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Oklahoma State University

North Dining Facility focuses on healthy eating and new options

Fri, September 09, 2016
North Dining

Food options ranging from vegetarian meals to fresh local meats and an allergen-friendly restaurant are featured at Oklahoma State University’s new North Dining Facility, where students will find the resources to focus on healthy eating and wellness at every meal.

The building is also the first on campus to offer healthier food options by leaving out a standard piece of kitchen equipment.

“There are no fryers in the entire facility,” said Nic Johnson, the marketing coordinator for University Dining Services. “One of the concerns we hear from students is our food is too heavy or fried. We wanted to make sure that was something we avoided altogether here, so side salads and baked tater tots are the popular side items.”

While indulgent offerings still exist at the North Dining Facility and across campus, healthier food choices are becoming available, said Vedda Hsu, interim director for University Dining Services.  “We have 32 restaurants on campus so you can still find pizza and fried chicken, but we do have healthy options for you to choose from.”

The focus on health means fresh, local, never-frozen meat from Ralphs Packing in Perkins is always a dining option in the facility.  “It is another part of healthy dining,” Johnson said, “Staying local and supporting local businesses. The less distance your food has to travel, the better it is going to be for you.”

The fresh, never-frozen burgers are a staple at the new B&B, Co. restaurant along with fresh squeezed orange juice every morning with breakfast, according to Johnson. The restaurant serves breakfast all day, burgers in the afternoon and vegetarian options for those who want to try something new. The restaurant will also offer Starbucks coffee, which Johnson is hoping to make a regular feature throughout campus.

The restaurant called The Natural is a new concept that gives OSU the distinction of being one of the first campuses to incorporate an allergen-friendly restaurant into its dining plan where all menu items are also gluten-friendly.

“The entire menu is allergen-friendly to egg, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat and peanuts” Johnson said. “The only tree nut used in the restaurant is coconut oil which is found in the milk free cheese alternative. Students have the choice of regular cheese or milk free cheese on the menu."

OSU’s involvement in the Partnership for a Healthier America requires it to meet specific criteria, which includes a wellness meal at all of its dining facilities, explained Johnson.  The Carvery offers the meal at the North Dining Facility, featuring a smaller portion of meat, some fresh vegetables, a roasted potato or vegetable medley and a piece of whole wheat bread for a side.

“We are in the business of making students successful,” Johnson said. “Whether that means giving students information, healthy food or cake because they had a bad day, our goal is to make them successful.”

The facility’s new restaurants include B&B, Co., Zest, Road Trip, The Carvery, Noodle U, Dash and The Natural.