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Healthy Eating at Every Dining Hall on Virginia Tech’s Campus

Virginia Tech is known nationally for it’s food — we are ranked highly for our dining facilities, food options and health-conscious focus. Although we have plenty of healthy options, they can sometimes be forgotten among the delicious, savory foods offered. Take for example, West End Market, where there is a whole shop dedicated to salads, but yet the quesadillas are still somehow a crowd favorite. Beyond a basic salad, here are healthy some ideas for healthy meals and snacks from every dining center on campus!

Au Bon Pain

  • Apple and Cinnamon Croissant: When stacked up against all the other croissant options available at ABP, this is the healthiest. Only 220 calories, and complete with extra flavor when compared to a regular croissant, this menu item is as good as it sounds!

  • Hot or Iced Coffee and Tea: Coffee is a great drink choice from ABP because it is low in calories and gives you an energy boost when you need it. The tea options from ABP are another great choice that don’t contain too many calories or sugar, but have plenty of flavor for when you crave it. Skip out on the made-to-order drinks, usually offered at the Au Bon Pain in the GLC.

  • BLT, Chicken Salad Sandwich and Tuna Salad Sandwich: These three cafe sandwiches stand out from the rest because they are considerably lower in calories and have high amounts of protein. The Tuna Salad Sandwich is the No. 1 sandwich in this category, because it has the lowest amount of sodium!

  • Two Tomato Caprese (with or without chicken) and Chicken Avocado Sandwich: These two sandwiches from the signature sandwiches category both have a moderate amount of calories, with high fiber. To give these sandwiches a quick change, ditch the bread to cut down on carbs.

  • Cheese and Fruit, Fruit, Eggs and Nuts, Fresh Fruit and Mixed Nuts: These to-go snack options from ABP are amazing! Take your pick for a protein-packed snack that will keep you feeling satisfied. The fruit options vary depending on the location, but options at ABP usually include grapes, mixed fruit and honeydew.

  • Vegetarian Deluxe, Thai Peanut Chicken Salad and Caesar (with or without chicken) Asiago: Salads are all pretty healthy, but these three made the top cut because of their low calories. Considered without dressing and extra toppings, you could save on sodium and carbohydrates as well.

  • 12 Veggie Soup: A personal favorite of mine, 12 Veggie Soup is delicious! As you can tell, it has 12 different vegetables packed in, making it nutritious as well. This soup is perfect for a hot day and goes well with just about anything from ABP, whether it be a sandwich or some chips.

Find the full menu here.

Burger ’37

  • Turkey Burger: When comparing all the protein options at Burger ‘37, turkey takes the lead. This is because it is a lean meat that offers plenty of flavor and protein, with less calories and carbs. To make this option even healthier, skip the bun.

  • Fresh veggie toppings: Instead of opting for bacon, take the more healthy route of fresh vegetables on your burger. Burger ‘37 options include: banana peppers, avocado slices, jalapenos, lettuce, pickle chips, red onions, roasted red peppers and fresh tomatoes.

Find the full menu here.  

D2

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal: This breakfast staple is a great option to keep you feeling filled, longer. Oatmeal can also be topped with plenty of things, including fresh fruit or chocolate chips!

  • Yogurt Bar: Yogurt can also be topped with plenty of different toppings from the topping bar! Toppings include: roasted almonds, blueberries, sliced coconut, craisins, honey, raspberries and more.

  • Scrambled Eggs: Scrambled eggs have less calories, less fat and less sodium than the other offering of steamed eggs. Eggs are a great source of healthy protein.

  • Salsa’s: Salsa’s, a shop within D2, also offers their own breakfast options, Monday through Friday. The best route to go for their breakfast is skipping out on the bacon, cheese and sour cream.

Lunch and Dinner

  • Asian Vegetable Stir Fry: This stir fry is super tasty and has plenty of flavor. Even those who aren’t the biggest fans of veggies will enjoy this dish!

  • Steamed Rice: When it comes to choosing between steamed or fried rice, go for steamed! If more flavor is needed, mix your rice with other sides, or perhaps add a dash of soy sauce.

