Nutritional Info

Nutritional Resource Carlene Thomas

Do you have questions about nutrition you would like answered by an expert? Carlene Thomas is our campus resource to answer any questions you may have and can be contacted at


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Food Quality and Nutrition Awareness

Students' awareness of nutrition and healthy eating is at an all time high. The need to focus on quality food and nutrition has become one of UMBC Dining's mission moving forward. Through our Eat. Learn. Live. and the Dine On Campus web site, we are not just saying that we are focusing on food quality and nutrition, we are actually showing it. After all, a well-nourished student is much more likely to get better grades in school! The following outlines our nutrition programs and how they will be implemented at University of Maryland Baltimore County.


Nourishing students is not only our business; it's our commitment to the community that we serve. These are just three simple words that communicate our singleminded commitment to provide the food and nutrition that fuels your students to succeed in their education, laying the foundation for a long, healthier life.


We take feeding our students very seriously. UMBC Dining dishes out quality foods with menus customized for the UMBC student and their nutritional needs.


Living a successful life includes giving to others and being sensitive to the environment and community. UMBC Dining is fostering healthy communities by encouraging volunteerism among our associates by giving our time and resources to local and national efforts.



UMBC Dining fuels hungry minds for success in education. For without healthy, balanced choices to keep them energized, students can't learn. Our initiatives also include stepping up nutrition education in our dining locations, learning about the community around us and gaining real world experiences through employment with UMBC Dining. UMBC Dining understands that we have a responsibility to education and learning as part of our role as the dining service provider.



Nutritional Profile of Today’s Student

Wellness in the Workplace Vision 

We are a resilient, healthy community committed to the health and wellbeing of each of our faculty, staff, and students. We understand the connection between self-care and our responsibility to care for the whole. For the sake of the whole community we participate in wellness activities that sustain us on a physical, mental, and emotional level to carry out the mission and vision of UMBC. From this focus on wellness, we strengthen our community of caring and support, which serves as a model for higher education and the larger world.

