It’s back to school time. Across the nation, college campuses are gearing up for the onslaught of students bringing healthier palates to class.
A recent survey conducted by Y-Pulse as a lead up to the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) National Conference in Indianapolis found that college students are requesting more:
- Sustainable seafood options
- Nutritious breakfast items available throughout the day
- Plant based protein foods and meal plans
- Healthy on-the-go convenience foods for students on the run
Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Shaw, the Dining, Market and Culinary Services Registered Dietitian at the University of California San Diego and the NACUFS Chair of Pacific Region Wellness Committee says that, “While gluten free was all the rage last year – and vegan the year before that – today’s students are more evolved and interested in produce from locally-sourced vendors and environmental concerns such as antibiotic use in particular foods.”
At UCSD, Elizabeth is heading up a “grain brain” station, encouraging students to expand beyond basic refined white grains and explore ancient grains like gamut and farro. Her team has also championed a “Taste Bud Approved” menu line that features both delicious and nutritious offerings. “Our goal is to show students how the food synergy in these foods not only keeps them full and focused, but also tastes amazing as well,” says Shaw. “Many times students are open to trying new flavors but are just accustomed to their typical food choices. We are trying to break that mold and expose their palates to the many diverse cultural cuisines available.”
If you’re heading to campus this fall, check to see what sort of healthy options your college cafeteria offers. Most colleges and universities employ a Registered Dietitian who helps spearhead healthy food campaigns. Beware of all-you-can-eat meal plans that may encourage mindless overeating. Focus on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and keep added sugars and sweets to a minimum. Extra studying means more time sitting down, so don’t forget to counteract your intake with a healthy dose of exercise.