  • Gaucho’s Carved Pork: This protein packed pork will be sure to please. Low in calories and high in flavor, you can add BBQ sauce for taste.

  • Lemon Herb Rotisserie Chicken: This chicken has plenty for taste and is fairly low in fat. Find this in the gluten-free line at Gaucho’s!

  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti: Choose the whole wheat option over the regular penne pasta option to save on calories and fat. This option is also fairly high in protein and iron.

  • Marinara Sauce: When it comes to sauce, marinara is the clear choice. Marinara is lowest in calories when compared to alfredo and meat sauce, and overall, healthiest.

  • Olive’s Specials: These fresh vegetables and hummus choices are always a good idea! They vary, but usually fresh or steamed items are the best.

  • Salad Bar: The best way to make a healthy salad is balance. Start with basic greens and add fresh toppings, and from there, dress your salad up with some prepared toppings, such as proteins, croutons and some dressing.

  • Fruit: Fruit can usually be found throughout D2, and makes for a great dessert after your meal! Offerings vary, but fruit can be paired with yogurt or ice cream.

Find the full menu here.

Deet’s

  • Chicken Noodle Soup: This classic staple soup is a great, healthy option that’s perfect for a cold Blacksburg day.

  • Veggie Bagel Sandwich: This sandwich is packed with vegetables, including cucumber, red peppers, red onion, cabbage and spinach.

  • Edamame Bowl: Edamame is a healthy snack that’s convenient since it’s a grab-and-go option at Deet’s.

  • Individual Oatmeal Cup, Classic: This oatmeal is filling and would be a great breakfast paired with some fruit or coffee.

  • Fresh Mixed Fruit Bowl: Fruit bowls are also available at Deet’s and have a great mix of fruit in them, including: pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes and strawberries.

  • Coffee and Tea: Keeping these drinks simple is the key to keeping them healthy. Avoid excess syrups and extra sugar.

Find the full menu here.

Dunkin’ Donuts

  • DDSMART®: Dunkin now has a category of menu items that are much healthier than the typical, high sugar and fat donut. According to their website, these items are “reduced in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar or sodium by at least 25% compared to a base product or other appropriate reference product, and/or contain an ingredient or nutrient that is nutritionally beneficial.”

    • Drinks can be customized to classify as DDSMART® options.

    • Food options include: Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin, Oatmeal, Multigrain and Whole Wheat Bagel and more.

Find the full menu here.

DX

Breakfast

  • Country Ham Biscuit: When compared to the other hot sandwiches offered in the morning, this biscuit has the most balanced nutrition. It is low in calories and also has a good amount of protein.

  • Hash Brown Square: Everyone loves hash browns, so it’s great to see that they aren’t too bad, according to their nutritional information. For one hash brown, there are 100 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol and even 2.4 grams of protein.

  • Vegan Breakfast Bowl: This breakfast option is great for vegans and non-vegans alike, and comes complete with raspberries, bananas, low fat granola, and more.

Lunch and Dinner

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich: Out of all the hot sandwiches available, this has to be the best. Packed with protein, and grilled instead of friend, this sandwich is a great choice.

  • Gluten Free Turkey/Provolone Sandwich: If you prefer a different protein, choose turkey! This sandwich is gluten free, and has fresh vegetable toppings.

  • Caesar Salad: This salad comes with and without chicken, so it’s perfect for those who don’t eat meat as well. The salad comes with a lid on, so it’s a great on-the-go meal.

  • Fruit Cups: Fresh fruit is always a great option, and DX has plenty of options! These include: mixed fruit, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, pineapple and strawberries

  • Chia Pudding (with berries): This pudding makes for a good snack that can satisfy any sweet tooth. Although satisfying, it’s not too sweet, and doesn’t contain too much sugar.

  • Fresh Fruit: options include bananas, apples and oranges.

Find the full menu here.

Hokie Grill/Owens Food Court

Hokie Grill

  • Chick-Fil-A: Opt for grilled chicken, and try the salads! Also, don’t use too much dressing or sauce. Try having fruit with your chicken, instead of fries.

