Halls offer students healthier food items

By Monica Sullivan

Think about it. Do you really believe you eat healthy, nutritious foods while at school? Do you know what it means to eat foods that are “heart smart” or part of a vegetarian diet? Worry no more! While speaking with the NIU Food Service at the Neptune,Lincoln and Stevenson Residence Halls, some valuable information was discovered.

On Sept. 19, the Residence Hall Food Service began their new menu featuring “heart smart” and “non-red meat” items. The Residence Hall Food Service decided to use the program this year based on new nutritional information and students’ request for more information on the foods they eat.

These items will be indicated by an “H” or a “V” on the menu. The “heart smart” items were taken from a list designed by the American Heart Association.

“We do our best to offer a wide variety of foods from which the students can choose a healthy diet. The ultimate choice is left up to the students,” said Ann Thompson, Food Service Manager of Neptune Hall. Along with JoAnn Miller, a food specialist official, both revealed they were able to give detailed nutritional information on all food items.

This information would come from a computer software package that would provide the most accurate information that was currently available. This will be available in the very near future, Thompson added.

Although some of the most popular items served in the residence halls still include hamburgers, pizza, chicken and fries, the students’ reaction to the new menu has been positive, especially in the “non-red” meat section, according to Ruth Cain, Forcasting Food Manager in Neptune Hall. Cain also reported an increase in quantity and a decrease in food waste.

Bonnie Sewick, Unit Manager of Stevenson Towers, expressed optimism in the increasing concern students began to have in what foods they eat. Sewick observed how society emphasized being healthy, staying well and living longer thus making students more conscious of eating good food.

An effective way for each student to help create the menu is by using the suggestion box that is located in all of the residence hall cafeterias. After all of the students submit their suggestions and requests, the managers and working managers review them and recommend some of the suggestions to the Menu Board.

The Menu Board is comprised of specific head unit managers who also review and discuss the possibilities of using the suggestions in future menus. It is from these people the menu is produced.

Charlotte Brewe, Unit Manager of Lincoln Hall, mentioned that the majority of students really did not have a sense of what foods were healthy or not.

Eventhough Lincoln has a greater variety of foods and is on a point system, the points used by the students merely show what kinds of foods the students like. It may lead one to ask, “Are you what you eat?”