"All the healthy options are there," said Matt Rapposelli, executive chef for Dining Services. "It all boils down to choices. Every day in every dining hall, you can come up with extremely flavorful, healthy options. It?s just a matter of looking around for it."
If students want to eat healthy on campus, the dining halls are the perfect place to start. While many may disagree based on the "buffet-style" entrees and desserts, there are plenty of nutritious alternatives.
Some of the healthier options served daily in the dining halls include:
? Salad bar with low calorie salad dressings
? Fresh fruit
? Grilled chicken breasts
? Pasta, served with fresh chicken and steamed shrimp
? Deli sandwiches?which Rapposelli reminds students, "You can make as healthy or heinous as you like."
? Lean carved meats
? Steamed veggies
Even with all these healthy choices, Rapposelli said the three most popular foods in the dining halls continue to be chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, and French fries. Students who are committed to having a meal that is delicious and good for them may have to break from the pack and try new things, but they could end up being glad that they did.
Rapposelli had tips and options from the dining hall stations for students looking to live well and eat healthy on a meal plan:
Mexican: Watch out for the tortillas because they are condensed carbohydrates. A slice of bread has fewer carbohydrates than a tortilla. Stick with whole beans, grilled chicken, fresh lettuce and vegetables. Limit the cheese, but any of the fresh salsas will add flavor without adding many calories. Go very light on sour cream and/or guacamole; those are full of hidden fats. A taco shell is better than a tortilla, depending on your needs, because it is deep fried but has fewer carbohydrates. To avoid the dilemma all together, just make a taco salad, no shells or tortillas involved.
Salad bar: Make a salad using lettuce and fresh vegetables and add flavor with extra virgin olive oil and fat free vinaigrette. Add a grilled chicken breast from the Grille to make a full meal.
Home-style: Shaved meat is available each night for dinner. Add steamed vegetables and roasted or baked potatoes?not mashed or fried ? and students can enjoy a home-style meal that would make their mom and their doctor proud.
Pasta: Stick with plain noodles?no filled pasta?with marinara and a vegetable. Add meat or shrimp, available at the pasta bar. It will already have a lot of flavor, and you can add parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper for even more.
Vegetarian options: There are vegetarian options available each day! Ohio University has been recognized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for their variety and quality of choices for the past two years. But, these are not always lower in fat that their meaty counterparts, so students should be aware.
"The biggest thing is purely moderation," Rapposelli said. "Fill two thirds of your plate with vegetable options, and the smaller space with a meat or protein. That makes for a pretty good balance."