Nutrition Science seniors: Healthier food options more available on campus, if you know where to find them

The Rooster crepe from Greyhouse

The Rooster crepe from Greyhouse Coffee & Supply Co. is a protein-packed breakfast item recommended by Purdue nutrition science senior Emma Briggs.Tim Brouk

Written by: Tim Brouk,

Some students in the Purdue University Department of Nutrition Science remember having to scramble for healthier eating options on or around campus in the past.

But since the transformative renovation of the Purdue Memorial Union (PMU), which now boasts 11 new restaurants in the Atlas Family Marketplace, nutrition science seniors are happy to report healthier options — packed with good nutrition and flavor — are more available. To commemorate National Nutrition Month, three seniors utilized their nutrition know-how to offer their on- and near-campus balanced nutrition dining tips for breakfast and lunch.

Fresh Fare, PMU

Bailey Foster poses for a picture in the Purdue Memorial Union.

Bailey Foster recommends the avocado toast from Fresh Fare. The dish boasts healthy fats to keep her full and reduce snacking throughout the day.Tim Brouk

Bailey Foster starts her day with avocado toast from Fresh Fare. The toast is also topped with greens, tomatoes, red onion and cucumber, which rounds out a medley of vegetables, carbohydrates from the toast and healthy fats from the avocado.

“The healthy fats help you stay full for longer,” she explained.

Foster said she was thankful for Fresh Fare and other options in the newly renovated PMU. New international options and even the salads at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux have been welcomed as new lunch options.

“I feel like Purdue did a really good job of picking things you don’t normally see around,” Foster said. “And there’s something for everyone at all of these restaurants. Purdue did a great job when they remodeled the Union.”

Aatish, PMU

Zoe Luckie poses for a picture in the Purdue Memorial Union

Zoe Luckie enjoys the healthy Mediterranean options at Aatish in the Purdue Memorial Union.Tim Brouk

Zoe Luckie said the “Chipotle concept” of “building your own” meal is a great way to keep things balanced and on the healthy side. The halal Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors of Aatish offer a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats as well as much needed color in the form of vegetables and fruit. A recent study found a typical Mediterranean diet with colorful fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats found in beans and nuts and smaller amounts of animal proteins “is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.” Checking all these boxes reduces snacking too.

Luckie loaded up her rice bowl lunch with grilled chicken, hummus, babaganoush, lettuce, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. As she dug in, she remembered how much things have changed since her first year.

“There was nothing,” Luckie said. “I mean, there was some stuff down here, but it wasn’t as diverse as it is now. The fact that there’s Korean; there’s halal; there’s Thai; so many more salad places; there’s sushi — the options have been increased significantly. We went from burgers and fries and a sandwich place to all of this. Even though it was a long shutdown, it was worth it.

“I do think the (PMU) upgrade was just enough for students to get their foot on the right track on eating healthier on campus.”

Still, Luckie said Purdue could do a better job highlighting its healthier options. She also thinks restaurants nearby should reduce their portion size for unhealthier options (burritos, burgers) and increase portions for healthier items like salads.

Greyhouse Coffee & Supply Co., West Lafayette

Emma Briggs poses for a picture in Greyhouse.

Emma Briggs likes to start her morning with breakfast at Greyhouse in West Lafayette. She prefers The Rooster crepe, pictured, or the Chauncey Hill coffee shop’s quinoa bowls or veggie sandwich.Tim Brouk

Located just a couple blocks east of campus, Greyhouse has caffeinated thousands of Boilermakers over the years. It feeds them too, with a unique menu of sweet and savory crepes. Emma Briggs is a morning regular at the West Lafayette coffee shop. When she is on the go, she goes for the Greyhouse veggie sandwich or quinoa bowls loaded with healthy grains and vegetables. But when she has the luxury of time, the protein-packed crepe The Rooster is a top choice. Eggs, chives and cheese are encased within a thin dough. It’s a small amount of carbs, but it’s a breakfast that keeps her energized throughout her morning classes.

“A side of fruit would make this more balanced with the carbs and protein,” Briggs said.

Commuting from Flora, Indiana, about 35 minutes from campus, Briggs doesn’t have the luxury of going home for lunch between classes.

“Finding good options on-campus is something that is important to me,” she said.