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What is this?

Pile Your Plate with Plants is a campaign focused on increasing nutrition awareness and influencing eating behaviors of Utah State University students. Dietary patterns, such as the DASH diet and Mediterranean Diet, have a major common theme: a majority of intake from plant foods. These dietary patterns are recommended for consumption in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Yet many Americans, including college students, fall short in consuming these dietary patterns that promote a high intake of vegetables and other plant foods. This campaign is a step to educate college students about the benefits of plant-based eating, teach how to incorporate these foods into everyday meals, and increase the consumption of plant-based foods. Each week, a plant-based topic will be highlighted throughout campus and in various ways, including blogs, cooking demonstrations, and menu specials. So, follow along and learn how you can Pile Your Plate with Plants!!!



  • Increase consumption of plant-based foods among college students
  • Teach college students simple ways to prepare different plant foods
  • Educate college students about the benefits of a plant-based dietary pattern
  • Educate college students about intuitive eating and peer modeling


Benefits/Why they are benefits

  • Promote general overall health
    • High in nutrients
    • High dietary fiber content
    • Low caloric content
  • Reduce risks associated with chronic illnesses
    • Can lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and various cancers
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
    • Effective for weight loss
  • Plant-based dietary pattern is a lifestyle, not a diet
  • Improves behavior and mood
    • Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants – health and disease protective bioactive chemical compounds; eating more of these can improve optimism
    • Greater consumption is positively associated with reduced depression, fewer mood and anxiety problems, and improved perceived mental health
    • Can help reduce stress levels


How we help

  • USU chefs will provided weekly cooking demonstrations with food samples that highlight the food topic of the week
  • Menu specials will be offered that highlight these plant-based foods
  • USU dietetic students will provide blogs that highlight these foods, as well as provide nutrition information and recipes for college students
  • USU dietetic students will also provide cooking demonstrations and educational workshops to college students
  • Websites and social media pages will provide nutrition and health information to college students



  • “The Mediterranean Diet is not a diet, as in ‘go on a diet’, even though it is a great way to lose weight or improve your health. Rather, it is a lifestyle.” ~Oldways Website
  • A great eating style to encompass: “A beautiful plate of food, simply cooked, maximally flavored, and embracing as many plant components as will harmoniously fit.” ~Mollie Katzen, cookbook author of “The Heart of the Plate”
  • “Traditional diets are a delicious roadmap to healthy eating. Rather than relying on highly processed foods that are stripped of their nutrients, flavor, and even calories, traditional diets celebrate the abundance of earth’s offerings, highlighting seasonal and regional produce, hearty recipes, and the pleasures of the table.” ~Oldways Website
  • Plant-based eating patterns such as the DASH diet and Mediterranean Diet have been shown to improve health through a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, with low-fat and non-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, poultry, and heart healthy fats