At the College of DuPage, the E.E. Gibson Cafeteria, run by Sodexo, has been attempting to provide a plethora of healthier options to their menu on top of the items that they already serve.
Sodexo utilizes a program called “Mindful”, which sets up a standard for the food that are labeled as such. “Mindful is the healthy eating platform for Sodexo, so there are certain criteria that Mindful has to fit for it to be considered a Mindful dish,” said Lynn Konicek, general manager of the COD Sodexo cafeteria. “We do a couple of Mindful dishes a week in ‘Wholly Habanero’ and ‘Eatery 425’, and we do them in Simply-to-Go as well. They have a little sticker. We are doing them a little more often, but they don’t sell as much.”
On top of providing these options a few times a week, Sodexo also provide special options for each one of the vendors in the cafeteria and in the coolers for health-minded dieting. “We also have a lot of things in our grab and grow coolers, such as fresh salads, fruit and celery and carrots,” said Konicek. “In the snack bin we also have almonds and different types of granola bars. At ‘Wholly Habaneros’ we always have roasted vegetables, and you can even do a bowl, so you don’t even have to have the tortilla, which adds about 300 calories. Everything in ‘Wholly Habaneros’ we make fresh every day, so you aren’t getting anything processed or made ahead of time. In ‘Eatery 425’ we do some different panini’s. We can do a roasted vegetable or a turkey panini. We also do the Mindful items there as well.”
These additions to our cafeteria are important to give options to those who want to eat healthier. The American Heart Association released a study on Jan. 11, 2016 examining the link between sugary beverage consumption and the development of visceral fats, a specific kind of fat which develops on top of your abdominal organs. This type of fat may affect the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Although the study focused on sugar-sweetened beverages, this can be also applicable to the type of foods we eat that have high amounts of added sugar.
The study found people who had one beverage with high amounts of added sugar daily over the six year span of this study added about 12 cubic inches more of this fat onto their bodies than people who didn’t consume these products. Although this may seem obvious, it is just another statistic added on top of the reasoning for the diabetic crisis in the United States.
If you are looking to eat healthier while on campus, look at the TV screens around campus for specials and the Mindful items that the cafeteria provides. If you are looking to start cooking healthier, you can use Sodexo’s healthy eating site, mindful.sodexo.com, and find food that falls into their criteria for healthier living and is easy to make.