New this semester, UNH Dining has added an allergen-friendly food station at Holloway Commons and a wellness station at Stillings Hall. With many students having specialized nutrition concerns — some as significant as severe food allergies or celiac disease — UNH Dining has long accommodated the need for meal options that are safe from allergen cross-contact, where one food comes into contact with another food, and has now expanded those offerings.
“The goal of making these changes was to support the Student Senate resolution to have additional hot, fresh-prepared gluten-friendly offerings within each dining hall, and we extended that to include the top most common food allergens and adding vegan options as well since we have been getting increased requests,” explains Rochelle L’Italien, registered dietitian nutritionist with UNH Dining.
The new allergen-friendly station at Holloway Commons follows on the success of the one already in place at Philbrook Hall. It is open daily for lunch and dinner, offering a protein, starch and vegetable, along with soup, salad and gluten-friendly pasta. All dishes are free of milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat and gluten to avoid the eight most common food allergies. The new wellness station at Stillings Hall includes whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and healthy meat options with a focus on reducing food allergens. Stillings also has a vegan station available.
Local, Nutritious, Delicious
A student describes the nutrition options at UNH dining halls.
As a Healthy UNH partner, UNH Dining has eliminated almost all trans fats, introduced all-natural and organic foods and reduced the use of sodium. UNH Dining also uses Guiding Stars to rate the nutritional value of specific foods according to FDA and USDA guidelines. UNH Dining is also one of 37 programs that are part of the Menus of Change initiative, which aims “to realize a long-term, practical vision integrating optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration and social responsibility concerns within the foodservice industry and the culinary profession.”
What do students think?
L’Italien notes the response has been very positive, with a front-page feature in the student-run newspaper, The New Hampshire, highlighting the new stations. “Not only do these new updates serve guests with special nutrition concerns such as gluten and allergies, the offerings also are appreciated by all for their freshness and nutrition-minded status, which is in line with our focus on local, healthy and sustainable initiatives within UNH Dining,” she says.
The addition of these most recent health-focused stations follows more good dining news: the designation of all three UNH dining halls and the Dairy Bar as Green Restaurant certified.