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Healthy Dining on Campus

By KIMBERLY CONROY

Many students at UT believe that healthy options on campus are impossible to find, especially while eating on the meal plan. However, after conducting some research, it is actually pretty easy. Below is nutrition information found on the UT Dining website. Starbucks, Einstein’s and Chick-Fil-A information is also available on each company’s webpages. For some dining choices on campus, such as Ultimate Dining, Fresh Creations, La Havana, The Grille and Asian Bistro, there is no information listed online. For these options, caloric information is listed on the menus at each location.

Sodexo’s UT officer manager, Alex Love, suggested that students could download the app Bite by Sodexo in order to obtain additional nutritional information. Unfortunately, upon downloading the app, The Minaret found that due to what dining staff called “technical issues” the application does not yet include UT as a location option.  

As of the Fall semester, due to federal law, all dining locations on campus will be required to provide nutritional facts, according to Dining Services.

Ultimate Dining

There is no information on the UT website about nutrition information for Ultimate Dining. Probably because the menu is always changing. At Ultimate Dining, better known as the caf, you can make a healthy meal if you try. The fresh deli sandwiches and salad bar are open daily, along with Boris’s grilled chicken or steak. A healthy option here would be making a fresh salad, and adding chicken, tofu, or hard-boiled eggs on top. According to Fitness Magazine, a salad with iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chicken, and croutons, and low calorie caesar dressing, has just about 190 calories. And on the magazine website you can calculate what your salad ingredients calories are.

Einstein’s Bagels

At Einstein’s, the healthiest bagels are plain and the honey whole wheat. For example, the honey whole wheat bagel has 260 calories, 3 grams of total fat and 440 milligrams of sodium. Of course, that is only half the meal because you also need to keep in mind your calorie intake from the topping you choose. For schmears, your best bet is to order any of the reduced fat options. They offer Honey Almond, Plain, Blueberry, Garden Vegetable, Maple and Strawberry reduced fat cream cheese. The strawberry reduced fat cream cheese has 140 calories, 90 calories from fat and 30 milligrams of cholesterol. Einstein’s coffee, no matter the flavor is 5 calories with 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat.

Fresh Creations

There is no nutrition information listed on the UT dining website about Fresh Creations. Here, mainly everything is healthy as long as your wrap or salad is not drenched in dressing. According to Everyday Health, Italian or balsamic are good options because they are less in calories compared to Ranch or Honey Mustard. According to Fitness Magazine’s salad calorie counter, a salad at Fresh Creations with: romaine, black olives, cucumbers, carrots, onion, tomato, mushrooms, chickpeas, cranberries, sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, hard boiled egg and balsamic vinaigrette, has just under 500 calories.  

Chick-Fil-A

Though Chick-Fil-A may not seem like the healthiest option on campus, there are some  options offered by the fast food chain that won’t ruin your health kick. The healthiest option would be the eight count chicken nuggets, which, according to the Chick-fil-a website, only has 270 calories. The issue with using a meal swipe at Chick-fil-a is that the fries are full of calories. The Waffle Potato Fries are a total of 400 calories (without dipping sauce) with 24 grams of fat and 43 grams of carbs. So if you’re looking for a healthier lunch, walk past Chick-fil-a and head to Fresh Creations.

La Havana

There is no nutrition information listed on the UT website about La Havana. Though, each month they offer a specific healthy option meal. For the month of April, there is a Roasted Portobello Cobb Salad with Pita, which includes: chicken, turkey bacon, mesclun mix, tomatoes, avocado, parmesan cheese, egg whites, whole wheat pita, mushrooms, garlic, pepper, balsamic vinegar, thyme, oregano, and apple cider vinaigrette. This meal has 430 calories, 148 calories from fat, and 16 g of total fat.

The Grille

There is no nutrition listed on the UT website about The Grille. However, the menu features calorie estimates for the meals that are offered. The healthiest option calorie-wise is the grilled chicken sandwich basket which ranges from 273-789 calories, swap the fries for veggie sticks and skip the bun or sauce to stay on the lower end of the range.

