Cook From Scratch - Since 2001
To develop and implement these healthy initiatives was no simple task but because we cook from scratch, we can control the ingredients provided in our menu. Ultimately, our goal is to offer our guests, great-tasting healthful food options anytime, anyplace.
Trans Fat-Free Cooking Oils - Since 2004
We use only non-hydrogenated canola oil in our fryers to minimize the presence of trans fatty acids in our food. When research came out in the late 1980s linking heart disease to fats, we converted all of our frying oil to canola oil. In addition, heart-healthy olive and canola oils are used for everyday salad dressings, specialty oils for other purposes (i.e. sesame oil for Chinese cooking). In 2004, a non-hydrogenated canola oil came on the market and we began using the oil. The result is reduced trans-fats in our food.
Mercury Awareness Campaign - Since 2006
While medical experts agree that seafood is a healthful dietary choice, certain fish species may contain toxic levels of mercury. Since mercury is a known neuro-toxin, we all need to monitor our intake. Due to a lack of regulation and public information, people may be unknowingly putting themselves in danger.
Signage in our cafés directs fish eaters to the GotMercury.org calculator, which they can use to gauge their personal mercury exposure and intake risk. In addition, we try to serve the lowest mercury containing seafood in our cafés.
Healthy Cooking Initiative - Since 2007
Healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout our dining halls. In 2007, we took action to improve the health and wellness of our guests. In addition to our existing policies of using healthy cooking techniques, wholesome products and trans-fat free oils, we implemented over 25 new guidelines designed to ensure healthy offerings are available throughout our cafés. Our Healthy Cooking Initiative emphasizes the use of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains as featured ingredients, utilizes “stealth nutrition” to camouflage healthy choices in everyday food preparation, and encourages guests to choose healthy dishes through ease of access and appealing presentation. Portion sizes are based on the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats are banned from house-made foods. This strengthened our existing policies of using healthy cooking techniques and wholesome products, as a standard operating procedure. We implemented guidelines designed to ensure healthy offerings are available throughout our cafés.
Healthier Daily Choices In All Cafés
Portions are reasonable and follow the US Dietary Guidelines and Myplate. Healthier choices are available at all meals, and are prepared using healthy cooking techniques (e.g. steamed, roasted, braised, grilled) and seasoned with minimal fat and salt.
- in balance: our online menus highlight meals that have a good balance of lean protein, whole grains and vegetables, with moderate amounts of salt and fat
- simple 600: this station, ran from 2011-2013, is a fine-tuned version of in balance, guiding guests to choose an entrée and sides that will be less than 600 calories together
- well-being indicator™: started in 2013, the green arrow on our menus helps guests compare the overall nutrition between different choices; the fuller the arrow, the more nutritious the food
Whole Grains & Legumes
- Whole grains (as defined by the Whole Grain Council) or legumes, prepared using healthy cooking techniques, are offered throughout the café at every meal.
- Whole grain bread, bagels or muffins are available wherever refined versions are offered.
- Whole grains and/or legumes and/or whole wheat pasta are used daily as one of the composed salads or as a raw ingredient on every salad bar.
- Sweet potatoes are served on a regular basis including on the salad bar as a topping.
We recognize that meat and dairy contain small amounts of naturally-occurring trans fats, but we do not serve food with trans fats from processed foods. We only cook with canola oil and olive oil in our kitchens and we pledge to use:
- non-hydrogenated oil with no added tropical fats as our standard fry oil
- zero trans fat French fries, tortillas and chicken tenders
- zero trans fat butter substitute spreads
- zero trans fat house-made and purchased bakery items including packaged crackers
High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) & Added Sugars
Controversy swirls around the use of HFCS and its potentially adverse effects on health. Because it is unclear if the body processes HFCS differently than sugar but it is sufficiently clear that limiting all types of sugar is in the best interests of our guests, we have taken the stance to limit them in our offerings.
- single-serve yogurts made without HFCS are available to guests
- all cafés offer beverage choices that have no HFCS, in addition to low-calorie or calorie-free drinks
- at least two cereal selections with less than five grams of sugar per serving are offered
- at least one all fruit/no added sugar jam is offered at breakfast
Special Dietary Needs
To assist students in making choices, the menu signs provide ingredient lists for entrees and soups. Our chefs and managers are on-hand for immediate assistance if you require more in-depth information about our food. Students who would like to discuss nutrition, food allergies or other related matters are encouraged to contact our campus registered dietitian nutritionist.