Senior creates healthy meal for students in the dining halls

Taylor Fuselier has designed a new dish that will be served at Penland dining hall in the coming weeks. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Jillian Veldey | Reporter

Houston senior Taylor Fuselier saw a need for a new tasty, healthy option at Baylor’s dining halls. Now she’s partnered with Penland to introduce a meal of her own creation that checks all the boxes.

“I chose these foods because I was looking to create a well-balanced healthy meal, which included the three major food groups: protein, carbohydrates and vegetables,” Fuselier said. “I used the garlic chicken as my protein source, the sweet potato fries as my carbohydrates and the cauliflower mash as my vegetables. Between all three of these items, it offered a variety of nutrients and minerals.”

Fuselier is a nutrition science major and said it was her passion for healthy eating and living that inspired her to create a project that will have a direct impact on students.

“I chose this major because I truly love learning how I can live a long and healthy life just by what I eat. I have always had a passion for fitness, but when I got into college, I began to look at the nutrition side of health and fell in love with it,” Fuselier said. “I think that there is a lot of false information out there about nutrition, and I feel very strongly about educating people on proper nutrition and healthy foods.”

Fuselier is working at the dining halls for her internship, and a requirement for the internship is to create a project which she pretty much had full control over. Fuselier saw a need for better-tasting healthy choices and decided to try to make a change.

“I decided to look into healthy eating options at the dining hall. Most of the healthy options I see in the dining hall are unappetizing chicken, soggy vegetables and food that does not look very appealing,” Fuselier said. “So, I chose to do this project to see if there were more appetizing healthy options if students would choose these foods over the unhealthy options in the dining hall.”

Turns out Fuselier was right. Southlake freshman Emma Pennington said it is frustrating that she only has access to the dining halls and they don’t serve enough nutritious meals.

“One of the hardest parts about adjusting to college was getting used to eating all of these different types of foods,” Pennington said. “At home, we would usually have well-balanced healthy meals, but when it’s up to you and everything is a buffet, it can be more challenging.”

Fuselier said eating a well-balanced meal can be very challenging when the pizza line looks more enticing, so she hopes her meal will be an attractive option that will help students eat better.

Phoenix junior Jennie Follett said she wishes she was a freshman with a meal plan again so she could try this meal.

“I’m honestly jealous that I probably won’t be able to try this because it sounds like something I would really like,” Follett said. “I think this will be a really great option for students to enjoy eating healthy.”

Fuselier’s garlic chicken with sweet potato fries and cauliflower mash will be available exclusively in Penland at either the gluten-free or traditional station.

Seattle junior Hayden Allen said he thinks this will be a great way to encourage students to start making healthy choices on their own.

“Whenever something is healthy but also tastes good, it’s a win-win,” Allen said. “I think encouraging freshmen to start healthy habits now will only help them in the long run.”

Roasted Rosemary Cauliflower Mash:

52 pounds cauliflower

1 quart, 2 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup, 1 tsp salt kosher

3 tablespoons, 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 1/4 pounds cream cheese

1 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. Preheat steamer.

2.Steam cauliflower until very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. In a food processor, add cauliflower and process until broken down.

4. Add all remaining ingredients to food processor with cauliflower. Process until smooth.