North Campus Dining Hall will host a Build Your Own Power Bowl event during dinner on Wednesday.
Pamela Blume, one of the Assistant Managers at North Dining Hall, said the bar will be done in the same style as other Action Bars at North.
“They’re used to, at North, having the sauté station where they can choose what they want and hand it off to the chef and the chef finishes it for them, so it’s going to be the same concept,” Blume said.
Students will be able to choose from a selection of intact grains and then add an assortment of vegetables and toppings.
Blume said the bar is part of a challenge to incorporate one of the principles of the Menus of Change Initiative into their menus.
“Dennis Pierce [Director of UConn Dining Services] challenged us to pick one of the principles and I chose making whole, intact grains the new norm,” Blume said.
Blume said she wanted to do a power bowl bar even before Pierce tasked the dining units with the challenge.
“When we got challenged with the principles I had already wanted to do this power bowl bar because I had seen it at catering so it was something I definitely wanted to incorporate anyway,” Blume said. “It was a no brainer that that was what we were going to do.”
Blume said many people have misconceptions about what a whole versus an intact grain is.
“People see, ‘made with whole grains’ and it’s really more of the intact grain,” Blume said. “What they can do is take apart the wheat and then put it back together and they can call it a whole grain but it isn’t really an intact grain.”
Blume said an intact grain is one that has not been deconstructed at all.
“Intact grain is where you’re getting all three things that have never been played around with, so you’ve got your bran, germ and endosperm that are all together, and it’s so much better for your body that way,” Blume said.
“Because these layers are intact, the grain contains a richer nutritional profile of antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, minerals, fiber and healthful fats than grains that have been stripped of the bran and germ layers through processing,” an article in Today’s Dietician said.
Blume said the UConn Nutrition Club will be tabling during the event and distributing educational information about intact grains.
Blume said the chefs at North are excited to cook for the bar.
“There are a couple of chefs who aren’t even involved with this bar who are super excited that there are wheat berries in house,” Blume said. “She’s [one of the chefs] looking forward to coming up with some recipes to use up the leftovers that we have.”
Blume said the chefs are inspired to be more creative with this new event.
“It helps them use more creativity when we come up with a different idea for them,” Blume said.
Blume said the staff at North is looking to incorporate the bar into its regular menu rotation in the fall.
“We’ve been challenged with this whole Menus of Change thing, so it’s something that, I think, is really going to fit in with that initiative,” Blume said.
Blume said she thinks students will like the bar as it provides an opportunity to learn more about healthy eating.
“I learned more about an intact grain than I knew before, so if we have a lot of educational material out there, I think that most of the time that’s what students are looking for, to eat healthy,” Blume said.