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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2008

Residential Dining offers 'Smart Choices' and adds organic menu

University of Iowa students and guests have many delicious and nutritious food choices at Burge and Hillcrest Market Places. But so many options can cause confusion: How to eat a balanced diet within a healthy calorie range? Are organic foods a better choice? Can I eat at the Market Place AND be environmentally conscious?

To help customers make informed food choices in its Market Places and in their everyday lives, UI Residential Dining has developed the "Smart Choices" initiative to assist in making decisions about personal and environmental health. "Smart Choices" has three facets: "Live Smart," "Waste Not" and "It's Only Natural."

The latest development is the "It's Only Natural" program, which provides organic foods at the Market Places. Since January, organic apples, baby carrots, spinach, raisins, sunflower seeds and balsamic vinaigrette dressing have been available on the fresh salad bar. There is also an organic sandwich choice each week, made with all-organic ingredients.

Under the "It's Only Natural" logo, customers can find foods and beverages that meet the criteria to be considered organic. And Greg Black, director of UI Residential Dining, says the program is always looking for locally grown and organic foods that can be added to the menu within cost parameters.

Through "Live Smart," students are encouraged to choose a balanced diet and participate in a regular exercise program. Nutritional information, including the calorie and fat content of many foods, is posted in the Market Places and on the Residential Dining Web site

The Market Places are also transfat free, since they use Asoya, a soy-based frying oil. To encourage physical activity, Residential Dining co-sponsors the university's "Night Games" program and promotes other campus activities.

"Waste Not" is a Market Place program designed to reduce its impact on the environment. "To try to reduce food waste, customers are reminded to watch their waste as well as their waists," Black says. "In other words, they should take reasonable portions and only what they intend to eat. Moderation in food choices and amounts is the key to healthy students and a healthy planet."

Residential Dining has also participated in a student-initiated pilot composting program at Hillcrest to investigate ways to turn its food waste into organic matter for fertilizer. For more information on this composting project, see and Currently, consideration is being given to making the program permanent, Black added.

For more information on the Smart Choices initiative, visit the Residential Dining Web site at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Greg Black, UI Residential Dining, 319-335-3000,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,