At the health-conscious University of Miami, the common phrase “You are what you eat” is largely dependent on where you eat.
Sophomore Nick Cote said he makes an effort to ensure that his meals are as healthy as possible.
“Whenever I go to places like [Chartwells] or the food court, I try always to make part of my meal healthy,” Cote said.
What constitutes a healthy meal? Some experts believe that low-calorie meals are healthiest, while others believe that the quality of the ingredients of the food, not the calories, are most significant.
Ashley Falcon, the assistant director of wellness at the Wellness Center, said that food with the fewest number of calories is not necessarily the healthiest.
“Calories are important but, first off, you want to look at the saturated fats,” Falcon said. “Those are the fats we want to keep at bay.”
Overall, the Wellness Center offers some of the healthiest food on campus. The center’s Juice Bar sells several different types of wraps, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and juices.
The Triple Berry Zinger smoothie, at 230 calories and .5 grams of fat, and the “Big Al” wrap, at 245 calories and 9.2 grams of fat, are two of the healthiest options, according to a Wellness Center pamphlet.
But while the Wellness Center may offer healthy fare, convenience is crucial for most college students and the University Center food court is a popular dining venue because of its central location.
At first glance, the food court, which houses fast food chains and junk food galore, could discourage a health-conscious consumer. However, many of those same restaurants do in fact offer healthy cuisine. Dieters and health-conscious students may be relieved to find that their diets do not need to be sabotaged by eating at fast food favorites such as Wendy’s and Panda Express; there are healthy options.
According to fastfoodbook.com, the healthiest meal at Panda Express, which offers Asian cuisine, would be an order of tangy shrimp with steamed rice and mixed veggies for a total of 680 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat. At Wendy’s, the healthiest option would be the grilled chicken wrap, which is 260 calories and 3.5 grams of saturated fat, or the Mandarin chicken salad, which is 180 calories and 0.5 grams of saturated fat.
Outside of the food court, venues such as Sbarro’s or Starbucks are popular among students. Sbarro’s garden salad, with 35 calories, paired with one slice of cheese pizza, at 460 calories, can make a balanced meal. At Starbucks, the healthiest options include the dulce de leche light blended coffee, at 70 calories, and the 280-calorie sesame bagel.
Chartwells, the on-campus dining hall, has taken several steps in the past months to make their food healthier for students. Leland Rapport, the resident district manager of Chartwells, released a statement listing several of the changes Chartwells has implemented:
1. Complete transition to all zero trans fat margarines and spreads.
2. Transitioned all frying and sauté oil to canola and olive oil in our signature brands and resident dining.
3. Increased the use of organic whole wheat pasta and brown rice.
4. We offer antibiotic and hormone free chicken and pork products.
5. Our chefs use “no salt” added tomatoes and reduced sodium soup bases.
6. We offer only rBGH-free milk.
For the students who are looking for a healthy food option on UM, you really don’t have to look that hard. If you have any questions about any of the other healthy food options on campus, please visit www.dineoncampus.com.