Vandals Dining at the University of Idaho has teamed up with the school's organic farm, the campus dietician and the Coordinated Program in Dietetics to deliver Simple Servings, an allergen-free zone in the Bob’s Place resident dining hall.
Simple Servings is a concept developed by campus dining services provider Sodexo to provide a dining option for students with dietary restrictions or preferences. Wholesome food is prepared in a simple manner without gluten or seven of the most common food allergens: milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and wheat.
“This dining station provides information about food allergies in a hands-on format while supporting student autonomy,” says Sodexo General Manager Pat Clelland. “The design of Simple Servings contributes to student success by offering a holistic, student-centered and nutritious dining format. Students with food allergies and intolerances can now enjoy meals seamlessly with their peers.”
Simple Servings lunch and dinner menus change daily and include varied protein options like fin fish, beef, pork, chicken and turkey. Meals at this station includes a protein option, vegetable, carbohydrate and full salad bar.
Szechuan Flank Steak with Local Broccoli, BBQ Chicken Breast with Parsley Red Potatoes, Glazed Baked Ham with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Peruvian Lime Chicken Breast with Cilantro Basmati Rice are a few examples of daily menu offerings.
The zone includes a self-service refrigerator stocked with gluten free products, an independent microwave, toaster and low output convection oven.
The station also showcases locally grown produce from the University of Idaho’s Soil Steward Farm, located two from campus.
Students enrolled in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics cook and serve this student-grown produce, as well as learn about food service management while completing their fall supervised practice rotation.
During the Fall Rotation, dietetic students join the Dining Services program to complete their work experience component of their curriculum, which exposes them to the process of high volume production in small batches. One of the areas of rotation the students will experience is the Simple Servings format, closely touching on the scope of work they will encounter in their careers as dieticians.
The Simple Servings format also hosts a Spring Internship program developed in collaboration with the Dietetic Program at the school. It supports the necessary work experience and requirements for graduation of a selected student assigned to this location.
“In the Simple Servings format, as in all dining formats, we break down the nutritional information of each item using Sodexo’s SMG signage program,” Clelland says.
These signs include My Fitness Pal information that, when scanned into a phone using a barcode, allows health-conscious students track their nutritional intake.
Menus are developed by the dining team with input from Sodexo’s national dietician Beth Winthrop and campus dietician Marissa Rudley.
Chef Justin Fuchs and Tristan Mossip oversee production and Kathleen Weaver oversees Service. The dining team is led by David Reynolds, Operations Manager, while efforts in sustainability are coordinated by Katlyne Clark, marketing Coordinator and Jessie Gieurre, Sustainability Intern.