Guiding Stars at the University of North Dakota

Choosing a healthy meal in college can be hard sometimes when you’re not sure how to prepare a meal on your own in the first place. By having the Guiding Stars program at UND, choosing a healthy “starred” meal is simple. Each dining center strives to put one “starred” item on their menu for every meal served. One star is good, two stars are better and three stars are the best nutritional value. These “stars” are located on the food item’s green label.

Choosing a healthy meal is never difficult for me, because I look at the green labels hung on the sneeze guards. My favorite place to find a meal is at our Specialty Bar concepts. This year, UND Dining Services has added fourteen new concepts to this area! I was so excited to be a part of the planning for these concepts and at the same time enjoy them as a student consumer. Some of my favorite added concepts are “Egg-stravaganza” (omelets), “Oodles of Noodles” (pasta), “Souper Bowl” (bread bowls/soups) and “El Burrito Grande” (burritos). There are many more to choose from, these are just a few that I like the most. Out of all of these stations, you can make a meal that can satisfy your palate and give you good nutrition, all at the same time.

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One of my favorite concepts is the Oodles of Noodles. Who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? I usually create a serving of either whole wheat spaghetti or whole wheat penne, each of which earn 1 star. On top of the noodles I sauté some veggies: julienned peppers, sliced carrots, broccoli, and spinach, going light on the amount of oil I use to sauté them.

Another of my favorites is Souper Bowl, especially when it’s the middle of January and below zero. I love to warm up with a bowl of our Quinoa Chili, which gets two stars! It’s packed with protein and low in guilt. If you’re looking for breakfast in the afternoon or dinner, the Egg-stravaganza concept is where you can build your very own omelet. I like to build mine with all of the vegetables and use egg whites.

Another way to escape the freezing cold is taking a trip to the El Burrito Grande, to make your very own burrito. By creating a bowl filled with brown rice, black beans, grilled peppers and onions and adding a little cheese and salsa you have a full course meal that includes most of the food groups needed in one day.

These are just a few options offered at The University of North Dakota dining centers that are nutritious and enjoyable. To the students reading this, go check out one of these recipes and see for yourself how the dining center is changing to fit your needs.