Less fat, carbs, calories, sodium — menus are trimming down along with people’s waistlines.
This trend for healthier dining options is seen around campus through the establishment of restaurants offering more nutritious menu selections.
Announced just last month, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar will open at 40th and Walnut streets, occupying the vacancy previously held by Marathon Grill and MarBar. Harvest prides itself on using local and sustainable ingredients while offering most of their dishes at under 500 calories.
Harvest follows a national trend of healthy restaurant openings. “Nutrition … is becoming a major focus for the nation’s nearly one million restaurants, in tune with consumers’ increasing interest in healthful eating,” said Joy Dubost, director of Nutrition and Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association in a press release.
According to Dubost and the NRA, “local sourcing of everything — from meat and fish, to produce, to alcoholic beverages — is another big trend for 2012.”
Besides Harvest, other restaurants around campus are also garnering good reputations for health-conscious options.
Sweetgreen, which opened last April, has a menu consisting mainly of set or custom salads and frozen yogurt.
Nutritional values for their entire menu can be found online, where customers can build their own custom salads and see nutritional information. “It’s definitely a good thing to promote positive eating,” supervisor Jeff Thomas said in an earlier interview.
Older restaurants around campus have also taken up with the health trend. Beijing, the Chinese restaurant near 37th and Spruce streets that opened in 1988, developed a Health Menu two years ago that includes dishes made from all natural gluten-free ingredients and olive oil. Specific ingredients and calorie information are listed for all options on the Health Menu.
This restaurant was “developed with the student in mind,” owner Alex Yuen said, adding that he believes students are very interested in the Health Menu. He also plans on expanding the menu to offer lunch portions.
Apart from its Health Menu, Beijing also offers custom-made dishes, one that include low sodium, less sauce, oil or have the entire dish steamed. “That’s how people on campus control their diet,” Yuen said, referring to the possibility of customizing dishes as all orders are processed by hand. “The key thing is people have a choice here.”
Penn students seem to agree with this general trend. “I feel like, on this campus especially, students are very health-conscious,” College junior Leslie Kovach said. As an athlete on both Penn’s track and cross country teams, Kovach is mindful of what she eats. “I try and pay attention to what I’m consuming [and] have a balanced diet.”
For Wharton junior Adam Orozco-Comstock, convenience is definitely a big part of his dining decisions, but he admits to choosing something healthier when presented with two equally time-saving options.
Orozco-Comstock also notes the trend towards healthier eating. “People do put in a greater effort,” he said.
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