TAMPA-Campus dining has transformed in colleges around the country and USF’s dining halls are following this trend by providing students with healthier alternatives to fast food and more choices.
“On campus dining has changed tremendously from the one line, one choice venues that many alumni remember,” said Jenna Burns, Marketing Manager with USF Campus Dining. “With our extensive food options including vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal our climate on innovation and service ensures that USF students are eating the very best food in the very best venues.”
USF has three dining halls and a variety of locations throughout campus. The food court located in the Marshall Student Center gives students choices in cuisine, which include Moe’s, Sbarro, Chick-fil-A, Miso and Subway.
Mariah Reid, Nutrition Manager with USF Campus Dining said, “I am working to ensure that healthy options are offered all over campus.”
Students or faculty looking for healthier alternatives to fast food can be sure to find them in the Green Zone or Accents at Juniper Dining and the Fresh Food company in the Argos Center.
“We really try to cater to our customers so if you ever see something being cooked and you want it a different way (hold the sauce/butter, light/no cheese, ect.) you can request it and they will make it to your specification,” said Reid.
All of the dining facilities at USF have nutritional information and allergy guides for each menu available on the campus dining Web site.
According to Cleveland.com, “A number of Ohio universities—including Cleveland State, Kent State and Ohio State—are making it easy for students to know the nutritional value (and calorie counts) of the food they order in campus dining facilities.” States like New York, Philadelphia, California and Vermont have laws that require schools to provide students with nutritional information about the food that they are being served. This helps make students more aware of what their eating and make smarter choices.
USF fourth dining hall, which is being built next to the Sun Dome, is set to open in Fall of 2011. This new facility menu will be focused on providing students with healthier options.
“All of the recipes I am selecting must meet certain nutritional standards,” said Reid. “Cooking methods and menu items will have less added fats and sugars. We truly are trying to meet all of the diverse needs of our students.”
The rise in obesity and other food related health problems has led many Americans to make healthier decisions when it comes to their eating habits.
Patrick Toglia, USF student said, “Eating healthy is crucial to having a healthy life and your food selection greatly determines how you will feel throughout the day.”
Most of the ingredients that are found in modern food, especially fast food, are not healthy for you because they contain too many preservatives and excess sugars.
“Campus dining does promote healthier eating habits, but at the same time they offer salads right next to the chocolate cake,” said Toglia. “So it comes down to the decision you make on your own.”
Other College Campuses around the country are adjusting their dining options to keep up with the current food trends and healthier eating habits of todays students. One thing all of these colleges have in common is the are giving students and faculty more choices.
“The dinning program at UCLA offers healthier choices like whole grains, locally grown foods, organic options and fewer trans fats,” said MyCollegeGuide.org. “At the University of Miami, you can choice from sushi, Hispanic-Carribbean food or a glatt-kosher deli, amoung other offerings.”
Because most students have busy schedules many schools are developing healthier on-the-go options for students. The Coba Cafe at USF offers students on-the-go items such as sushi, sandwiches and salads.
Also, Virginia Tech created a program called Yes to Go “in response to students request for healthier grab-n-go options,” said Virginia Tech’s website. “All of the items have fewer than 600 calories and contain heart-healthy fats.”
Not only does USF campus dining offer students a variety of choices, but they also work to accommodate those students with special dietary needs. USF placed #5 in Peta2′s most vegetarian-friendly college competition in 2009. They have Meatless Mondays where students can get $1 off vegatarian or vegan meals at several of the dining facilities on campus. There are brochures on the campus dining Web site that list the vegetarian and vegan options that are available at the different dining locations throughout campus.