Colorful smoothies bottles filled with fruits and vegetables fill the fridge at SUNY Plattsburgh State’s Sundowner along with carbonated Kombucha.
Jeff Vallee is the campus dietician. He has played a part in bringing the new Jack and Olive pre-made sandwiches and salads, as well as the Naked smoothies and Kombucha to PSUC.
“‘On the Go’ program for me is about consistency, quality and menu variety. When you improve those, it’s a win-win,” Vallee said.
Vallee works with dining advisory committee, the Fitness Center and partners with the Nutrition Department. Before bringing in new food options into PSUC, Vallee plans to visit other schools to see what food they serve and attend different conferences. The dining advisory committee, made up of students will sample these new options as well.
“We don’t want menu fatigue,” Vallee said.
One of the big changes since last year was the accommodation of students who have food allergies and preferences. The Sundowner offers gluten-free and vegan options for different foods. Soups can be made gluten-free and vegan mac and cheese is available Mondays. With the most recent changes, some of the pre-made sandwiches have gluten-free bread.
Things like Wednesday Bento Boxes and evening pizza bakes have been implemented to add different options throughout the week.
Valle aims for variety within the Sundowner.
According to Vallee, Workers at the Sundowner have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the students.
Digital media major Maddie Stewart believes new options at the grab-and-go station have provided students with better food options when they are in a hurry from class to class.
“A lot of my friends eat really healthy and I would hear a lot about how it was hard to get health food there easily, and now they can just grab salads and different types of fruit,” Stewart said.
A favorite of hers is the new snack boxes with apple slices, carrots and melons inside. Stewart tried cantaloupe and different melons for the first time. The smoothies, kombucha and grab-and-go options have allowed students to branch out and try new food.
“It was all Pepsi products and now that whole entire thing is full of the Naked products and Kombucha, which is right next to where you check out, so it’s more beneficial because that’s where people will look first,” Stewart said.
Although the new drinks are more expensive, it is a healthier alternative to drinking soda.
“It gives students a little break and just healthier things to choose from which I think it really important in a college setting,” Stewart said.
Expeditionary studies major Timmy Rickert said,“It’s easier to eat healthy now.”
The sushi is better and the premade salads are a great option according Rickert. The only downfall for him is that the salad packaging uses a lot of plastic.
“I think this has been a nice change,” said Rickert.