Sage: The Healthy Rage

Sage (Plus Dollars only)

  1. Lunch/Dinner Menu
    1. Small Plates
      1. Tableside Salads – these are excellent appetizers for a hungry group.
        1. Strawberry Field – fresh Cal Poly-grown strawberries – how can you not order this?
          1. Cost – $7.00
          2. Jeannette Chow, Class of 2018, says “they’re so juicy and sweet and delicious!”
        1. Sage Side Salad – the variety of vegetables in this salad add tons of flavor, nutrients, and color.
          1. Cost – $5.00
        2. Soup Du Jour – any restaurant that offers soup typically has a vegetarian option, like a bean chili or hearty vegetable soup. Ask the server what the special is, and if it’s full of veggies, order a cup as an appetizer or a bowl as a light, satisfying meal.
          1. Cost – $4.00/$6.00
    2. Large Plates
      1. Cobb Salad – this salad is pretty common at many restaurants, and, with a few tweaks, it can be healthy! Just ask for a light sprinkle of the cheese, and the dressing on the side. You also may be able to get balsamic vinaigrette instead of the Green Goddess dressing.
        1. Cost – $11.00
      2. The California Sandwich – ahh, marinated, grilled chicken breast, thick tomato slices, roasted poblano chiles, pickled pico de gallo, Monterey jack cheese, and avocado aioli – yepp, sounds like California to me. If you pick this item, I suggest leaving off the avocado aioli and asking for just avocado slices (one of the best healthy fats) instead. Maybe your server will let you switch the French Roll for a Whole-Wheat Baguette…
        1. Cost – $10.00
      3. The Farmers’ Market Sandwich – anything with the words “farmers’ market” in it calls my name (have you seen the downtown farmers’ market?). Whether it’s a sandwich, salad, or burger, it’s filled with veggies – almost perfectly healthy. Still, I’d ask for no Basil Mayo and a light serving of the Gruyere cheese.
        1. Cost – $9.00
      4. California Halibut – Sage is one of the only places on campus that serve fish, so take advantage of the opportunity to get some quality protein and omega-3’s. I’d avoid the Crispy Prosciutto Olive Relish, but otherwise this is a great lunch or dinner option to spend those plus dollars.
        1. Cost – $16.00
  2. Burger Bar Menu
    1. Burgers
      1. They ask for no substitutions on their burgers, so asking for no cheese or mayo might not be an option, but it’s worth a try.
      2. Caprese Burger – a play on the Italian “caprese salad”, in burger form.
        1. Fun Fact – Mozzarella is one of the healthiest cheeses. It’s full of protein – ” each ounce provides about 5 grams”, according to Livestrong, and pairing it with tomato and basil gives so much Italian-esque flavor with just a few ingredients.
        2. Cost – $8.95
        3. Becky Haworth, Class of 2018, ordered this and says “it tasted and the flavors were so vibrant.”
      3. Southwest Turkey Burger – ground turkey is a little healthier than ground beef, so this is a smart pick. Again, they might not be able to take off the cheese and aioli, but give it a try.
        1. Cost – $8.95
      4. Three-Bean Burger – three cheers for vegetarian options! This can also be made vegan if you ask to omit the Cilantro Aioli. Beans are loaded with fiber and nutrients, making this burger satisfying, filling, and healthy.
        1. Cost – $6.95
      5. Hawaiian Burger – similar to the classic Hawaiian pizza (Canadian bacon and pineapple), but in burger-form. No cheese equals less cholesterol and fat than the burgers, and grilled pineapple with teriyaki glaze equals tons of sweet, juicy flavors.
        1. Cost – $8.95
      6. Good Ol’ Fashion Burger – who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned burger? It’s plain and simple with just lettuce, onions, pickles, and mayo (try to omit this) on a brioche bun. It’s also one of the less-expensive items, so if you’re watching dollars as well as calories, this is a good choice.
        1. Cost – $6.95
    2.  Salads
      1. Farmer’s Spinach Salad – why spinach? Here’s why. Opt for the chicken over the steak to complement the health benefits of the fruits and veggies, and ask for some lemon vinaigrette on the side if you really want dressing.
        1. Cost – $9.95
Have you ever wondered where the hamburger came from? This information was taken from
Have you ever wondered where the hamburger came from? This information was taken from

