College dining halls have a reputation of being unhealthy. With hamburgers, French fries, and soda available every day, it can be difficult to make healthy choices. The good news is this – by following a few simple guidelines, it can be easy to maintain a balanced diet while eating in the Orleans Room. Our registered dietitian, Kelsey Rosenbaum, MS, RD, LDN put together a list of tips to help you start your school year off right!

#1: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals that help reduce the risk of chronic disease. They’re also high in fiber, a nutrient that reduces cholesterol and keeps you feeling full.
OR tip: Try a Mindful vegetable from the classics line or add a side salad topped with vegetables.

#2: Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread: Grains are an essential part of the diet. They act as fuel for our body and brain. Whole grains offer more vitamins, fiber, and fuel the body better than refined grains, which include white rice and white bread.
OR tip: Ask for whole grain bread at the grill and opt for brown rice when choosing dishes like red beans.

#3: Choose lean protein like fish, chicken and plant based proteins: The body requires protein to repair and build muscle, but animal sources of protein can also be high in cholesterol. Lean proteins, like chicken and fish, offer the benefits of protein but have less cholesterol than beef and pork. Plant based proteins like beans, quinoa, and tofu are also great sources of protein that have very little cholesterol.
OR tip: The Grill offers garden burgers daily. The Nosh Bar and Grain Bar features high protein grains, such as bulgur, brown rice, and quinoa. The Verde Station also offers plant based proteins daily.

#4: Don’t drink your calories: We don’t often think about the calories in our drinks, but some soda and coffee drinks can have over 200 calories per serving! Even worse, those calories are empty calories and do not offer any nutrients. Instead of sodas, stick to water and other low calorie options.
OR tip: Try out the new infused water stations. Other low calorie options include Vitamin Water Zero Squeezed and Light Lemonade.

The Orleans Room also features Mindful: Making the healthy choice is the easy choice with Mindful. Each Mindful item is developed by chefs and approved by dietitians to ensure delicious and filling meals that are packed with the essential nutrients. From entrées and side items to desserts and snacks, each item meets rigorous nutrition criteria based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines include limits on fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Just look for the Mindful logo on menu boards at each station! For more information about Mindful, visit Mindful by Sodexo.

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