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Eat. Learn. Live. is our mantra and guiding principle. We believe every student should enjoy life and learn to eat and live in a positive, healthful and balanced way. Balanced U is our way of bringing those principles to life for our students. Balanced U is not a set of recipes. It is our new holistic approach to campus health and wellness based directly on industry research into the needs and desires of our students. 
Providing nutritious meals is our responsibility. Providing nutritious meals our students love to eat is our mission. We have created a program that appeals to student interests and objectives, and provides healthy choices. 
Balanced U offers three creative approaches to maximize nutritional impact on our campuses, and positively influence students to choose healthier meals.
Healthy food may be defined by a set of nutritional criteria by the USDA, but our extensive industry research and campus focus groups have indicated students don’t always use those same markers to evaluate the nutritional qualities of a meal or food. Healthy means something different to almost every student. Some look for low fat, low calorie or low cholesterol. Others evaluate healthy foods by where the food originated or how it is produced. And many students incorporate certain foods into their diets because of the perceived immediate benefits-providing energy, building muscles, burning fat and more. To meet these varied expectations we offer students information and education, allowing them to determine what is healthy for their lifestyle.
Nutritional Information: 
More students than ever are requesting nutrition information for the products we serve. As a culinary based company that strives to provide customized culinary solutions for every campus we serve, we are concerned about providing accurate nutrition data for our recipes. 
Our solution is Webtrition. Webtrition allows us to customize recipes at the unit level and analyzes the nutritional quality of the food based on our proprietary ingredients. After a recipe is entered, it is analyzed by two chefs and Chartwells Director of Nutrition for culinary and nutritional accuracy. Webtrition produces line identifiers with basic nutrition information that are printed directly from the established menu cycle at each unit, correlating to the unit selected recipes. What this means to our customers is both a customized culinary experience and accurate nutrition information at point of service.
Balanced: These food choices are identified because they are limited in nutrients detrimental to health when consumed in excess. These foods make better choices for a healthier diet. 
Vegetarian: Vegetarian choices do not contain any animal products with the exception of eggs, dairy and honey. 
Vegan: Vegan choices do not contain any animal products at all including honey, dairy or eggs.
Sustainable: Sustainable choices contain a product that has a positive environmental impact. This can include chicken with reduced antibiotics, cage-free shell eggs, organic products, local products or sustainable seafood. 
Monthly Subjects:
College life is all about learning. The experiences don’t end when you leave the classroom and the dining hall is no exception. You are now in control and have the freedom to make decisions independently, whether they are healthy or not.    We know that when you eat well, you perform better academically and socially and have a more positive college experience.
We know what you are looking for, because we asked you! Our program was developed using student surveys and input. From this we know your goals are to perform well on your next exam, build more muscle during workouts and feel better when you are stressed or homesick. We can help you meet all those goals by identifying foods that support your mission-to feel as great as you can all the time!
Our Balanced U Monthly Subjects are offered during the school year and feature topics that interest students from a variety of aspects. Each monthly topic has been researched by a team of dietitians and offers an established variety of foods to support it. Your campus team will feature selections of these foods in various recipes during the month and will highlight special recipes and menus on designated signage.
What we hope you will learn is that there isn’t one magical food for each health goal, but that wholesome foods work dynamically in the body to provide a host of healthy benefits.
Topics Include:
August & September: Energy and Performance Foods
These foods help provide sustained energy and build muscle when combined with a strength training program. They are great for study sessions or to just feel energetic every day. Foods highlighted will include whole grains, low glycemic index fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy products, and beans or legumes.
October: Healing and Immunity Boosting Foods
These foods help support a healthy immune system to fight a cold or prevent one. With cold and flu season just starting, students need to know a healthy diet can keep them going strong all winter so they never miss a class. Foods highlighted will include citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, green tea, nuts and certain varieties of fish.
November: Brain Foods
These foods help support what students will likely see as the most important organ in their bodies during their college career. Food choices have a major impact on how well our brains think and function. Providing students with appropriate options to sustain them during long study sessions will help them perform optimally. Foods highlighted will include fatty fish, low fat dairy products, eggs, darkly colored fruits and vegetables, walnuts, whole grains, green tea and olive oil.
December & January: Foods to Ease Stress and help you Feel Good
Food actually does help us feel better when we are blue. And it doesn’t necessarily need to include fatty or calorie ridden traditional “comfort foods”. Instead, a healthy diet that provides the right kind of nutrients can enhance feelings of wellbeing. Foods highlighted will include fatty fish, whole grains, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources and low fat dairy.
February: Foods to Get You Looking Great
