Campaign encourages on-campus diners to 'eat smart'

University Park, Pa. -- With a new school year revving up at Penn State, Campus Dining is continuing to offer a wide selection of menu options in the dining commons. By making these diverse choices available, Campus Dining hopes it can encourage and teach Penn Staters to eat smart.

Campus Dining's Eat Smart campaign, an initiative that boasts a roster of semester-long programs that showcase the many healthy options offered in all six dining commons, exhibits a wealth of useful information for students, faculty and staff about on-campus menus, food allergies, vegetarian and vegan options and how to build a healthy, satisfying meal.

"We want to get everything out there for our customers," Lisa Wandel, director of Residential Dining, said. "We want them to have the choices they need to enjoy their meal and eat healthy, as well as provide them with information on how to do that."

Campus Dining handles the diets of more than 14,000 students. This is why supplying accurate information on menu information cards and the Campus Dining Web site is so important. Diners with special diets can learn how to get the food they need.

Eat Smart shows on-campus diners that it's not so much what you eat, but how much and how often you eat that can cause an unhealthy diet. It's important to build a balanced plate (50 percent fruits and vegetables, 25 percent protein rich foods and 25 percent whole grains) and exercise portion control. Campus Dining's multitude of healthy options at every dining location makes building a balanced plate easy.

"There is no bad food. There is only bad behavior," Michele Newhard, Campus Dining special programs training coordinator, said. "It's about making choices and we'd like to teach students how to make good choices."

The six dining commons feature healthy entrees at every meal. Some of this semester's dinner specials include wholesome entrees, such as cilantro lime chicken, beef Thai wraps, whole wheat flat bread pizza, pecan cranberry grain salad, miso glazed white fish and much more. It doesn't stop there. Diners can make room for healthy and delicious sides like orzo risotto, corn and edamame succotash and quinoa and vegetables.

The campaign will run throughout the semester and will include events like "Balanced Plate Week" (Sept. 13). Student nutrition assistants, who are an excellent resource to learn about working your diet into on-campus dining, will be holding Eat Smart interactive events at Wednesday dinners in Findlay (Sept. 1-Oct. 6) and Pollock dining commons (Oct. 13-Nov. 17).

"We are very fortunate to have the student nutrition assistants who are excited to help Campus Dining showcase all the healthy choices and programs available," Wandel said. "They are an important part of our goal to help make Penn State a university of smart eaters."

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Last Updated September 20, 2010