Jazzman’s Cafe Bakery

When you look at the nutrition facts for Jazzman’s, many of the products on the website are not served at UT, such as breakfast sandwiches, biscotti, and cakes. The healthiest option would be a blueberry muffin. This muffin includes 430 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 7 grams of saturated fat. Stay away from the cookies though, because they are loaded with calories, total fat and sodium. Drink wise, if you are planning to order any drink with milk in it, go for skim milk. Coffee is also a low calorie drink, unless you add milk and sugar yourself. Iced or hot coffee served at Jazzman’s only 5 calories, so since you’re keeping your intake low, treat yourself with a muffin.

DQ/Orange Julius

If you are going to be using a meal swipe at DQ, your obvious healthy choice would be a smoothie. They serve two variations of the smoothies, so stick toward the light calorie ones and aim for smaller sizes. For example, a small light strawberry banana smoothie has 160 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 10 milligrams of sodium. While a small premium strawberry banana smoothie contains 250 calories, 5 mg of cholesterol, and 70 mg of sodium. Overall for smoothies, the healthiest is a small light orange smoothie with 140 calories and 15 milligrams of sodium. A small cone, no matter the flavor, is 240 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 25 milligrams of cholesterol. For Blizzards, since most are mainly unhealthy, your best choice is a small Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard. This dessert has 570 calories, 22 grams of total fat, and 65 milligrams of cholesterol. Every meal swipe includes a hot dog (if you’d like it) which has 260 calories, 15 grams of total fat, and 40 milligrams of cholesterol. To save some calories at DQ, opt for no hotdog and just stick to dessert.

Gourmet Grocer

The healthiest option here would be sushi and a water bottle. Sushi is healthy because of the rice that wraps it, brown rice is higher in fiber, which makes it more filling than white rice, and eating whole grains lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to heart.org, sponsored by the American Heart Association. Sushi is a quick and easy source of protein. If you’re looking for a high-protein meal or snack, choose tuna or salmon, which can have 20 or more grams of protein per roll.

Salsa Rico

Based off of the meal plan options offered at Salsa Rico, though burrito bowls may seem like the healthiest option, nutrition information is not listed on the nutrition website. In this case, chicken tacos would be the healthiest option with 370 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 54 grams of protein. Of course this does not include any of the toppings, so keep that in mind when placing your order. Aim for healthier options such as grilled vegetables, lettuce and pico. The chips and salsa here are the most unhealthy option with 710 calories, 730 milligrams of sodium, and 33 grams of fat.

Asian Bistro

Ralph Beyrouti, Sodexo’s retail operations manager on campus, suggested that if students are looking to eat healthy, this should not be their first stop. No nutritional facts are currently offered for the asian sensation, so stay mindful when ordering and limit sauces/white rice. Opt for veggies.

Pandinis

At Pandini’s, everything is pretty high in calories. A plain pizza is 700 calories followed by the 800 calorie pepperoni pizza. According to the nutrition website, a chopped caesar salad is 730 calories, but the site does not include what ingredients are in the salad. But a pandini’s employee explained that a typical caesar salad would include: lettuce, parmesan cheese, chicken, croutons, dressing and a side of bread. You then have the option of adding other ingredients however you please. The chicken broccoli alfredo with whole wheat pasta is the healthiest pasta option. The meal has 960 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 39 grams of saturated fat. The libretti’s that are listed on the site advertise including 750 calories, 300 calories from fat and 50 grams trans fat.

Starbucks

On the meal plan, there are a number of healthy options to choose from. A butter croissant is 240 calories, with 12 grams of fat and 28 grams carbs. An egg and cheddar breakfast sandwich is 280 calories, with 13 grams of fat and 27 grams carbs. There are healthier options, but those would be for Spartan dollars. Each meal swipe also comes with a hot coffee, tea, or milk. Starbucks coffees are all 5 calories, with no fat, carbs or fiber. But keep in mind, if you add milk or sugar to your coffee these numbers will change. The tea choices have 0 calories, and no fat, carbs or protein, but this again is with nothing else added.

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