Stanford University has become the nation’s first campus dining program to be REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) Certified for its use of nutrition and sustainability best practices by The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC). Earlier this month, USHFC has also announced that a number of corporate dining locations operated by the Guckenheimer contract management firm had also received such a designation.
Modeled after the LEED green building program, REAL Certified designates food and foodservice operators for excellence in their commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
“Stanford is helping set new standards for higher education foodservice by offering an abundance of plant-based meals and utilizing food from many local and sustainable sources,” said USHFC CEO Lawrence Williams in making the announcement. “We’re pleased to recognize this dedication to nutrition and sustainability.”
USHFC’s third-party registered dietitians utilize the points-based REAL Index to audit and certify commercial and onsite dining operations across a range of criteria such as the utilization of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthful preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, behavioral components that encourage “better for you” choices, and sustainable practices for food sourcing.
“R&DE Stanford Dining is committed to excellence in the pursuit of delicious and sustainable food. We believe that by providing our students with high-quality, great tasting and sustainable food choices, and by educating them on healthy cooking techniques and sustainable ingredients, we can influence healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime,” commented Eric Montell, executive director of R&DE Stanford Dining when the designation was announced. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the United States Healthful Food Council as we share a common goal of advancing healthier, more sustainable food choices for everyone.”
Stanford placed No. 13 on FM’s 2014 College Power Players listing, the highest ranked private university on the list that ranked schools by the number of students living on campus. At the time, almost 11,400 of the school's 18,000+ students lived on campus, helping the dining program generate over $28 million in annual revenues.
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