By Abby Humphreys
Café Evansdale has been known this school year for providing students with luxury holiday meals, but its Health and Wellness Dinner brought its menu back to the basics on Thursday, Jan. 19, in order to promote healthy eating.
Though the the “Freshman 15″is a myth, a study conducted by Auburn University found that 70% of students reported total weight gain after four years of college, with the average amount being 15 lbs for men and 9.3 lbs for women. Events like the Health and Wellness Dinner may encourage students to make healthier choices while still enjoying the foods they eat.
The dinner featured spinach dip, balsamic chicken, brown rice, green beans, a fruit bake, shrimp tacos and customized spring roll and chicken Caesar wrap stations. At the dessert table were an assortment of cake bars, cookies and cake slices.
A smoothie station also offered several drink choices, and students could participate in a number of health-oriented services throughout the dinner, such as having their blood pressure taken.
The dinner felt light but also filling. The balsamic tomato topping on the chicken was flavorful, and the brown rice and green beans paired well with the main course. While standing in line at the spring roll station, I overheard students talking about how much they enjoyed being able to choose what went into their food, with many of them choosing to add extra avocado.
But by and large, the desserts were the real stars of the show.
I assumed the desserts offered would taste bland or overly sweet from use of artificial sweeteners like Splenda, but I was blown away by the pumpkindoodle cookies. Before the night was over, I’d eaten three, and I’ve found myself craving them since the dinner. The cake bars were also chewy and delicious, and each bite tasted like the sweet edge of a sheet cake.
In short, the Health and Wellness Dinner was different from other events the dining hall has hosted this year because of its accessibility.
Instead of serving hard-to-find foods like prime rib, everything presented at the dinner could be made in your home kitchen with little effort.Recipe cards were even placed next to some of the dishes so students could buy the ingredients themselves and recreate the healthy meal at home.
However, if I could offer one piece of advice to Dining Services, I would suggest adding more hot foods to the dinner, such as a healthy casserole or veggie pizza. I enjoyed the items that were served either room temperature or cold, such as the chicken wrap, but I missed something warm to eat on that cold January day.
If you’d like to make your own smoothie like the ones served at the dinner, you can find the recipes below.
All photos by Abby Humphreys