We really are what we eat-on the inside and on the outside! If you eat junk, your skin, hair and nails will look like junk. But if you make the right food choices your skin will glow, your hair will be shiny and your nails will be strong. Foods highlighted will include antioxidant rich berries, lean beef, dark leafy greens, and bright root vegetables as well as lean proteins and low fat dairy products.
March: Fat Burning Foods
We were hoping to find the miracle food here, but alas, no such entity exists. What we did find was that certain meal patterns can influence your metabolism, and a few studies do indicate some foods increase your metabolism even if only temporarily. We will take all the help we can get! Foods highlighted will include whole fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, hot peppers, green tea, lean proteins and omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, walnuts and flax.
April & May: Earth Friendly Foods
More students than ever before are concerned about the environment. Our focus group research indicates that students draw a dotted line between what is healthy for the environment is healthier for them as well. Industry experts agree that reducing consumption of animal products is probably the biggest single dietary act we can make that has a positive impact on the environment. For April and May we are focusing on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, local foods, seasonal foods, and unprocessed foods. Each of these options contributes positively to the environment in their own unique way. 
Stealth Health:
Stealth health is a critical component of our Balanced U program. Research and discussions with students have taught us two things: 
  1. Students want to eat healthy, but not too healthy and not all the time. After all, who can really eat salad and granola every day?
  2. Students don’t always want to know everything. If they know something is healthy, the perception of flavor is altered. Sometimes healthy food is better left alone so you can just enjoy the flavor.
Students really just want to eat good food. This means food that is quality, tastes great, and is good for them. We meet this need with our Stealth Health initiatives. 
Chartwells 2011 Stealth Health Initiatives
1.      Identify opportunities to offer more fruits and vegetables on cycle menus.
2.     Identify opportunities to incorporate more whole grain choices on cycle menus.
3.     Identify opportunities to reduce fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
4.     Identify opportunities to reduce sodium.
5.     Eliminate added trans fat in resident dining cycle menus.
6.     Reduce added sugars.
To accomplish these broad goals, we take a strategic approach combining purchasing opportunities with planning and culinary creativity.
Increasing Fruits and Vegetables
·        Each Executive Chef evaluates their personal opportunities on the campus they serve for creative ways to offer more fruits and vegetables. Interesting vegetable casseroles, roasted vegetable salads and sandwiches, and fruit based desserts are just a few of the ways we encourage students to consume more fruit and vegetables. We also offer a salad program where we provide salad recipes on the salad bar and rotate ingredients on the so the typical “standby” salad doesn’t become mundane and boring.
·        All Chartwells accounts offer vegan and vegetarian options daily that focus on beans, legumes and vegetables as protein sources.
Increased Whole Grains
·        We now offer more whole grain breads, pastas, and grain blends on our salad bars, entrée stations and other areas of service. We have incorporated whole grain pizza crust and pancake recipes into our regular menu cycles.
Reduced Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
·        Chartwells offers vegan and vegetarian entrees daily that focus on legumes as protein sources. Studies have shown that incorporating at least one day of meatless dining significantly reduces fat, saturated fat and cholesterol intake.
·        We offer skim milk and soy milk alternatives.
·        We offer smaller portions of meats and other animal proteins, including cheese. We use or offer lower fat cheese when possible.
·        We use only canola or olive oil in cooking applications, unless real butter is absolutely necessary as in baking.
·        We offer reduced fat or fat free salad dressings and spreads, including mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese.
·        We offer and use bulk reduced fat or fat free yogurt.
·        We bake traditionally fried foods whenever possible, including French fries.
Reduced Sodium
·        We work directly with our vendor partners to reduce sodium content in products they sell us, and directly with our Chefs to provide them education on the use of herbs and spices to directly impact flavor-without adding more salt. One example is our homemade marinara sauce that is made from fresh or no-salt-added canned tomatoes. Full of herbs and spices, no one misses the sodium! 
Trans-Fat Free
·        We were the first foodservice company to address this issue and no longer use any fats or oils in our food preparation that contain trans fats, and we don’t purchase any items to serve students that contain trans fats including pre made pies, cakes, breads, sauces, or the like.
Reduce Added Sugars
·        We offer sugar-free beverage alternatives including soft drinks and flavored waters.
·        We offer fruit based desserts with no sugar added.
Perhaps most importantly, our chefs are always evaluating creative ways we can continue to include more healthy choices, or reduce intake of less healthy meals. Pizza, burgers, fries, chicken fingers, ice cream and other such foods are always student favorites. However, we know that when they are on the menu daily some students will eat them daily. To offer more variety our chefs try to avoid putting those items on a daily menu cycle. Instead, we strive to serve those foods at strategic times and offer them as the “sometimes” foods they should be.
As new recipes are developed within each unit, our Director of Nutrition reviews each of them to monitor sodium and other nutrient levels and makes recommendations for changes when thresholds are exceeded. Our culinary teams across the country are always looking for other ways to introduce more stealth health opportunities. 


Nutritional values on this web site were provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are for comparative purposes only.
Foods offered on campus may not directly reflect the stated values of similar or like items.