In 2008 the Furman University Department of Health Sciences and Furman Dining Services created the Eat Well initiative to promote and increase the selection of healthier foods on campus. At the time, popular items included fried chicken fingers, French fries, pepperoni pizza, and the infamous Dining Hall freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Initial efforts focused on health education and positive messaging to increase the demand for healthier choices. Items such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, lean meats, and low-fat dairy are labeled with the “Eat Well” logo throughout campus. Short tidbits about the healthier items were also included to market their benefits. Every day, a list of Eat Well items is posted on the campus email system with an example plate showing a balanced meal. Half of the plate is filled with colorful vegetables and fruits, one quarter with whole grains, and another quarter with lean protein. After careful consideration, Eat Well organizers refrained from posting calorie counts on menu boards and did not use any type of messaging that would create a negative attitude about food or body image.
Over the past two years, the demand for healthier choices has increased significantly on campus. Dining Services continues to develop innovative strategies and introduce new items to meet this demand. Campus favorites now include items such as:
- a daily vegetable bar featuring at least four different steamed, roasted, or stir-fried vegetables
- a large salad bar with fresh vegetables, fruits, edamame, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- homemade hummus, salsa, and fresh cut vegetables
- plain yogurt, fruit, and low-fat granola
- brown rice pilaf, whole grain pasta, whole grain breads
- whole grain vegetable pizza
- a variety of cold salads with whole grains, vegetables, and beans
- citrus flounder, baked tilapia, grilled chicken, and lean pork tenderloin
- an oatmeal station with cinnamon and raisins
- an omelet station with eggs, egg whites, and fresh vegetables
- skim milk, 1% milk, and soymilk
- fresh cut melon, apples, pears, oranges, and bananas
- a flavored water station with fresh oranges, lemons, limes, or cucumbers
A review of the Dining Services food production records suggests that the campus has replaced many refined grains, fried foods, fatty meats, and high-sugar items with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Due to the success of the Eat Well initiative, the Dining Hall has recently implemented a permanent Eat Well station and plans to continue the expansion of healthier offerings to meet campus demand.
Click here to learn more about Furman’s Eat Well program.