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10 Healthy University Dining Halls on American Campuses

Wonder where so many freshmen gain their notorious 15lbs? The university dining hall is a good place to start. Most serve a hodgepodge of fast food and processed junk, often in an all-you-can-eat setting. Not exactly the best foundation upon which to build healthy habits as a young adult. Luckily, more universities are starting to offer healthy and vegan options. We did some research and gave kudos to 10 forward-thinking campuses that have healthy options. So here is a list of healthy university dining halls you can fuel up at.

Mean Greens – University of North Texas

Source: University of North Texas
Source: University of North Texas

Located at the University of North Texas, Mean Greens is the first ever 100% vegan dining hall in the United States. The food options range from custom-made paninis to cashew alfredo pasta, and are packed with vibrant colors and flavor. Mean Greens is one of the few university dining halls to receive an “A” rating from PETA. A vegan diet promotes weight loss and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tercero- University of California Davis

Source: Bar Architects
Source: Bar Architects

Located at UC Davis, this dining hall features eight different culinary platforms, broadening students’ palate for cultural dishes. The broad spectrum of flavors offered at this dining hall can satisfy any student’s craving, while also accommodating special dietary requirements. This dining hall offers allergy-free, halal, gluten-free and microbial friendly options such as baked ziti and halal chicken curry.

The District on Green- Ohio University

Source: Davis Wince ltd Architecture
Source: Davis Wince ltd Architecture

This food court is located in Ohio University and is famous for offering a variety of nutritious food options. The menu includes reduced-fat rotisserie for meat lovers, four different kinds of hummus for a Mediterranean snack, and real fruit smoothies to satisfy sweet cravings. The diverse options prove that eating healthy can be delicious.

Bon Appetit- St. Olaf College

Source: St. Olaf College
Source: St. Olaf College

St. Olaf College of Minnesota gives student a restaurant style experience at this organic and antibiotic free dining hall. All of the produce is locally grown at a student-run farm. Dairy and meat products are also hormone free, sourced from local farms. The farm-to-table mentality not only benefits student health, it also teaches them agricultural skills and supports local businesses.

Rice University

rice
Source: Rice University

There’s a reason Princeton Review ranked Rice University as #1 on its “Happiest Students” list. The undergraduate, graduate, and public dining options at Rice University have something for everyone. The menus are all so diverse that it was impossible to decide which dining hall was best. The recipes are created by amazing culinary chefs, and include appealing options such as nine-grain tempeh stir fry, lamb gyros with pita bread, and stuffed flounder with spinach.

Bon Apetit- Whitman College

Source: Whitman College

This private liberal arts college is located in Walla Walla, WA, and has a cafe team that prepares every meal from scratch. Every single ingredient is preservative free and made with locally grown produce. The meal options include fun and creative recipes like turmeric-spiced cauliflower couscous and grilled watermelon with cayenne. Whitman College also offers online recipes for their different meal options, providing students with the tools to make these healthy meals at home.

West End Market- Virginia Tech University

Source: Virginia Tech University
Source: Virginia Tech University

Virginia Tech is committed to keeping students healthy with the “You’re Eating Smarter” program, which eliminates trans-fat from its menu to help promote a healthier eating environment for students. West End Market follows the Y.E.S program while also offering top-notch specialty food such as lobster and steak everyday. Their menu also changes on a daily basis, always giving students something new to be excited about.

Moulton Union- Bowdoin College

Source: Bowdoin College
Source: Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, Maine, took the #1 spot on Princeton Review’s best college foods list. Moulton Union is relatively small compared to the other dining halls on this list, but the food quality definitely makes up for it. The food offered is wholesome and nutritious, which menu options ranging from vegan zucchini and rosemary soup to java braised beef with a cinnamon and orange glaze.

The Marketplace- Occidental College

Source: Occidental College
Source: Occidental College

Located in Occidental College, this dining hall is committed to the school’s “Real Food Challenge,” which aims to attain most of its food from local and sustainable farms. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, with mostly organic and hormone free ingredients. Students have several delicious made-to-order options such as omelettes, grilled burgers, and stir fry.

The Commons- Kennesaw State University

Source: Ryan Nabulsi/ Twinlensatl.com
Source: Ryan Nabulsi/ Twinlensatl.com

Kennesaw State University takes the sustainability crown with their 1,200 square foot garden, single stream recycling, and sizeable composting. The university also has its own gristmill, allowing for freshly ground oatmeal and grits. In 2010, KSU incorporated a free-range poultry farm, providing the dining halls with over 200 eggs daily. Another outstanding feature KSU introduced to its farm is a 42-apiary bee colony, which provides organic honey for students.

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