JMU Healthy Bites: Eating Well On-Campus

by Jackie Ferretti

            One of the biggest complaints that is often heard about campus dining is the lack of healthy choices.   Thankfully, the Princeton Review has ranked JMU number 2 nationally for great campus food.  However great food does not always mean healthy food.  But here are some pointers of where to look for the well-balanced plate everyone needs to be nutritionally healthy.

When going to Ms. Greens they always offer a salad bar.  Fill one plate with lettuce, and always try to go for the spinach.  Add any assortment of vegetables but at least try to go for two different kinds.   When picking out vegetables also try to choose a variety of color.  Add some orange with carrots, or yellow with corn.   Seeds can also be healthy; you may add a few for some extra flavor and crunch.   When going for the cheese, try to add only a little as it adds extra hidden calories, but some will not hurt you, and it adds dairy to your meal.   If they have a good source of protein add some chicken, chickpeas, or even hummus.   When choosing a dressing, try going for an oil based one.   A vinaigrette or even oil and vinegar are great choices and will make a dull salad flavorful.  Don’t pick up the creamy caesar or ranch.  These will add a lot of extra calories to the meal that are not necessary.  If a salad is not enough food, and you are still hungry, Mr. Greens offers a variety of other foods.  Go check and see what their meal of the day is.   If it doesn’t seem adequate or nothing you would be interested in, go back to the salad bar and add more vegetables to your plate.  They will be sure to fill you up! Check the hot bar and see if they have any cooked vegetables that you may prefer over raw.

Now it may seem impossible to find a healthy dish at DHALL  and EHALL but I assure you there are plenty of options.   Again they have a salad bar, but who goes to DHALL for a salad?   When looking around there are so many mouthwatering options.  Personally they have great steamed vegetables that I get with a make your-own sandwich.   Go to the sandwich place and get wheat bread, with your choice of meat.  Add some vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.    I always dress my sandwiches with mustard, adds great taste and has no calories.  Try to stay away from mayonnaise, which is packed with fat.  If you aren’t a sandwich for dinner type of person, they usually will have some sort of chicken.  Ask for the white meat, and if there is skin on the chicken go ahead and take that off and avoid eating it.   They also have a variety of fruits around the dining facility.  Be sure to eat two to three fruits a day.  Eat one with you meal, and on your way out grab a different fruit that you enjoy for later.

One of my favorite places to eat on campus is Festival.  My weakness is the grilled cheese and tomato soup.   If your looking for a bit of a healthier choice, Festival has some great choices!   Festival has one of the best soup stations with three different choices each day.  My favorite is the vegetarian chili.  Its packed with kidney beans, and an assortment of vegetables that always hits the spot!   The only problem with soups is that they have a lot of sodium,.  Go for the smaller portion and along with your meal go ahead and purchase a fruit.   Festival also offers sandwiches that come with a side such as fruit or chips.  If fruit is not what you are craving, try going for the baked chips.   They are cooked differently then regular chips and are generally lower in calories.

The Last two places on campus include Dukes and Market One.  Dukes, similar to festival have salad options, as well as a sandwich option.   Aside from that they have Sushi.   Try getting the sushi made from brown rice and any option with sauces not already on it.  Adding low sodium soy sauce to sushi makes it a delicious meal.   If sushi is not enough, you can add a non-fat yogurt or a piece of fruit.   Top dog and market one offer panini’s.   Go for the half panini option and add a fruit or side salad to get some variety.  Again when choosing a salad, go for a light dressing and a lot of vegetables.    Market one, and Festival both offer turkey and veggie burgers.  These are generally healthier then regular burgers and lettuce and tomatoes and other vegetables may be added to them.   Instead of getting fries, apples can put on the side with your meal.

As you can see, JMU takes pride in what they are serving to their students to offer a wide variety of food that is healthy and delicious!

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