What colleges are doing to help students stave off the ‘Freshman 15’
These days, college cafeterias are more like restaurants. Make that top-of-the-line, eco-friendly restaurants with vegan options, a focus on locally grown foods, allergen information postings and registered dietitians an e-mail away to answer questions about the food. You can erase all of the horrible memories you might have about mystery meat at your alma mater. A good deal of colleges today are serving up hormone-free beef from local farms.
We did some dining-room research on some of the colleges that were named by BestColleges.com as having stand-out dining rooms. Here’s what we found.
Liberty University: At this Lynchburg, Virginia university, food choices are labeled with allergen and nutrition information. Extra credit to Liberty, too, for allowing students to use their cell phones to scan a barcode label on their meals, which then logs the nutrition information into their MyFitnessPal account. The grill area in the Reber-Thomas dining hall has veggie burgers and fresh, chopped carrots and celery. The “Simple” station has foods that are free of 7 of the top 8 allergens and that are gluten free to accommodate students with allergies. An Asian station has stir-fry filled with veggies.
Cornell College: At this Iowa school, chefs partner with local farms to bring local food into the dining halls. Eggs are cage-free. Turkey is roasted in house for deli meat. Beef and poultry aren’t pumped with antibiotics. All seafood purchases, whether wild or farmed, follow sustainability guidelines spelled out by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The school’s dining program also developed the In Balance program to make it easier for students to create a balanced plate — whether they are eating at one of the school’s cafes or at home. They can find “In Balance” icons for meals that contain a balanced proportion of whole grains, fresh veggies and lean proteins — all prepped with small amounts of healthy fats. The school also has an “Ask the Expert” website feature where students can submit their dining hall or nutrition questions to a registered dietitian.
Ohio State University: The school has 20 different dining stations across campus — but one that impresses us the most is the “courtside cafes” where students can get nutrient-boosted smoothies or healthy post-workout snacks. Ohio State also has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options at its campus dining spots. Oh, and a feature that’s not necessarily healthy, but is more of a guilty pleasure: Students can use their meal plan to order pizza and wings directly to their dorm room — a great every now-and-again splurge if they’re cramming for exams.
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