In an effort to promote heart-healthy eating habits, University Housing and Dining hosted a Mediterranean Dinner event at Jester Second Floor Dining and Kinsolving Dining on Thursday evening.
University Housing and Dining aims to host an educational dinner at least once a semester. UHD registered dietitian Lindsay Wilson said the idea for Mediterranean Dinner originally came from wanting to host an event related to Heart Month, which takes place in February. Wilson said the basis of the heart-healthy options includes plant-based food such as fruits, vegetables and legumes.
“The Mediterranean diet has consistently been ranked as one of the best diets to follow and actually does follow the guidelines by the American Heart Association for a heart-healthy dietary eating pattern,” Wilson said.
A group of student employees educated diners about different olive oils and cooking oils. Students played a Mediterranean food trivia game in which they won prizes by spinning a wheel if they answered questions correctly.
Place mats on the dining hall tables showcased details about the Mediterranean diet, a map of the Mediterranean stood at the entrance of the buffet, and signs above the serving lines featured fun facts about the food being served.
Students can find heart-healthy foods at the daily salad bars and the vegetarian or vegan stations at Kinsolving and J2, though most stations will include a plant-based option, Wilson said. However, the Mediterranean foods are not available regularly.
Wilson recommended students use the digital icon labeling system next to each food option that details nutritional information and allergens and prioritize fruits over sweets for dessert.
“I really like how they included vegetarian options today because normally it’s pretty hard to get vegetarian options at Kinsolving,” said Tejas Mehta, a computer science and business freshman. “Today, they have an especially good variety, and I appreciate that they were trying to be inclusive.”
Wilson said her favorite part of the meal was the Moroccan chickpea tagine, a slowly cooked stew.
“We purchased some beautiful tagine pots to feature at that station,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she was also very excited about the gelato featured at the dinner because it was different than normal desserts UHD serves.
“The paella was pretty good, and also they had gelato ice cream,” business freshman Jennifer Cho said. “I’m a very big dessert person, so having it instead of the ice cream machine was nice.”