By LAUREN OLSEN
The University of Mary Washington’s Eagle Dining team continued their efforts to encourage students to make healthy food choices by introducing a “Healthy Mondays” meal series at Seacobeck Hall.
The program began on Feb. 11 and focuses on highlighting the healthiest meal options each Monday by designating them with a red apple icon and a “Healthy Selection” label. Signs are also posted at the cashier stations, listing the healthy selections being offered in each dining room during that meal period according to Kori Dean, general manager of Eagle Dining.
“This will not change the menus at Seacobeck,” said Dean. “[This] is just an opportunity for students to see what the healthier options are.”
Dean referenced several other Eagle Dining initiatives, including their decision to post nutritional information in the dining halls, and the partnership they are beginning with MyFitnessPal App.
“[‘Healthy Mondays’] is just one of the steps in our effort to help students make healthy choices,” said Dean.
Dean explained that “Healthy Mondays” was also inspired by vegetarian and vegan students who had voiced concern about being able to more easily identify suitable options at meal times.
The Humane Society also contacted Eagle Dining hoping to launch “Meatless Mondays” in order to promote the idea of eating more plant-based dishes which have less impact on the environment; “Healthy Mondays” serves, in part, as a response to these requests.
“By shining a spotlight on our healthier options, most of which are plant-based, we hope to make it easier for vegetarians and vegans to consider choosing these healthier menu options,” Dean said. “We do not, however, want to exclude from consideration lower-fat meat proteins, such as roast turkey or roast chicken, for those who want to eat meat, but who also want to reduce their fat and calorie intake.”
Dean said that she hopes that eventually the apple icons will be used to designate healthy meal options every day.
Senior chemistry major Karmel James is excited by the awareness that “Healthy Mondays” promotes.
“We’re pretty busy as students—it’s pretty easy to just go for the French fries and the burgers,” said James.
James believes that, now that there will be more awareness of the healthy options available at Seacobeck, students will be more likely to gravitate toward them.
Seacobeck employee Te’Ona Callahan agrees that making students more health conscious is a very positive development.
She explained when food is labeled, “You begin to notice more stuff…you ask more questions.”
Junior Lizzie Greene is also pleased with the concept behind “Healthy Mondays.”
“It makes me feel good to know the campus cares about our health,” said Greene.
Some students, like junior Tesia Zogran-Werness, expressed concern that there still are not enough healthy options available throughout campus dining.
“A lot of the stuff available [at Seacobeck] is meat or carbohydrate-based…and not everyone always wants a salad,” Zogran-Werness said.
Junior Christine Grilliot agreed.
“But any movement towards healthiness is good.”
Dean said that, while she thinks there have been a sufficient amount of healthy options at Seacobeck, they may not have always been recognized as being so.
It is this added visibility that has students like James so excited. “This is a great attempt to get us to eat healthier,” she said. “We will see what happens.”