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Mapping Out Healthy Eating With the Help of Dining Services and Healthy UNH

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Healthy UNH and Dining Services have teamed up to make healthy eating on campus easier than ever with a new interactive map that provides nutritional information on food offered in the dining halls. The map also shows what healthy options are available in Dining’s retail stores.

When you hover over a dining hall link on the eating guide map, (http://www.healthyunh.unh.edu/Dining/ ) you will get the option to check out the daily menu. Choosing that provides a plethora of keyed information on each food choice. The key defines http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpglite choices as less than 350 calories, 10 grams fat, 750 mg sodium per serving;http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/VG.jpg vegan as having no animal products; andhttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/V.jpg vegetarian as plant-based, including dairy and eggs.

Foods that could contain potential allergens bear this logo http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpg whilehttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gf.jpg indicates food that is gluten free. This symbol http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs0star_sm.jpg is part of the Guiding Stars nutritional rating system that Dining Services introduced in 2009. The healthiest choices get http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs3star_sm.jpg three stars. Rankings of one to three stars are given, based on FDA and USDA recommendations.

Here’s an example of how you put it all together. If you ate in Holloway Commons Jan. 30 and checked out the menu ahead of time, you would have seen that parmesan potato soup (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/V.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs0star_sm.jpg) had less than 350 calories and was vegetarian but lacked the nutritional value recommend by Guiding Stars. Vegetarian four bean chili (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/VG.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gf.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs2star_sm.jpg) however, met both of those standards while garnering two stars. Ditto for a grilled chicken sandwich (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gf.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs2star_sm.jpg).  With less than 350 calories, a slice of cheese pizza (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/V.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs0star_sm.jpg) provided another vegetarian choice.

For dinner, Asian BBQ pork (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Allergen-web.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs0star_sm.jpg) with brown rice (http://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/VG.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/Lite.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gf.jpghttp://foodpro.unh.edu/LegendImages/gs2star_sm.jpg) was a healthy choice with the pork having less than 350 calories and 10 grams of fat and zero Guiding Stars while the rice earned two stars and has less than 350 calories and 10 grams of fat.

To find out how many calories the two items contain together, click the “nutritive analysis” option that appears to the right of the dinner menu heading. From there, select the Asian pork and brown rice and hit “show report” located at the bottom of the page to learn the meal has 329 calories, 9 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein. Sugar and sodium content are listed as well, as are the amounts of saturated and trans fat, fiber, vitamins A and D, iron and calcium. 

You can do this for any item listed. If a food doesn’t have a symbol beside it on the menu, you can get the nutritional information through the nutritive analysis. Take beef lasagna, for example. From the menu you only learn it may be a concern for people with allergies and doesn’t earn any Guiding Stars. But when you go to the nutritive analysis and run a report, you find out a 6-ounce serving has almost 332 calories, 17 grams of fat, 23 carbohydrates, and 20 grams of protein.

“We are pleased to work with Healthy UNH to promote good food choices and an active lifestyle for the university community,” says Jon Plodzik, director of Dining Services. “This guide is just one more tool to assist us in building awareness of our efforts and continuing education for all those we serve.”

While nutritional data isn’t available for foods served at places like Zeke’s CafĂ©, the Wildcatessen and the Dairy Bar, hovering over their icons on the interactive map will show examples of healthy food choices they offer.