Menus of Change

Menus of Change: The Business of Healthy, Sustainable, Delicious Food Choices is a ground-breaking initiative from The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that works to realize a long-term, practical vision integrating optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility concerns within the foodservice industry and the culinary profession.

Plate of chicken caesar salad, small bowl with half a grapefruit, ice water with wedge of lemon, napkin and notebook.

What does it really mean?

Menus of Change is a set of principles that integrates nutrition and environmental science to develop recommendations that help foodservice and culinary professionals achieve optimal nutrition, environmental stewardship and resilience, and social responsibility within the foodservice industry. 

The vision is to guide food and foodservice professionals, like us in Dining Services, in creating meals that are not only delicious, but also nutritious and healthy, environmentally sustainable as well as socially responsible and ethical.  

Menus of Change University Research Collaborative

Menus of Change University Research Collaborative MemberThe founders of Menus of Change have started a secondary initiative, the University Research Collaborative. This is an opportunity for College and University food service departments to further the work of Menus of Change in addition to simply adopting the 24 principles.  The University Research Collaborative is a network of schools across the country who work together with each other as well as Menu of Change to help each other achieve success in their efforts to meet the principles of Menus of Change and also provide feedback and data that can be used to help advance the program. 

  • The Menus of Change University Research Collaborative is a joint initiative of Stanford University and The Culinary Institute of America that advances the 24 Menus of Change Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus while using dining halls as living laboratories for behavior change
  • Encourages healthier, more sustainable life-long food choices among students—who will soon be parents and adult decision-makers
  • Working group of scholars and experts from invited colleges and universities as well as the US Navy and the US Olympic Training Center

How Are We Doing It?

Here are just a few of the ways Holy Cross Dining is incorporating these principles into our residential and retail dining locations:

Be Transparent About Sourcing and Preparation

  • Dining Services has an open door policy encouraging students and the community to meet with us to ask questions or discuss ideas
  • Menu ingredients and nutritional information are available online

Buy Fresh and Seasonal, Local and Global

  • Dining Services purchases about 20% of our products from local suppliers or manufacturers and with our support of Worcester’s Food Hub, we tend to be a little higher than that during the seasons that allow for us to purchase more local produce
  • Increasing globally-inspired dishes like those from our popular Nile Project Dinner in April 2017

Reward Better Agricultural Practices

  • When making purchasing decisions Holy Cross Dining seeks to partner with farms that are sustainable and responsibly managed

Leverage Globally Inspired, Plant-based Culinary Strategies

  • Increasing the amount of plant-based proteins available throughout campus
  • Providing more vegetarian and vegan items to our students at each meal
  • Incorporating the "blended-burger" into our menus

Focus on Whole, Minimally Processed Foods

  • Sourcing products with cleaner labels
  • Developing recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients
  • Utilizing more whole and ancient grains
  • Choosing healthier oils in place of those with transfats

Grow Everyday Options while Honoring Special Occasion Traditions

  • We’re always looking to increase our daily menu with local and sustainable items, but we still honor our special occasions with traditional items such as Thanksgiving and our Holiday dinner in December

Reduce Portions, Emphasizing Calorie Quality Over Quantity

  • Introduced "MyPlate" into Kimball Main Dining Hall to educate students on proper portion size
  • Encouraging students to fill their plates with vegetables
  • Increasing the amount of plant-based protein options available campus-wide

Celebrate Cultural Diversity and Discovery

  • Working with our diverse staff to introduce menu items from a variety of cultures around the world

Design Health and Sustainability into Operations and Dining Spaces

Think Produce First

  • Our 40 foot salad bar in Kimball features a variety of fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables every day
  • Purchasing local when available
  • Offering a variety of plant-based main dishes and vegetable side dishes at every meal

Make Whole, Intact Grains the New Norm

  • Brown rice is available on Stir Fry daily
  • Steel cut oats are available every morning for breakfast as well as whole wheat bread available daily
  • Quinoa as well as other ancient grains are available on the salad bar 

Limit Potatoes

  • Introducing sweet potatoes as an alternative to traditional white potatoes
  • Adjusting our menu to allow for more whole grain and/or vegetable side dishes

Move Nuts and Legumes to the Center of the Plate

  • Increasing and rotating the amount and types of legumes used in our recipes
  • Expanding the availability of legumes in our salad bars

Choose Healthier Oils

  • Oils high in unsaturated fats like canola, soy and olive oil are used in place of oils containing transfats
  • Switching from an oil blend to olive or canola oil for cooking

Go 'Good Fat,' Not 'Low Fat'

  • Adding avocados to our salad bar
  • Offering more fish dishes on our menus

Serve More Kinds of Seafood, More Often

  • Serving sustainable seafood more frequently
  • Featuring and educating students on underutilized fishes

Reimagine Dairy in a Supporting Role

  • Sourcing only hormone/antibiotic-free locally produced milk
  • Incorporating more vegan items in our menus

Use Poultry and Eggs in Moderation

  • Offering egg whites on the Omelet Station
  • Encouraging students to choose plant-based protein alternatives

Serve Less Red Meat, Less Often

  • Incorporating several "blended burger" options throughout campus
  • Educating guests on proper portion size to reduce red meat waste and consumption

Reduce Added Sugar

  • Switching to salad dressings with cleaner labels
  • Sourcing cleaner labels on all products not made in-house

Cut the Salt; Rethink Flavor Development from the Ground Up

  • Reducing sodium content in our menu items
  • Removing salt shakers from dining room tables
  • Creating a "Flavor Station" in the Main Dining Room to encourage guests to adjust flavor without increasing salt
  • Switch to kosher or sea salt in all kitchens and dining locations across campus

Substantially Reduce Sugary Beverages; Innovate Replacements

  • Emphasizing Kimball's "spa water" and "hydration stations" across campus to reduce consumption of sugary beverages

Drink Healthy

  • Encouraging water consumption
  • Offering a greater variety of healthful options