Chartwells and Cornell release "Smarter Lunchrooms" research results

Key findings include serving in multiple locations, naming vegetables and nutrition labels.

ITHACA, N.Y.—The final phase of nutrition regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will go into place this July, requiring school districts to offer more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables both in school meals and outside the meal program. With more than 31 million students receiving school meals each day, ensuring access to healthy food choices at school can have a powerful impact on students' overall health. Recognizing this, in 2012 Chartwells School Dining Services partnered with the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (B.E.N. Center) to study the impacts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and how principles from the nationwide Smarter Lunchrooms initiative can help students embrace nutritious foods.

"The results from our partnership with Cornell are very exciting for us at Chartwells and for the entire child nutrition industry," explained Rhonna Cass, President of Chartwells School Dining Services.  "We value our partnership with Cornell and look forward to our future work together."

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The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

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gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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