Comfort foods that make parents proud

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When kids go off to college, both they and their parents might have some concerns about the food being offered on campus. New college students often worry about gaining the “freshman 15,” but there are also concerns about what vegetarian options might be available and the overall health and variety of options offered. On the other hand, they might be excited about getting to eat all of their favorite foods, such as chicken strips, macaroni and cheese and pizza, whenever they want to.

Parents, however, wonder about the value of the food in cafeterias: Are their kids getting decent-sized portions of foods made with high quality ingredients?

Luckily, increased efforts from college and university foodservice means that both parties can be satisfied—comfort foods like Stouffers White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, made with high quality ingredients such as real cheese and milk, as well as other comfort foods that include fresh and locally grown vegetables and organic or sustainably raised meats, mean that diners get to eat delicious, healthful foods, while parents can rest easy knowing that dining dollars are paying for good food.

Offering indulgent items is to be expected in college and university cafeterias and other foodservice facilities, but it’s important to offer ones that diners and parents still feel good about choosing. By offering menu items like Stouffers White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, both diners and parents win. Diners get a meal option they can enjoy and feel good about eating, and parents can feel good about he foods their children are eating while away from home. And for operators, that’s key for participation in meal plans.

According to Technomic’s recent College & University report, 43% of college attendees say that a school’s dining program and amenities were important in deciding where to attend school, and once they attend, a full 80% participate in a meal plan. When asked what would encourage them to purchase a meal plan, 32% of students said higher quality food would, while 30% said the same about food that tastes better­

As for what makes food higher quality, factors such as no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no preservatives help. For instance, Stouffer’s White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese offers students a tasty portion of al dente cavatappi pasta, which is smothered in a creamy white cheddar sauce that features 9-month aged sharp cheddar cheese from New York. Students can treat themselves to that rich, indulgent flavor knowing that Stouffer’s products exclude things that health-focused diners want to avoid, such as high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients. And parents can feel comfortable knowing their kids are eating foods that don’t have any preservatives, that taste just like homemade.

Real white cheddar cheese and fun, trending pasta shapes like cavatappi make Stouffers White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese a better dish, which also makes for a better base for diners who want to customize their dish with protein and veggies for a more balanced meal. For example, topping white cheddar macaroni and cheese with braised chicken thighs, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and spring onions for a Spring Chicken and White Cheddar Ragout, or making a White Cheddar Harvest bowl by topping white cheddar mac and cheese with tender broccoli, turnips, onions and winter squash for a great veggie-packed main dish or side.

Creating better-for-you comfort foods is easy. Using real ingredients to build meals students love satisfies everyone, from parents to new college students and even operators. After all, increased interest in the food being served leads to more meals being purchased.

This post is sponsored by Stouffer’s®