Times have changed and now so has our campus dining. As many of you may know, Dodson has been turned into the new “all you care to eat” cafeteria, and the old Brown cafeteria has turned into The Cat’s Den. The new Dodson isn’t a good option for you if you just want a small snack, but the all-you-care-to-eat plan is great way for you to get the most out of your meal plan.No more same old same old meals anymore. You can’t go into Dodson right now and eat and go in tomorrow and find the exact same thing. There is a huge variety now, even offering healthy and vegetarian/vegan options. You can go online at http://wcudining.wcu.edu to view the menu for the day. The staple foods (salad and pizza bar) are still there, but everything else is totally revamped. Unfortunately, bottled drinks such as water and Naked juice are not available in the new all-you-care-to-eat plan, but you can purchase them in the C3 store before you go to eat. “There’s a variety in menu – one day we have burgers, one day we have reubens, one day we have grilled cheese sandwiches,” says Doda. Instead of using all the plastic cups and silverware like it did in years past, Dodson now uses actual plates and cups that get washed everyday. This helps cut down our trash output and it is more cost-effective. Surprisingly, even our leftover food gets reused – wait, don’t get any gross ideas! Employees at Dodson separate our organic trash and donate it to a local farmer with livestock to feed. This way, our dining hall’s waste out-put is minimal.”Where can you go to get a $5.75 meal?” she asks. Sure, there are other places you can get a meal for that price, even less… but not an all-you-care-to-eat meal. You can’t even get that price at Ryan’s or Golden Corral. Everything is self-serve now, with a few exceptions. Abony Galbreath, a student worker in Dodson was preparing the stir-fry station when I asked what they were having, and I was shocked when she told me they were having marinated tofu in addition to meat. “It’s marinated in cilantro and sautÃ©ed and made to order,” she says. As I went over to the HomeZone area, I found that they have low-fat granola and Kashi Heart-to-Heart next to the 2% milk. Tofu? Granola? Dodson, I’m impressed.Our campus registered dietician Karen White is collaborating with Doda to create healthier meals in Dodson, and helping students be aware of the healthier choices they can make while dining. A board of nutritional information will be posted that lists the Dietician’s Choice for each day, which will list two or three healthy choices for lunch and dinner. “What I had in mind when compiling my picks is the typical student I see in my office who either wants to lose weight or prevent gaining the ‘freshman 15’,” says White. “The Dietician’s Choice has usually no more than 500 calories and almost all are also low-fat. The choices are based on the standardized recipes provided by dining, and unfortunately cannot account for individual chef’s deviations from the recipes. I also include the time-tested principles of variety and eating veggies. Drinks are not included in the meals.” Here’s a sample of different healthy options provided in the Dietician’s Choice:
Calories Fat (gm)Pasta Primavera 454 13.1Cauliflower 18 0.4TOTAL 472 13.5
BBQ Chicken Pizza 289 7.1Broccoli 16 0.2TOTAL 305 7.3
Baked Pit Ham 123 4.6Rice 114 0.3Glazed Carrots 117 5.9TOTAL 354 10.8
When asked about vegetarian/vegan options in the past and present, Doda says, “We aim to make as many people as possible happy.” She acknowledges that there were not many options for vegetarians/vegans in the past but now that too has changed. There is a vegetarian option such as eggplant parmesan, for instance is a vegetarian choice. If you’re vegan, you can make a special request to cook yours without cheese. “We’re willing to work with everybody, and anyone who has special dietary needs,” she says.”We have geared our menu to be healthier. Students have choices now; I think it’s healthier” says Melanie Eckler, the manager of Dodson/Cyber. The Food Service Committee meets the first Thursday of every month, and students are welcomed and encouraged to come and present their ideas and comments in order to better food service on campus. E-mail Teresa at email@example.com for more information. And the best part about the new Dodson? JAN O’BRIAN! Yes, our beloved Jan from the UC is now working in Dodson. But don’t worry – she still remembers your name.