The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Salad Bar Secrets: Crafting Nutritious and Exciting Meals on Campus

In the Heilman Dining Center, the salad bar is often overshadowed by mouth-watering pasta, sizzling burgers and melted cheese creations at the panini station. However, the salad bar is a canvas allowing University of Richmond students to blend vibrant flavors, experiment with textures and craft the perfect meal for their dietary needs. 

When it comes to crafting a delicious salad, Madeline Nathe, a UR registered dietician, emphasizes the importance of balancing carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. She notes that a common misconception about salads is that they should consist solely of vegetables, but this can leave you feeling hungry shortly after eating. Nathe recommends referring to Canada's Food Guide, which visually illustrates the recommended proportions of carbs, proteins and vegetables.

Creating a nutritious and delicious salad offers numerous possibilities. The salad bar offers quinoa, spinach, tofu, shredded chicken and a variety of vegetables including tomatoes and carrots, catering to both protein and vegetarian preferences. To incorporate healthy fats and enhance flavor, you can also add ingredients like avocado or cheese. The key is to ensure your salad is well-rounded and satisfying, Nathe said.

Indulge your creativity by trying UR’s rotating special salads. Recent highlights included inventive options like the strawberry and sesame salad, allowing you to savor unique combinations crafted by UR's talented chefs.

Hungry students, finishing their classes and seeking a well-rounded, exciting meal, often crave options from off-campus spots like Chopt or other bowl and salad-making restaurants. In order to fill these cravings without taking the time and spending the money to eat off campus, Nathe recommends creating your own restaurant-like bowl.

Students can craft their own Chipotle-style bowl by starting with brown rice from the stir-fry station or quinoa from the salad bar, Nathe said. They can add black beans, tomatoes, shredded chicken or sliced grilled chicken, along with cheese and avocado. Students can also find salsa at the condiment bar, she said. Nathe advises students to think of the salad bar as their own personal refrigerator, enabling them to assemble diverse and delicious meals right on campus.

Taking these recommendations to the test, first-year Vienna Tombline, explained her perfect salad creations. Tombline prefers to start her salad with a bed of romaine, then add quinoa and croutons, as well as chicken, mashed avocado and Caesar dressing. She also recommended adding parmesan, which can be found at the pasta station at the dining hall. 

First-year Madison Greenspan prefers combining black beans, chickpeas, onions, lime, seasonings, cherry tomatoes, corn and edamame to create a bean-based salad rather than a lettuce-based salad, she said. However, Greenspan would also like to see more lettuce options at the dining hall. 

“The dining hall should have kale and romaine instead of just spring mix and spinach,” Greenspan said. 

According to University of Richmond Dining Services, mark your calendars for Harvest Week from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. This event will showcase exciting seasonal ingredients sourced locally, adding a delightful twist to your salads.

Navigating the dining hall's multitude of food options can be overwhelming for students. However, simplifying your choices by opting for a well-rounded meal at the salad bar is an easy solution. Whether you're yearning for a Chipotle-style bowl or seeking a quick, sophisticated but simple meal, the diverse offerings at the salad bar in the dining hall provide a perfect solution. Embrace the convenience and creativity; your taste buds will thank you.

Contact lifestyle writers Emma Galgano and Arianna Sperati at emma.galgano@richmond.edu & arianna.sperati@richmond.edu

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