The Whole Grains Council and Oldways food issues advocacy group challenged restaurants and foodservice operations across the country to step up to the plate and offer more whole grain options this summer. Virginia Tech's Dining Services did just that and swept the competition, winning the college/university category, as well as the grand prize, beating out entries from nine other categories.
The “Whole Grain Boot Camp” featuring Colonel Grain could be seen throughout D2 in June and July promoting the new menu items. The contest provided a chance to not only offer more whole grains for a short time, but to take it a step further. Feedback cards were provided to gauge guests’ thoughts on the various items that they sampled, and help determine what items they would like to see on the menu permanently this fall. The whole-wheat white pizza, sunshine granola, and buckwheat pancakes were among the favorites, and will soon be found on a regular basis in D2.
D2 is an all-you-care-to-eat restaurant located on the upper level of Dietrick Dining Center. It is the largest dining facility on campus and can accommodate more than 1,100 customers at one time. It features eight major food platforms, serving a wide variety of options including regional cuisine, grill items, and an authentic Brazilian churrascaria.
“Dining Services has made a commitment to serve cutting edge and nutritious menu offerings, and along with that, we also want to provide a wide selection of items that benefit students’ well being,” said Associate Director of Dining Services Ted Faulkner.
Nearly 20 new ingredients were brought in to create the varied whole grain options that were offered throughout the two-month period. D2 continued serving whole grain items already on the menu, altered some existing recipes to include whole grains, and created some completely new and original ones, such as Quinoa Berry Salad and Penne Romanoff. A very popular “make your own granola” action station was also incorporated into the mix.
“We looked at this competition as a healthy opportunity for our student customers,” said dietitian Jenny Lindsey. “We were able to develop and expand our whole grain offerings and use the competition as a way of educating our students about healthy eating.”
A representative from Dining Services will attend the “Just Ask for Whole Grains” conference in Kansas City in November to accept the award and give a presentation on the program.