Paresky’s New Power Eating Menu Promotes Health and Sustainability

Baja Chicken Tacos and Grateful Burgers, made from a mix of ground beef and portobello mushrooms, are just two of the new menu items students and faculty will experience at Paresky Commons this fall as part of a “Power Eating Menu” initiative.

Under the guidance of Aggie Kip, Nutritionist Counselor, and the Paresky Culinary team, the Paresky menu has been redesigned to create a program with the goal of improving Andover’s overall health, wellness and sustainability.

After receiving positive feedback about the power-eating salad bar on the second floor of Paresky two years ago, Kip, Paul Robarge, Director of Paresky Commons, and the rest of the Paresky Culinary team wanted to emphasize their focus on wellness by implementing the menu in all areas of Paresky in time for the 2015-2016 school year.

“We worked hard on the menus and then we decided to really embellish it and start to promote it in all areas. We wanted to really educate [students] about micronutrients, power-foods and why they are so important,” said Kip.

Over the summer, David Rossetto, Executive Chef, attended a conference in New York called Menus of Change, a collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). At Menus of Change, Rossetto learned about culinary techniques and tips, as well as new menu guidelines.

“We really felt that those guidelines fit right in with what we wanted to do: reduce sugar, processed food, sugary beverages and fatty foods… That’s what we used as our guiding principles,” said Robarge.

Robarge said that one of the main goals of the new menu is to promote healthy eating habits for students.

“[Students] are at [Andover] for four years. That’s a long time. If we can help develop better eating habits, then I think we’ve done what we’re supposed to be doing here,” said Robarge.

The new menu also offers more items made from scratch, such as pizza dough made from sweet potato and whole-wheat flour, a feature that allows the dining menu to be more cost-effective.

“With the increase in food-cost every year, which has been astronomical, scratch [cooking] offsets that cost. We’re staying right in line with where we’re supposed to be for food source budgets,” said Robarge.

“We’re trying to reduce the amount of processed food as much as possible,” continued Rossetto.

With the goals of sustainability, wellness and health in mind, Kip and the Paresky Culinary team wanted to focus on student and faculty performance as well.
“Performance is not just academic performance, it is performance in everything you do–academic, athletic, having fun, being your best and resting well when you rest. Anytime you are doing something, you [should] do it well so you can reap the full benefits,” said Kip.