Chartwells Higher Education is launching a program called FYUL that uses functional foods such as herbs and spices to help support the lifestyle goals of college students. Developed by the Chartwells culinary team in partnership with McCormick Consumer Testing, FYUL highlights the purposeful benefits of everyday foods and incorporates these high-functioning ingredients into recipes that are to be deployed on dining hall menus at all 280 Chartwells campuses across the country.
The program is built around eight categories that align with the needs of students:
• Immunity Boost offerings feature antioxidant-rich ingredients and spices that build up the immune system;
• Love Your Heart foods are comprised of omega-3 fat rich foods that are shown to be beneficial for healthy heart function;
• Sustained Energy recipes focus on a balanced combination of whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables to help maintain consistent blood sugar levels;
• Improved Clarity options include a variety of herbs, spices and elixirs that help with brain focus;
• Protein Packed choices offer at least 20 grams of quality protein and have been enhanced to include ingredients like chilies, mustards and onions that are known to support metabolism;
• Earth Friendly dishes include spices such as cumin, basil and curry blends that are both earth friendly and craveable;
• Recovery foods include healthy proteins and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that help replenish and restore sore muscles and tired minds; and
• Clean Eats, the most simple of the offerings, do not include any preservatives or additives and feature whole unprocessed ingredients.
“What we wanted to push past was this idea that because things are healthy for you, they don’t taste good,” remarks Laura Lapp, vice president of sustainability & culinary services for Chartwells Higher Education, “so we’ve really been leaning heavily on McCormick to help us build that flavor profile in which we address global food flavors that are so interesting to this generation [with] the added [health] benefit from the herbs and spices themselves.”
Currently, there are about 150 recipes in the system, Lapp says. Examples include a black bean and sweet potato taco, a salmon poke bowl with black barley and lime crema and an almond milk based “golden milk” incorporating turmeric.
The dishes are meant to be incorporated into residential and some retail dining outlets. FYUL recipes include not only entrees but also side dishes, desserts and breakfast items.
“We are not being strict on [individual units] having to serve [a specific FYUL] item on [a particular] day, but we do ask that they serve something at least once a week,” Lapp explains. “We’re giving them some guidance, but they do have some flexibility in terms of what they want to promote. We’re trying to keep it fresh by making suggestions on what’s new and where they can put different recipes.”
Recipes have specific category tags on the serving station signage to indicate which of the eight FYUL categories it falls under, along with the FYUL logo.
FYUL received a soft launch last fall and student reaction has been positive,” Lapp reports.
“I think my favorite moment came during a client event where we had some of these options and the client tried them and then kept going back for more and more,” she laughs. “He kept saying, ‘I can’t believe this stuff is healthy for me because it tastes really good!’”