By Lauren Duffy
Okay, okay… I’ll admit it: Worcester, Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire all have pretty decent Deli Bars. Berkshire has a Deli Bar run by student workers for lunch, but it’s often replaced by the Sushi Bar for dinner. At Franklin and Hampshire, the Deli Bars are open for both lunch and dinner every day. You simply walk up to the Delis and tell the cutest little old ladies what you’d like on your sandwich and they make it for you. Worcester is a bit different; there you have to make your own sandwich. But whether you make the sandwich or a worker makes it for you, when you’re living off of a meal plan and you’re at the complete mercy of the DC’s menu, sometimes it’s kind of nice to feel like you created your own meal. But as always, creating your own sandwich still can be an unhealthy choice for your lunch or dinner– it all depends on what you choose.
All of the Deli Bars have several different ingredients for you to choose from:
- First thing’s first, you have to choose what bread you’d like your sandwich creation to be on. The methods for choosing breads are pretty simple: Avoid white bread because of its artificial coloring and ingredients (this includes the white wraps, sub rolls, pitas, and bulky rolls), and instead reach for any wheat or whole grain option. I like to choose the wheat wraps because they’re pretty thin and you can rip off any of the excess that you don’t want to eat to reduce the amount of carbs you take in. Essentially, just go for the more natural- looking breads.
- This may not be the principle to follow for cold cuts you buy at home, but when it comes to the DC’s, choose HAM. The Turkey isn’t terrible for you but it’s pretty high in sodium. What stinks is that you can just taste how salty the turkey is– for some this may not be an issue, but I find the taste overwhelming. The ham they offer has the lowest amount of fat and calories at the Deli Bars (according to the little Nutrition Facts cards they display). While the Roast Beef that is available isn’t terrible, sometimes you can see the swirls of fat in it and it just doesn’t seem to be the most sensible choice. As for Bologna, Pepperoni, Bacon, and Salami– don’t even bother. Their fat content is through the roof and I don’t even want to know what ingredients make those meats so unhealthy.
- Depending on the day, the Deli Bars will offer some kind of chicken salad, tuna salad, etc. These can be pretty healthy choices as long as you take a peek at how much mayonnaise they put in. This changes day to day– some days they make it pretty dry while other days they’re swimming in mayo. The less mayo there is, the less fat there is. Choose wisely.
- Choose Swiss or Provolone. Why? The Deli Bars usually offer 4 kinds of cheeses: Swiss, Provolone, American, and Cheddar (sometimes Cheddar Jack). Because American cheese is typically artificial and the Cheddar offered at the DC’s is often high in fat, the Provolone and Swiss options are the best choices because they have the lowest amount of fat and calories. Just make sure you watch how many slices they put onto your sandwich. One day you’ll get a worker who will give you one or two slices, while other times they’ll pile on the cheese and immediately add unnecessary fat and calories.
- Load up on the veggies!!! The Deli Bars always have onions, green peppers, tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce. But sometimes if you’re lucky they’ll have jalapenos or olives (or other random assorted goods). Have as many as you want!
- All of the Deli’s have mayonnaise, honey mustard, yellow mustard, brown mustard, and hummus. The mustards aren’t really that bad for you, and they never seem to put a ton of it on your sandwich so no need to fear them. Where you can run into trouble is with the mayonnaise. Mayo has a lot of fat and calories in it so you need to be aware of how much you put on. If you’re not making the sandwich yourself, you can either ask the worker not to put a lot of it on your bread, or you can venture to Hampshire because it usually offers a Lite Mayo option if you ask for it. The best option for a condiment on your sandwich is Hummus. As mentioned in the ABCs of Healthy Eating, Hummus is healthfully delicious and makes a great addition to your sandwich.
So next time you decide to stop by one of the Delis at the Dining Commons, just be mindful of what you put on your sandwich. If you make all of the right choices, you get to enjoy your creation knowing that you’re sticking to your healthy habits. Enjoy!