Sargent nutritionists say health food can taste good
Sargent nutritionists who developed Sargent Choice foods say healthy food can taste good.
Feel like having pizza, but don’t want to ruin your diet? You don’t have to with Sargent Choice pizza, made with 100 percent whole-grain pizza dough and low-fat cheese. In fact, many of your favorite foods have been modified through the Sargent Choice healthy eating program to give you the same great taste without all the fat and calories.
Sargent Choice foods, which are available throughout campus, are made with 100 percent whole grains, increased amounts and varieties of fruits and vegetables, fat-free and low- fat milk, measured amounts of heart-healthy oils, and limited amounts of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugars, and salt. These healthy food choices make it easy to observe March as National Nutrition Month without sacrificing taste, says Stacey Stimets, coordinator of the Sargent College Nutrition and Fitness Center and a registered dietician.
“We start out with something delicious, and we modify it as much as we can by using less fat, sugar, and salt and flavoring it with something else, like reduced-fat cheese or herbs,” Stimets says. “In the end you have something that’s still delicious because it has healthy ingredients.”
Complete entrees, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and baked goods have been modified through the Sargent Choice program to provide healthy alternatives to students’ favorite dishes. The foods, which are labeled with the chef hat/apple logo, are available at all dining halls, the Faculty Dining Room, the George Sherman Union, Breadwinners at the School of Management, Ferretti’s, the FitRec Center, and the BU Pub.
Before Sargent Choice was implemented last year, people trying to adopt healthier eating habits did not have a wide variety of nutritional choices available to them at the dining halls. Without choices, many people fall off the diet bandwagon, says Stimets.
“Barriers to healthy food choices include lack of options, variety, taste, satisfaction, and knowledge. You have to provide choices and give variety. We wanted to give a choice at every food station,” she says. “If people feel they are making concessions, they will give up, but if the food is satisfying, fills them up, and tastes good, hopefully they will make that choice again.”
In fact, the success of the program may hinge on how good the foods taste. Sargent dieticians and nutritionists teamed up with cooks from BU Dining Services to create dishes that are both healthy and delicious.
“We strongly believe that Sargent Choice foods need to have the right tastes and textures in order for this program to work,” says Michelle Vitagliano, marketing director of Dining Services. “Otherwise, no one will want to eat it, no matter how healthy it is. As a result our chefs spent a lot of time tasting the foods to make sure there is enough flavor and that the texture is right.”
And, Vitagliano says, the BU community has embraced the Sargent Choice program. “As a result of the partnership between Dining Services and Sargent College, we have a fantastic program that has been extremely well received by students, faculty, and staff,” she says. “We get comment cards and e-mails almost daily thanking us for having Sargent Choice foods, which makes it all worthwhile.”