Healthy Fare that's In Demand

C&U operators dish about nutritious food that faculty and students crave.

Tilapia Printemps
The University of Montana, Missoula, Mont.

Tilapia Printemps tops the list of healthy foods at this Missoula school, which serves 15,000 students. Adapted from a previous menu item, Tilapia Primavera, the newer version replaces the original cream sauce with zucchini, carrots, red bell peppers, fresh parsley and a little unsalted butter. The dish has only 131calories per serving.

“It’s very colorful and inviting to the eye to eat,” says Mark LoParco, director of dining services. “A lot of our students don’t have access to varieties of fish and we are very conscious of that. We want healthy items that look good and taste great.”

LoParco relies on data from the computer system to rank the dish’s popularity. “It’s been on the menu for a year and a half. Things like carne asada or roasted turkey still outsell a fish item, but in terms of items that are healthier, this one does very well,” he adds.

Before adding the dish to the menu, LoParco’s staff tested it in the dining room and asked students to fill out evaluations. In addition, the management team personally looks to see who’s eating the dish and asks for direct feedback during mealtime. “Part of our goal is to educate students about food,” says LoParco. “We have kids who come as carnivores and now they’re vegetarians.” 

See recipe

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken herbs

We make and broadcast short YouTube videos on TV monitors to educate our customers about cooking techniques, like how to cut up a chicken or what herbs and spices go well together. The monitors also are used to display daily menus, nutritional and allergen information, upcoming foodservice events and local weather forecasts.

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

FSD Resources