  • Blue Ridge BBQ: Try the roasted turkey, and pair it with some of the healthier sides like baked beans, green beans or coleslaw.

Owens

  • Veggie Burger: This burger is a nice option to get plenty of protein, without consuming meat or additional calories. Find it at Farms & Fields!

  • Rotisserie Chicken: Protein is a staple item for a meal, so why not keep it simple? This chicken is perfect for anyone, from a picky eater to the most open-minded foodie. It has an impressive 56.8 grams of protein.

  • Vegetarian Pinto Beans: Beans are a suitable side dish to a meal, and are a staple item for vegetarian protein.

  • Pacific Blend Veggie Stir fry/Rice: This stir fry has to be one of the best items at Owens. It has a variety of vegetables, and is great with jasmine rice!

  • Light Smoothies: If you are opting for a smoothie at Owens, be sure to see if they have a lighter option. These have fewer calories and sugar.

  • Burrito Bowls: Get rid of the tortilla and enjoy a burrito bowl! Burrito bowls are highly customizable and offer great nutrition with sources of protein, healthy fats and vegetables.

  • Salad Bar: This option is awesome because there are endless possibilities for salad topping combinations, as well as choices for different dressings.

Find the full menu here.

Turner Place

  • Bagels: Go for the whole wheat or 12 grain bagels from Bruegger’s — they have plenty of protein! When it comes to spreads, opt for “light” options that have lower calories and fat.

  • Breakfast Sandwiches: Egg White and Cheese, Skinny Zesty Egg White, Smoked Salmon. These are full of good protein and are delicious!

  • Jamba Juice Smoothies: Go for smoothies that don’t have sherbet in them, since that is full of extra sugar. Opt for whey or soy protein to help keep you feeling satisfied.

  • Jamba Juice Boosts: Boosts may cost a little more to add to your smoothie, but extra nutrients and protein can be a fabulous addition!

  • Jamba Juice Smoothie Bowls: The Pitaya Bowl and Acai Bowl are the best bowls at Jamba because they are lower in calories.

  • Fire Grill: Opt for basic proteins that are grilled, not fried. Choose veggies for your sides.

  • Origami Sushi: The simpler your sushi roll, the better! Avoid rolls that include fried ingredients.

  • Soup Garden: Make your own salad and load it up with fresh toppings. Avoid heavy dressings. The Greek and Garden side salads they have can serve as great inspiration.

  • Qdoba Burrito Bowls: Skip the tortilla and save your calories on a filling protein and vegetables! Chicken and steak are some good choices. Avoid sour cream and chips.

Find the full menu here.  

West End Market

  • Pasta: Opt for whole wheat pasta. Marinara is the healthiest of the sauces available at West End, and is also vegetarian.

  • Asian Rice Bowls: These bowls, available at Leaf & Ladle, are both flavorful and fresh. They contain the protein of your choosing, along with fresh vegetables.

  • Salads: Any of the salads available at Leaf & Ladle are fantastic options; just be sure to choose a light dressing!

  • Garden Vegetable Soup: This soup is available at Leaf & Ladle, and is amazing. It’s filled with vegetables and has a tomato base.

  • JP’s: When eating here, pair a healthy protein with some vegetable sides. The daily specials will keep your choices ever-changing. They also have seafood options, if you enjoy shrimp or salmon.

Find the full menu here.

Tip: Explore the daily menu options for dining halls — new foods could become a new favorite. Nutrition information for all menu items is available online.

No matter what you choose to eat on campus, choose the foods based on what fits your lifestyle and makes you feel good! Healthy options are available all around campus, so you’re bound to find a new favorite food when you explore new foods. Happy eating!

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Kaitlyn Horinko

Virginia Tech '19

Kaitlyn can usually be found 15 minutes early to wherever she's going, with Starbucks in hand. She is passionate about social media and finding new ways to advocate for mental health, and enjoys making playlists, road trips, and writing in her free time.
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