Tabbouleh Salad with Lentils and Fava Beans

Menus of Change Initiative


To collaborate on research and education in support of culinary-centric, evidence-based food systems innovation within and beyond universities.

This initiative leverages the unique position of universities to advance these types of life-long food choices among students—who will soon be parents and adult decision-makers—by connecting a diversity of insights from academic programs, dining services, and athletics (performance dining). The purpose of MCURC is to create a culture of sharing and innovation within and among colleges and universities using the Menus of Change principles in their campus dining operations, and to develop a research agenda related to those principles.

Since its opening, Bruin Plate makes the healthy the easy choice. Similar to the Menus of Change Principles, Bruin Plate’s concept has focused on nutritionally balanced food choices, creatively incorporating freshly prepared high quality ingredients to ensure the best flavor profiles and exciting menu choices. It also employs sustainability “best practices” in food service operations.

Examples of concepts and principles that have been driving Bruin Plate’s menu, since it opened.

Menu Concepts:

  • Buy fresh and seasonal, local and global.
  • Leverage globally inspired, plant-based culinary strategies.
  • Focus on whole, minimally processed foods.
  • Lead with menu messaging around flavor.
  • Reduce portions, emphasizing calorie quality over quantity.
  • Design health and sustainability into operations and dining spaces

Food And Ingredients:

  • Think produce first. Focus on fruits and vegetables first—with great diversity across all meals and snacks.
  • Make whole, intact grains the new norm.
  • Move nuts and legumes to the center of the plate.
  • Choose healthier oils.
  • Go “good fat,” not “low fat.”
  • Reimagine dairy in a supporting role.
  • Reduce added sugar.
  • Cut the salt; rethink flavor development from the ground up.
  • Substantially reduce sugary beverages; innovate replacements.
  • Drink healthy: from water, coffee, and tea.

To learn more, visit:


Menus of Change —

Menu Guidelines

Bruin Plate supports UCLA's Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) by making healthy choices easy. The following are our menu development guidelines and nutrition standards:

  • Adjust the amount and type of fats used
    • Use less oil overall, and when using oils, choose "healthy" oils
    • Minimize the amount of fried foods offered
    • Use cooking techniques such as grilling, baking, and roasting
  • Feature lean and sustainable meats.
  • Provide a higher ratio of plant-based foods by including more legumes, grains, and seeds in recipes and offering more whole grain options (breads, pasta, hot & cold cereals)
  • Maximize natural ingredients and whole foods; minimize the use of processed foods
  • Provide alternatives to high-sugar, high-calorie sodas
  • Enhance flavors with herbs, spices, and low-sodium condiments
  • Plan menus around seasonal foods
  • Choose menus featuring local and sustainable foods

Nutrition Criteria & Standards

Specific nutrition criteria was developed as guide for recipe development under the direction of the Dining Services registered dietitian. The criteria is listed below:


  • 400 calories or less
  • Less than 30% calories from total fat
  • Less than 10% calories from saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • Less than 75 miligrams of cholesterol
  • Less than 500 miligrams of sodium

Sides & Desserts

  • Less than 200 calories
  • Less than 30% calories from fat (or less than 3 grams of fat for items with ≤ 100 calories)
  • Less than 10% calories from saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • Less than 25% calories from added sugar
  • Less than 240 miligrams of sodium

Lean Meats

  • Beef and pork – extra lean and lean cuts with less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 95 miligrams of cholesterol
  • Poultry – chicken, turkey, Cornish hens
  • Sustainable seafood (Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Seafood Watch")

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