Ramen noodles. Energy drinks. Macaroni and cheese in microwavable cups.
If any of these nutritionally lacking foods sound familiar to you, it’s probably because they’re college student staples: cheap and not exactly good for you.
This semester, Carson’s Catering General Manager Corrine Aguilar said she hopes to change that trend by introducing a new menu and a few healthier options to Carson’s typical fare.
The new menus, which hang in gold-plated frames in the cafeteria, replaced the old food lists that simply cataloged what choices were available and how much they cost.
Now, menus list how many grams of sodium, carbs, and fat can be found in each item, as well as the number of calories and the cost.
In addition, students can now see healthier options at a glance thanks to a red heart posted to the left of the item’s name.
For example, on Carson’s breakfast menu, a sausage patty contains 340 milligrams of sodium, 142 calories, and 12 fat grams.
Beneath the sausage patty, students are given another, healthier option: a turkey patty, with 240 milligrams of sodium, 120 calories, and 7 fat grams.
“Before, we did have some limited nutrition information listed,” Aguilar said, indicating a small list that noted calories and fat grams in basic grill items like hamburgers and hot dogs.
However, she said, the new menus will encompass all areas of Carson’s, including the sandwich deli, salad bar, and pizza counter.
Aguilar said she hopes the menus will help students make more health conscious decisions when they eat at Carson’s.
“This is something most restaurants are doing today,” she said. “We’ve had many students asking about it.”
In addition, Aguilar said, Carson’s also will debut a few new healthy choices for the fall.
“Every semester, we try to introduce something new,” she said.
This semester, that would be a cereal and yogurt bar, which includes six different kinds of cereal, cups of yogurt, and large parfaits layered with granola, blueberries, strawberries, and vanilla yogurt.
Aguilar said additional toppings for cereal and yogurt also will be available at an extra cost.
Students have mixed feelings about the new menus’ effectiveness.
Graphic communications major Debbie Hartsell said she is excited about the menus.
Hartsell said she tries to eat healthy when she dines at Carson’s.
“I love the omelet bar,” she said. “But they don’t have an egg white-only option. And more veggies would be awesome.”
Student Kyle Tanner, however, said he avoids the cafeteria altogether when he wants to eat healthy.
“If you are trying to eat healthy in the student union, you are doing it wrong,” he said.
“The union is there if you need a quick snack to finish the day, or a regular fast-food style lunch. Make your own meals at home if you are concerned about that.”
For more information about Carson’s menus, email Aguilar at email@example.com or fill out a comment card at the cafeteria drop box, located outside the entrance of Carson’s.
To contact Whitney Knight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.