In response to students and staff wanting healthier food options, the college hosted Veg Out Down Under on Friday, Jan. 27 in the Down Under area of the COM building.
Claudia Martin-Ayoade, campus dietitian, is hard at work making campus healthier by guiding students and staff that reach out to her.
“I meet with students and staff or people who want to talk to me about nutrition and weight loss issues and how they can eat while they’re on campus,” Martin-Ayoade said. “I work with different departments who may want me to come give a talk about nutrition whether it’s the athletic department, student life or one of those groups.”
Veg Out Down Under meals cost $5.95 each and will be offered monthly if the students respond positively to it.
“We’ve seen an uptick in people wanting meatless dishes,” Martin-Ayoade said. “We’re trying to accommodate them, which is why we’re having the [Veg Out Down Under] … and we’re looking to probably try and do that once a month; to have some kind of meatless menu for the whole day and so we’re starting here and working our way up and that’s in direct response to students and staff asking us for more nutritional options.”
Healthy daily options at the college are a salad bar and a vegetarian option in the hot bar with the future goal of having healthy snack options in every vending machine on campus.
“We’ve started to do a vegetarian option on the hot bar everyday, we’re trying to incorporate more healthy items like snack items for vending machines and the coffee bars,” Martin-Ayoade said. “Our goal is to have a minimum of 25 percent of the vending machine items should be healthy items.”
Jason Arnett, the manager of the food court and coffee bar operations, has been working at the college since 2012 and seen an increase in demand for healthier food each year.
“We’re getting a lot more comments and a lot more people are getting a lot more vocal about wanting options particularly vegetarian and just in general healthier [options],” Arnett said.
The best way for the wants and needs of students and staff to be heard about their dining preferences is to get on social media and comment or to contact Martin-Ayoade or Arnett.
“The best thing that we can do is get a reaction from students and staff; praise for [what] we are doing is helpful and just suggestions on what else we can do to do better,” Arnett said.
-Cierra Wenciker, JCAV-TV, contributed to this report