We also eliminate as many sources of trans fat as possible and use only olive and canola oils in our recipes.”
Feasley said Campus Dining’s goal is to be good stewards of meal plan dollars spent, and to offer a variety of healthy options daily. The nutritional value of menu selections is at the utmost importance.
Other healthy options offered in the dining centers include skim and soy milks, fresh yogurt, the Fresh Bites section of Watterson dining that focuses on lean grilled meats and whole grains, plus a variety of popular grilled options including vegetarian burgers.
Registered Dietitian at Student Health Service, Lynne Frichtl, agrees that Campus Dining does a good job at providing healthy choices for students.
“[They] provide nutritionally balanced options and have also made it possible for students to calculate the nutritional value of their meal through [the service] NetNutrition,” Frichtl said.
The weekly menu tab on the Campus Dining website, Dining.IllinoisState.edu, provides a link to NetNutrition which provides calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein and sodium levels of all menu items, Feasley explained.
NetNutrition also provides a list of ingredients of all recipes prepared by Campus Dining staff.
Frichtl said her top three super foods to eat are berries, omega-3 and broccoli, and also recommends drinking eight, eight ounce glasses of water every day at the bare minimum. She said not to completely avoid any food; however, foods to limit include empty calories that come from fat and added sugars.
“I would also limit processed foods that have been altered to extend shelf life,” Frichtl said.
In order to avoid those tempting less-healthy options offered by Campus Dining, Feasley said to aim for variety, do not let yourself get too hungry as that leads to impulse decisions, practice moderation and slow down while eating to enjoy your food.
Although Campus Dining is aiming to provide healthy options as a main goal, they do not intend on eliminating the less-healthy options, Feasley said.
Campus Dining does not purchase organic foods, however last month they began purchasing locally grown lettuce for Watterson Dining Hall.
“It has been on a trial basis and once the trial is completed it is likely that we will expand the locally grown lettuce to more locations,” Feasley said. “We purchase a large amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh and frozen meat, fish and poultry.”