Dining Services Introduces New “Menus of Change” Program

(image courtesy of the Holy Cross Dining facebook page)

By Jackie Cannon

Chief News Editor

With the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, The College of the Holy Cross Dining Services introduced a new program, Menus of Change. According to the Holy Cross Dining website, this program was developed by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a goal of initiating food plans that are both healthier and more socially responsible.

On the Holy Cross Dining menus website, one is able to see a diverse array of new items, such as Lentil Bolognese, Cardamom Basmati Rice, Toasted Coconut Quinoa, and Mushroom Barley Risotto, just to name a few. The new foods Kimball serves represent a wider array of cultures and recipes, and they allow students to try a variety of more diverse dishes with healthier and unexpected ingredients.

The Menus of Change program is based on twenty-four founding principles that cover everything from where food is bought, to what goes into cooking it, to how much information is made available to students. Twenty percent of Holy Cross food now comes from local suppliers, with a focus on farms that are sustainable and Dining services has an open-door policy that allows students to have easy access to dining administration.

Holy Cross Dining has also been working to increase plant-based proteins in their meals, particularly in the forms of nuts and legumes. The salad bar in particular has seen additions of various kinds of legumes, as well as healthier fats like avocado. There has also been a focus on switching to overall cleaner labels with fewer and healthier ingredients, as exemplified with salad dressings that have less added sugar. Kara Cuzzone ‘19 summed up the changes to the salad bar simply: “I love the new additions!”

In addition to changing their menus and practices, Dining Services has also encouraged more student contribution and they have offered the opportunity for students to help pick new dishes that will be served. On Thursday, September 7, the main dining room held a contest between four Kimball employees to create a new dish to be served in Kimball. Students voted and decided on Deann’s zucchini noodle dish. Kimball has also served several items suggested by students, such as sweet potato soup and mujadara, a lebanese dish.

The goal of Menus of Change is not just to provide healthier options; the program seeks to educate students and allow them to make healthier, more environmentally-conscious decisions. They have implemented ways to teach students, such as plates marked with the “MyPlate” design to encourage students to be mindful of what types of foods they are eating at each meal.

The program is also ethically conscious, for it is in keeping with Holy Cross Sustainability initiatives. According to the Holy Cross Dining website,  “Only hormone/antibiotic-free locally produced milk is served on campus and all coffee served on campus is either locally roasted, fair trade or shade grown organic.” Furthermore, all waste is either composted, recycled, or burned for energy if it is unable to be recycled or composted.

To read more about the Menus of Change program and Holy Cross’s involvement, go to https://www.holycross.edu/campus-life/dining/menus-change and http://www.menusofchange.org/.

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