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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Weekly Glutton: Finding ‘Balance’

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc.

fair and balanced: Usdan’s Balance station provides healthy alternatives to the usual campus fare.
PHOTO BY Alan Tran/The Hoot

Healthy food is a hot commodity here at Brandeis. However, it’s difficult to find just that balance of delicious and nutritious. Sometimes you just want to skip the salad bar and have something made for you; sometimes you want meat!

Luckily, lean meats exist at Balance. Nestled against the back wall of Lower Usdan, Balance is Brandeis’ second healthiest food station, the first simply being the salad bar. In addition to being among the healthiest eateries in Brandeis, Balance also happens to be among the most delicious food stations.

When ordering from Balance, you can choose one piece of protein. The most common choices include salmon, chicken and veggie patties. Sometimes, they stray from lean meats and serve steak tips. Personally, I have never had them, but I hear they are delicious.

On the side, you have a variety of choices, the most common being salad. This salad can come with cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon and a non-descript salad dressing. Sometimes this dressing is pink, sometimes it is brown.

We gluttons here postulate that the “brown” dressing is balsamic vinaigrette and that the “pink” is raspberry vinaigrette. If these tickle your fancy, then, by all means, indulge. However, if they don’t sound like your cup of tea, you can always choose your own salad dressing from the salad bar.

Salad is only one of the choices you have when choosing which side you want to complement your main dish. There is commonly rice and an assortment of different vegetables available. Sometimes, they also have pasta. Our personal favorites are the peas, corn and pasta. Are you seeing a trend? It’s like the food pyramid’s best friend: meat, grain, vegetables and a tiny bit of fat.

“Fat?” you might ask. Enter mango sauce. This is probably the health food station’s emblem. This culinary masterpiece will give a meal you probably think sounds bland a variety of flavors.

First, there’s sweetness, but there’s also some sourness with bite. Of course, there must be, since this is a mango sauce. After that, there is the faintest hint of spice in such small traces that only those with the most finely honed sense of taste will be able to appreciate it. Unfortunately, this small additive that tastes like ambrosia given to us by the Gods of Food is also the knife in the back of this health food station. This is because it is so sweet and so delicious that it cannot be healthy.

Thankfully, here at the Weekly Glutton, we choose not to look up caloric content, focusing solely on taste and pleasure.

When you’re roving through Usdan looking for that one dish that will delight your senses, be sure not to overlook this unassuming station. It may have neither the delicious flavor of fried foods nor tastes from far off places over which it can boast, but, instead, it allows you to climb the food pyramid and be the healthy glutton you’ve always striven to be.

Gluttony: it’s a lifestyle. Embrace it. Until next week!