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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New, nutritious dining options offered at Polo Road Rec Center

New+options+at+the+Polo+Road+Rec+Center+allow+students+to+choose+healthier+dining+choices.
Photo by Photo by Ryan Hartfiel

New options at the Polo Road Rec Center allow students to choose healthier dining choices.

New dining options offered at the Polo Road Rec Center optimize the facility’s vision to inspire the lifelong pursuit of health and wellness.
Located on Bizzell Street beside the Emerging Technologies Building, Texas A&M’s second recreation center gives students access to a multitude of new dining vendors, including Salata and Shake Smart.
Facility Operations Director Oscee Wheatfall said Dining Services and Rec Sports are aspiring to help students prioritize their health and well-being with these new venues.
“These new options aligned with our core values and ended up being a perfect marriage between Dining Services and the Rec Sports organization,” Wheatfall said. “The intention was to build off each other so students could fuel themselves before or after workouts. Shake Smart is a take on healthy protein shakes and açai bowls for pre- and post-workout, or even in-between for lunch. Salata is also very popular. We call it the Chipotle of salads, where you can make any salad you like.”
A&M’s Department of Recreational Sports aims to create an inclusive environment that gives students easy access to health and wellness opportunities.
“Our mission is to promote activity, wellness and development by providing high-quality, inclusive experiences and facilities for the students and community of Texas A&M University,” Wheatfall said. “For us, it is important that we provide different positive avenues for students to keep themselves healthy and have a balanced experience while they’re in college.”
Wheatfall said even though some may not be ready to hit the gym right away, having accessible and nutritious food vendors at the new Rec Center is one step in the right direction toward students’ health journeys.
“One of our goals is not only to provide a complete, healthy experience for everybody, but to provide a variety of experiences ,” Wheatfall said. “Some people may not want to walk into the weight room, but they want to start eating healthy. These new options, like Salata and Shake Smart, will give them the opportunity to check off one box toward living a healthy lifestyle.”
Nutrition freshman Shelby Leenhouts said she took note of the variety of options the new dining facilities offer, especially the modifications available for those with dietary restrictions.
“It’s nice that they have an accommodating menu for people who may be vegan, vegetarian or gluten free,” Leenhouts said. “By implementing these new, healthier options, I believe A&M is working toward having an overall healthier student body. It is also convenient that it is in the new Rec Center because it can bring new people to the Rec or provide those who are already working out a nutritious meal.”
Registered dietician at Student Health Services Meghan Windham said nutrition affects students, and these new options allow students to make prominent, healthier choices to fuel themselves appropriately.
“I think it’s wonderful to have healthy options,” Windham said. “Having some of these options more readily available is a great way to encourage healthy eating on campus. It also gives the students the power to know that there are options, and they’re not limited to one dining hall or facility.”
A frequent topic Whindham said she discusses with students at Student Health Services is selecting nourishing food when dining on campus so they stay energized.
“We can choose healthy options wherever we go, but it is important that students learn how to make healthy choices,” Windham said. “Just because something has a healthier name doesn’t mean it will necessarily have less calories than another option on campus. However, I do believe that options like Salata and Shake Smart offer more healthy choices to choose from. At other locations on campus, their healthy choices are more limited and less prominent.”
Windham said these new options will feasibly amplify students’ knowledge on nutritional choices.
“We have to be a smart consumer and know what we’re choosing and why,” Windham said. “These new dining options are a great way in moving forward. Food is a personal choice, and we have to see food as fuel so we can function as a great member on this campus.”

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