Sourcing of ingredients is a key component for creating a sustainable food system. This is carefully considered by the chef and the administration that make key decision in our dining halls. Chef Michael Giese and his staff follow the Monterrey bay seafood watch criteria for fish, this means all fish served on campus are chosen to be served because they will not contribute to overfishing or create additional stress on endangered species. The dining halls also only utilize hormone free dairy products, eliminating rgbh/rbst growth hormones from foods produced on campus. The dining halls choose to exclusively purchase cage free eggs.
Most notably, the chefs and administration at Chartwells take ownership of sustainable sourcing and see our own campus as a resource in this effort. Both Commons and Harris dining halls use produce grown by the student sustainable farm. In fact, the dining halls are the farm’s main buyer. The importance of sustainable and local produce is so important to chef Michael Giese; he has personally invested in the student sustainable farm by donating sees for the next growing season. It is a goal to continue to foster the student sustainable farm’s growth and use their produce as often as possible.
Preparation of Healthy Options
Chef Michael Giese was brought on specifically for his expertise in creating healthful meals. His work is proof that eating well does not mean missing out on flavor. In fact, there is a conscious effort to provide customers with a diverse taste experience. Any given day, there are many healthful options to choose from, whether it be vegetarian Indian cuisine, or authentic Korean meat dishes, there really is something for everyone. There are more vegetarian and vegan options available to customers in the dining halls. There is even an expansion of healthful and vegan dessert options, like coconut milk rice pudding.
Chartwells provides dietary information on all of their products they produce. Each dining hall has a kiosk where you can log your food choices and find out how many calories, how many grams of fat, protein and carbohydrate you consume. There is also the “dine on campus” website, available through the Texas State website, where you can evaluate the health of options before you go to dine on campus. WellCats is also working with Chartwells to create a go-to list of healthful choices from the catering menu. This is a great way to enjoy a meal out without sacrificing your wellness goals
Managing food waste
Food waste can be a huge obstacle in creating sustainable food systems. The dining services of Texas State University are aware of this and actively combat wasting of food. When food in Harris or Commons goes untouched, members of the food recovery network pick up those items and take them to local homeless shelters and community members, to help provide a delicious and healthful meal to residents of San Marcos that are in need. Some of the locations that receive these meals include the Southside community center and Hays county food bank. For food waste that would typically be thrown away, another method is used. A campus organization, Bobcat Blend, picks up these items and uses them to make compost. This compost is then used by the student sustainable farm to produce more local produce for the dining halls to use.
Give it a try!
With all the effort on campus for healthy food and sustainable practices in the dining halls, the staff want to see more WellCats members give them a shot. They offer a wide variety of healthy options at one flat price, and are conveniently located for many faculty and staff members. There are so many flavorful and nutritious options, there is something for everyone! The staff even allows you to try foods if you’re unsure of a new flavor or item before purchasing a whole portion. This week try to branch out, try a new flavor, and use the dining halls at Texas State University as a resource for your wellness journey!
Personal interview with Chef Michael Giese and Mr. Steven Granados, 4-15-16 3pm, Commons Dining hall
The Tough Mudder Central Texas is almost here!
The Tough Mudder Half, May 14th
The Tough Mudder, May 21st
Here at Total Wellness, we take action to promote healthy lifestyles centered around physical activity for the entire family, and this week we have a few tips for encouraging healthy kids!
1. Lead by example - This one is important, and anyone can do it. Whether we have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors, or students, our influence is stronger than we know. If you're able, plan times to engage the youth in your life in physical activities that are fun and rewarding. Exercise doesn't have to be a "chore". Let them see you enjoying exercise as a part of your healthy lifestyle. Try new activities, and encourage them to do the same.
2. Cook with kids - Healthy eating can be a challenge with children. A great way to expand their palette is to get them active in the kitchen. Allow them to make choices from a selection of healthy options, teach them to prep new foods, and experiment with flavor combinations to find new things they like. Not much of a chef yourself? That's okay! Find a cooking class to take together! (The Hays County Food Bank offers cooking class for youth and adults at Chapultapec Center.) Not only will they pick up a few valuable kitchen skills, but they'll begin laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
3. Choose healthy rewards - Rather than rewarding children with sweets, junk food, or video games, consider celebrating good behavior and accomplishments with rewards that benefit their well-being and vitality. Allow the child to help plan a special outing, award them with a trip to a bowling alley or skating rink, plan a special family game night or sleepover with friends, etc. (The same goes for how we reward ourselves! Let your children see you making good choices, and rewarding yourself in ways that work *toward* your healthy lifestyle goals rather than against them!)
4. Choose positive language - Keep your talk about healthy living positive. Try not to let kids (or yourself, for that matter) hear you speaking negatively about the healthy choices you're making. Rather than "Ugh, I have to work out today, or I'll ever lose this weight!", have them hear "We have 30 minutes before dark, let's go outside and play! We'll all feel better!" Then do it! Instead of "I can't have dessert, I'm trying to fit into my jeans", let them hear "I think I'm going to have fruit instead, it's just as sweet, but I have so much more energy when I eat well!" The way you choose to speak about your choices not only impacts THEIR values, it impacts yours as well.
Total Wellness-San Marcos at the San Marcos Activity Center has a children's program called Fit Kids Club that encourages healthy eating and offers fun, age-appropriate games and activities alongside Adult Group Fitness classes, allowing families to get fit and stay fit together. Schedules can be found under the Total Wellness-San Marcos tab above. For questions about Fit Kids Club, contact Marty Wright.