Having the choice between French fries, pizza and pop or having a salad, rice and flavored water are two different ways to approach eating in college. Many may choose the pizza because it is fast and will satisfy the taste buds, but a new station at Kise Commons is giving students a healthier option.
Simple Servings is a station that has food prepared without milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and gluten. The station offers simpler meals and provides those with gluten intolerance a full meal with a protein, vegetable and starch option available.
“The station is geared towards those students with food allergies, but also for those who would like a healthier option,” said Juan Reyes, Unit Marketing Coordinator at Sodexo.
Sodexo is making sure that all the meals prepared and served in the Simple Servings area are safe for all to eat.
“Special utensils are used in preparing and serving the food. The purple utensils are used only in the Simple Serving station,” said Stacy Wark, Area Marketing Manager at Sodexo. “ With only one or two people serving during the meal we are taking all the steps we need to prevent any cross contamination between any different foods a person may have on his or her plate at the time.
Wark said that Sodexo saw a need for this station when parents came to campus and wondered what their child was going to eat if he or she had celiac or gluten allergies.
“I want parents and students that come here know that it is safe to eat here,” said Wark.
According to the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, gluten sensitivity affects approximately 18 million people in the United States.
The Simple Serving station serves 100-120 students per day with more than 1,000 students eating at Kise Commons throughout the week.
For one MSUM student, the station gives her a variety of choices to choose from.
“I’m a vegetarian and I like (the station) a lot,” said freshman Erin Hollingsworth. “I like all the healthy options.”
The Simple Serving station offers foods from grilled chicken breasts to grilled vegetables, and there will be more at the station as the year continues.
While Simple Servings may have simple choices for students to choose from, Sodexo is giving more options to students in their food selection rather than limiting what he or she can eat at Kise Commons.
“It is important that we offer alternatives for those who have dietary restrictions,” said Wark.
Simple Servings is located between the salad and fruit bars in Kise Commons and gives students numerous healthy options for their meals. Simple Servings is offered Mon.-Fri. at both lunch and dinner.
Simple Servings isn’t the only change happening in Kise Commons this semester. Later this fall Sodexo will be offering more Mindful Meals to students in Kise Commons.
“Mindful Meals focuses on the number of calories in each meal, but still offers a good meal,” said Reyes. “We are going to have Mindful Meals options at the Dragon Café, and eventually it will be campus wide.”
Mindful Meals has specific criteria that need to be met in order for it to be served.
“Each plate has to be less than or equal to 600 calories and the sides and soups have to be less than or equal to 225 calories,” said Wark. “The desserts have to be less than or equal to 200 calories along with all the dishes having less than 10 percent in saturated fat and zero percent in trans fat.”
Mindful Meals will have food identifiers next to them. They will also have a UPC code that can be scanned and put into the MyFitnessPal app that is available on both the Apple and Google Play stores.
The MyFitnessPal app will keep track of the number of calories consumed per day, along with what you eat each day as well.
The MSUM Dining Services Facebook page is where promotions and information are available to students. The address is facebook.com/msumdining.
“It’s about giving students a good foundation for healthy eating,” said Wark.
Kise Commons is giving students the options for a healthy balanced meal to maintain their health while in college and putting them on the right path to continue after graduation.
“The healthier options are there so they become second nature to them.”
BY BREANN LENZMEIER