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Tara Sanders–Healthy Dining Options

Posted May 12th, 2010 by Allyson

As UHDS’s dietitian, probably the most common question I receive is, “What foods are healthy in the dining centers?” If you ask ten different people what healthy eating is, I guarantee you will get ten different responses.  For some, healthy eating is a diet based in vegetarian, sustainably produced foods.  For others, healthy eating is a diet low in fat and calories.  Others believe that Mediterranean foods, largely plant based and rich in healthy oils, represent a healthy diet.

The truth is, all of these diets can be healthy. According to the USDA, a healthy diet is based in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, legumes, beans and vegetable protein sources as well as low-fat, calcium rich options.  To some, achieving a healthy diet may seem overwhelming in the dining centers. However, there are a few simple strategies that you can try in the dining centers to improve the “healthiness” of your meal:

  1. Eat more fruit and vegetables!   Make half of your plate fruit and veggie based and eat a variety of colors.
  2. Go whole grain!  Substitute processed grains for whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa and barley
  3. Eat more plant based proteins like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Looking for healthy and delicious fare?  Give these options a try!

Marketplace West:

  • Ring of Fire’s Pho bowls, a Vietnamese Pho soup available with tofu, chicken, shrimp and a variety of fresh vegetables
  • Serrano’s Mexican burrito, filled with your choice beans and vegetables all packed in a whole wheat tortilla;
  • Tomassitos’ whole wheat pasta and pizza crusts
  • Cooper Creek’s tofu jambalaya
  • Calabaloo’s Pacific City Salad made with local pears cranberries and fresh spinach
  • Clubhouse Deli’s roasted portabella vegetarian panini on a whole grain roll.

Arnold Bistro:

  • tofu panini with pesto and sundried tomato
  • entrée salad made from an expansive salad bar that includes fruit, vegetables, lean meats, tofu, beans and seeds
  • whole grain and legume special of the day

At Bing’s Café

  • build a whole wheat sandwich with healthy toppings like balsamic marinated and grilled chicken, fresh spinach and sweet bell peppers.

McNary Central

  • Boardwalk Cafés Indian curried chickpeas and char-grilled sole
  • Deli’s whole grain sandwiches with your choice meat or hummus and vegetables
  • Raintree’s locally made whole wheat bagels
  • Casa Della Pasta’s whole wheat pasta with pesto, artichokes and sautéed vegetables.

UHDS encourages guests to make informed food choices based on individual needs.  Nutrition information, ingredients and allergy information are transparent and available on line at the UHDS website (

If you have any questions or suggestions about the nutritional quality of foods available in UHDS operations, don’t hesitate to contact the UHDS dietitian, Tara Sanders at 541.737.3915 or at

Be Well!

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