Healthy, Diverse, Sustainable and Convenient: Today’s Campus Food Trends

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When you ship off to college, your taste buds are going with you. For students who had a less-than-quality cafeteria experience, this can seem a little nerve racking. Don’t fret. Not only are college dining options more diverse than they’ve ever been, many campuses are revamping dining facilities to make spaces more comfortable and enjoyable for students.

Instead of worrying about your future diet options, start getting excited by analyzing some campus food trends.

Meals from around the world
The students have spoken. They want a diverse dining experience, and that’s exactly what campuses across the country aim to give them. Today’s students are more culturally aware than ever, and they want their diets to reflect that.

Those desires follow students into higher education, and menus have been adjusted accordingly.

A diverse college dining experience is the future.
Latin, Mediterranean and Asian foods have entered the scene in a big way over the past few years, but it isn’t stopping there. Campuses are introducing more specified culinary dishes characteristic of numerous specific regions. If you yearn for sushi, curry and naan or spicy shrimp ceviche, take a trip to the dining hall before you place an order elsewhere.

Food trucks and apps
Then again, you might not have to travel that far if you want a change from the dining hall menu. Food trucks of all different varieties are rolling onto campuses across the country. Tacos, Thai-fusion, sandwiches – some schools have even set up deals with these rolling restaurants for students to take advantage of. If your stomach is growling while walking to class, keep an eye out for a food truck. They may be more popular than you think.

There are some students who insist the food comes to them, and now pizza delivery is far from the only option on the table. Several nifty food apps make searching, ordering and paying for food a breeze. Here are just a few examples.

  • GrubHub has delivery and pickup options from over 30,000 restaurants in over 800 cities.
  • Seamless is “dangerous because it’s so tempting to click a few buttons and something delicious shows up at your door.” At least, that’s what one of the reviews says.
  • Foodler has been satisfying hungry users since 2004, and has received an incredible amount of five-star reviews.

 

Food Truck Friday

Preparing meals with wellness in mind

Are you desperate to avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15”? You’re in luck because your university has your back. Today, the vast majority of campuses have wellness plans in place that extend to dining facilities. Some 82 percent of schools already have wellness programs, while nearly half of the remaining 18 percent of schools are scrambling to install pending programs.

82 percent of colleges already have a wellness place.

What do wellness programs consist of? For one, nutrition education has grown in recent years. More campuses are offering personal consultations with dieticians and posting information about calorie content in dining halls.

Other small changes are making big impacts, too. Hundreds of campuses have taken trays out of dining halls to both encourage students to eat only as much as they can carry in their hands and reduce food waste.

Sticking with green grub
Producing less food waste encourages environmentally friendly food options, which have become a big trend on campus. Trayless dining has cut down food waste by 20 to 50 percent in many schools, but this is just the beginning.  Many universities are composting food scraps, requiring hormone-free meat and cage-free eggs, and even pushing to source food from local sources primarily.

The future of college dining is looking more sustainable, healthy, diverse and convenient for tomorrow’s students, and that’s thanks to university’s numerous dining initiatives. Bentley University, like many other schools, incorporates several high-tech Earth-friendly strategies into the dining hall.

  • LeanPath is an automated food waste tracking system that helps ensure food is being used efficiently and effectively. It’s helped reduce waste by up to 80 percent in dining halls.
  • Local food sourcing means less resources are being used to move that food from the farm to your fork. Campus dining halls recognize this and use it as a cost-effective and sustainable advantage in the kitchen. You can do the same at home by purchasing from local vendors.
  • Green catering ensures that even the food packages you order come with biodegradable containers. Campuses use these to supply food to events so none of the plates, forks or other materials do more damage in a landfill.
  • Converting cooking oil to biofuel is one way the “reduce, reuse, recycle” attitude has turned waste in the kitchen (like cooking grease) into helpful fuel (like heating oil for local homes).

There are dozens of other methods campuses are using to make your plate, and the world at large, a little greener.

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Bentley University, where your education prepares you for a life of interesting challenges and even more interesting ideas and answers. From your first day on campus, you’ll study what makes the world work – fundamentals of business and markets – AND what the world thinks – the broad perspective of the arts and sciences. It’s a powerful combination with limitless opportunity.