Dining halls provide options for vegans and carnivores

Students+Ben+Retzlaff%2C+left%2C+and+Jeremy+Sawyer+eat+at+Northside+Cafe+on+Wednesday.

Students Ben Retzlaff, left, and Jeremy Sawyer eat at Northside Cafe on Wednesday.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Mint columnist

The “Freshman 15” is a common occurrence when someone begins their first year of college. Most people take this as a warning to avoid eating unhealthy foods. However, for college students with next to nothing in their pockets, this can prove to be a difficult task.

Thankfully, WSU Dining Services understands the difficulty of managing a healthy diet with a frugal mindset.

With the undeniable power of RDA, students can find food at discount prices in the dining halls scattered throughout campus. With a 28-day menu cycle, meals don’t become boring or repetitive.

For omnivores, vegans and carnivores, there are options to suit everyone’s needs, like a salad bar or a burger bar – whatever floats your boat.

Sarah Larson, associate director of WSU Dining Services, said the main objective is to educate students on the food options they provide.

“We want people to be well informed on the choices they are making,” Larson said.

In order to do this, the “big three” attributes are advertised in dining halls: calorie content, fat content and sodium content. No young adult wants high blood pressure, so keep an eye out for how salty you’re being.

If you are curious about how much protein you are eating for those “gainz,” you can check out additional nutritional information on the WSU Dining Services website. This information is guaranteed to be accurate – all thanks to WSU’s registered dietician, who analyzes every recipe that Adam Koerner, assistant director of culinary operations, and the team of chefs put together.

Among the various types of food served in the dining halls, international cuisine tends to be the most popular and thought-out. Koerner said the chefs do their best to research foods that appeal to students from different countries.

“Ingredients aren’t the same here as they would be in someone’s native country,” Koerner said, “but we try to keep as much integrity of the dish as possible.”

By talking to a diverse group of students about what dishes they want to see and how accurate the food is, Koerner and the WSU culinary team aim to represent everyone’s pallet in the dining halls.

No matter what type of food is served, it is important to Dining Services that students are being educated through their meals.

“All of our students are becoming more educated on food in general, be it international or healthy cuisine,” Larson said.

In addition to ensuring a nutritious diversity of food is represented in the halls, WSU Dining Services also strives to make students’ options sustainable.

Certifications, such as the Green Restaurant or SPE, guarantee that WSU Dining Services is committed to nutrition and sustainability, giving students confidence that the food on their plate is good for them and for the environment.

“We set goals to define what sustainability means to us,” Larson said. “This can entail where the food comes from or how the animals are treated.”

Lauren Ellenbecker is a freshman studying communication from Anchorage, Alaska. She can be contacted at mint@dailyevergreen.com.