New Combination Ovens Cook Food in Healthier Way at Mississippi College
Mississippi College is cooking healthier meals for thousands of faculty, staff, students and visitors on the Clinton campus thanks to grant funding from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The grant is part of the MC Wellness for Life Initiative, funded by the Foundation, and is creating a healthier campus and community, most recently with the addition of new combination (combi) ovens now in use in the college’s cafeteria.
“The combi ovens are a very nice addition for creating healthier food choices in the cafeteria,” said Piper Walters, who is the Wellness for Life Coordinator, as well as a kinesiology professor. The new ovens cook some foods in a way that pleases the palates of cafeteria customers. We are eating healthier without sacrificing taste.”
Relatively new to America’s food industry, combi ovens were first introduced about 15 years ago. The ovens have three functions: convection, steam and combination cooking. Growing in popularity, the ovens provide chefs with more cooking technique options.
Whether cooking fish, chicken, vegetables or other foods, the versatile cafeteria ovens also save money on electric and water bills. The combi ovens can be quickly cleaned at the push of a button and resemble the work of dishwashing machines. The ovens also save storage space.
After getting her first glimpse at the ovens at a kitchen tour led by Mike Prince of Campus Dining (MC’s food service provider), Walters walked away impressed.
“The ovens cook the food in a more nutritious and healthy way,” she said. “The idea is to reduce the use of deep fryers.”
Representatives from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation joined MC leaders seeing the ovens in action during a recent kitchen tour. The new ovens are a welcomed addition to the Wellness for Life Initiative, helping to create healthier lifestyles on campus, Walters said.
The Foundation’s partnership with the Baptist-affiliated institution began in 2014, providing a total of $543,881 which has supported the construction of a walking track with outdoor exercise equipment, a disc golf course on campus and other valuable wellness initiatives. This also includes a Farmer’s Market that sells fresh vegetables and fruits to the MC family outside of Nelson Hall. Other wellness efforts include implementing a smoke and tobacco-free campus for the 2016-17 academic year, healthier vending machine options and nutrition and exercise programs. As a result, Wellness for Life participants have seen decreases in Body Mass Index, blood pressure and resting heart rate. The partnership between the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation and Mississippi College will continue to benefit faculty, staff, students and the Clinton community for years to come.
“The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is proud of the continued efforts of Mississippi College and the innovative ways they are bringing wellness to their campus and the Clinton community,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.
The Wellness for Life initiative at Mississippi College is in partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is committed to supporting Mississippi's universities and colleges in implementing healthy eating and exercise initiatives that extend from the campus to the local communities and schools. Learn more about the work of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation at www.healthiermississippi.org.