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Top 5 Food Trends on College Campuses

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Dining halls in colleges have changed for the better over the last several years. Thankfully, we have said good-bye to mystery meat and slop, and are saying hello to upscale cuisine, various methods of service and eco-friendly options.

Over the last four years I have been in school at Baylor University, I have experienced several food changes on campus, in dining halls, our student union building and around campus.

Although this has occurred on my campus, it has also taken place in colleges all around the nation. Here are five food trends on college campuses today.

5. Variety of Cuisines

If you walk into any college dining hall or student union building, you'll be surrounded by a variety of options each day -- everything from Mexican and Chinese to Indian and Greek. College students today have more exotic taste buds and want variety in their meals. So, college campuses have taken the initiative with their dining services to provide students with those options.

4. Trayless Dining

Many universities and colleges have thrown out their trays in the dining halls, forcing students to get only as much food as they can hold in their two hands. Having trayless cafeterias causes students to eat less than they would if they had a tray to carry their meal. This also helps reduce the amount of wasted food. So, taking away trays in dining halls not only assists in reducing calories per meal, it benefits the environment and saves the college money.

3. Posting Calories

As the nation takes steps toward providing nutritional information for all menu items in restaurants, college campuses are making the shift as well. Since my freshman year, I have seen the dining halls increasingly offer the nutritional facts for each item served. From simple place cards next to the item to sections of the dining hall offering healthier choices and nutritional information offered online, college campuses have made many efforts to offer students healthier choices and the vital information they need about those products. It's a big step toward eliminating the "Freshman 15."

2. Chefs Cooking Food to Order

The same way hotels have chefs who cook your breakfast to order so you can have that perfect omelette or French toast, colleges have invested in chefs to cook their food to order. Students can have a stir-fry with their choice of ingredients made as they wait in line. At Baylor, cafeteria employees cook pancakes, omelettes, pasta dishes and sandwiches to the liking of each student. Other colleges and universities even have professional chefs who make meals for students each day.

1. Food Trucks Galore

As more and more food trucks appear around the country, college campuses have jumped on the bandwagon, too. Baylor just received a new food truck, La Lola Loca, offering street tacos to students throughout the day and all over campus. Colleges and universities across the nation also have food trucks offering a variety of cuisine to students as well. UCLA's food truck, Yum Yum Bowls, serves Thai-fusion cuisine, while the University of San Diego's food truck, Torero Tu Go, provides students with muffuletta sandwiches and seafood tacos.

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