NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Chicken nuggets are flying the coop as New Jersey’s flagship state university begins changing its menu to offer healthier choices that take a smaller toll on the planet.
Besides chicken nuggets, Rutgers University is eliminating cold cuts and offering locally grown produce and less processed foods under its Menus of Change initiative.
Filtered water dispensers are also coming to all dining halls and will be more prominent than the tab on the side of the soda machine.
“We are trying to get back to whole, minimally processed foods without refined sugars and develop a palate of globally sourced spices, rather than putting so much sodium and preservatives into our food,” said Ian Keith, a Rutgers chef.
Chicken wings will be baked instead of fried, coated in fresh spices instead of sauce from a jar. Turkey roasted and smoked by Rutgers chefs will join poached salmon and halal lamb. Hash browns will be replaced by Peruvian hash made with heirloom potatoes, spinach and roasted onions. And chicken sausage will replace pork sausage.
Dining services director Joe Charette said the changes were driven partly by students.
“Our students are concerned about what they are eating and where it comes from,” Charette said. “They ask a lot of questions, and they are eating smarter, so we have to make more choices available that are not only better for their health but better for the planet.”
Dining services has developed a relationship with people and groups that grow produce at Rutgers so their fruits and vegetables are served whenever possible.
The changes begin in April with a new takeout menu at the Neilson Dining Hall on the Douglass Campus and will expand to the three other dining halls at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the fall.
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