Sandwich Factory

  1. Sandwich Factory (meals and plus dollars)
    1. Breakfast Options
      1. Egg & Ham – you can order this as a burrito, as a sandwich, or on a croissant, but the healthiest is the sandwich option with whole-wheat bread.
        1. Cost – $4.95
      2. Egg – this also comes as a burrito, a sandwich, or on a croissant, and the healthiest is the sandwich with whole-wheat bread.
        1. Cost – $4.95
      3. Scrambled Eggs Side – don’t be fooled by the word “side” – I’ve seen this dish before and it’s enough to be a meal.
        1. Fun Fact – Eggs are a great breakfast food! According to Sandi Busch, writer for, protein is essential in the morning. It “helps balance blood sugar because it’s digested slowly.” We need that to keep us full and focused during class and studying.
        2. Cost – $1.75
      4. Guacamole (side) – add this to any sandwich for a creamy kick that’s full of healthy fats from the avocado.
        1. Cost – $0.75
      5. Oatmeal – “just oats and water”. So, yeah, duh.
        1. Fun Fact – Oatmeal is the best food to eat for breakfast, according to ABC News, because it has “beta-glucan, a type of fiber that’s been shown to help lower cholesterol when eaten regularly.” Fiber, like protein, helps keep us busy, stressed students satisfied and ready to power through long days.
        2. Check out this overnight oats recipe – you can prep everything the night before (even without a kitchen) and enjoy it on your way out the door in the morning.
    2. Specialty Sandwiches 
      1. PBHB Sandwich – peanut butter, honey, banana, all on wheat bread.
        1. Cost – $4.75
      2. Chicken Cranberry Salad Sandwich – yes, it’s made with a little mayo, but it’s one of the healthiest options here. Make it healthier by asking for whole-wheat bread.
        1. Cost – $6.45
      3. Pesto Hummus Wrap – get it in a whole-wheat tortilla and you’ve got a nutritious vegan meal!
        1. What’s so healthy about hummus? Read more here.
        2. Cost – $5.45
      4. Turkey and Provolone Sandwich – protein from the turkey and cheese, healthy fats from the guac, and fiber from the whole wheat bread.
        1. Cost – $6.45
      5. Extra meat – if you’re uncontrollably hungry (try not to get to that point), you can ask for extra meat for $1.00.
        1. To avoid feeling ravenously hungry, check out these easy and tasty snack recipes.
      6. Soup du Jour – soup of the day…
        1. Fun Fact – soup is a great low-calorie, appetite-controlling pick for lunch and dinner. Fitness-inspiration Jillian Michaels loves it because it’s filling, can provide “a full serving of vegetables in one bowl”, and “can be quick and easy”. Most people won’t turn down a hot bowl of soup, so its a “good meal choice for even the pickiest eaters.”
        2. Cost – $2.50

Check out this interactive Google Map of a few of the dining options available in the University Union.


Healthy food is available here day and night, but mornings and afternoons are the perfect times to head to Sandwich Factory - there's no line!
Healthy food is available here day and night, but mornings and afternoons are the perfect times to head to Sandwich Factory – there’s no line!

Conquering VG’s

  1. Sandwich Stop 
    1. Specialty Sandwiches – The Garden (Wheat Roll), Turkey Pesto (Wheat Roll)
      1. Cost – $6.95 (Garden), $7.95 (Turkey Pesto).
      2. Now grab an apple or banana with that extra meal credit money!
    2. Kind of like Subway, you can make your own sandwich here, too.
      1. Meat – opt for lean meats like turkey or chicken breast
      2. Cheese – if you must, just get one slice.
      3. Veggies – go crazy. Get them all.
      4. Roll/Wrap – whole-wheat, baby!
        1. Fun Fact – Whole-wheat products are a great source of fiber. According to the USDA, fiber from whole wheat “may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.”
      5. Cost – $7.95
  2. Cagie Moon’s
    1. Black Bean Burger – it’s vegan and served on a whole-wheat bun.
      1. Cost – $5.95; I see some extra meal credit money there…
    2. Blackened Chicken Sandwich –
      1. Cost – $7.95
    3. Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich – just make sure to ask for a whole-wheat bun (and extra pickles for me, please).
      1. Cost – $6.95
  3. Chopstix
    1. Brown Rice – always always always better than white rice, especially when it’s the same price!
      1. Cost – $2.49
      2. Fun Fact – opt for nutrient-rich brown rice instead of its processed white counter-part to increase your fiber intake. According to Dr. Group III, founder of the Global Healing Center, “one cup of brown rice provides over 80% of our daily manganese requirements”, a mineral that promotes development of fatty acids, which “make important forms of cholesterol.”
    2. Chicken Teriyaki Entrée – it’s just sautéed chicken (breast and thigh meat) with soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and ginger root.
      1. Cost – $5.69
    3. Coconut Curry Vegetables – yepp, just what it sounds like – lots of veggies with coconut milk, a few spices, sugar, and olive oil.
      1. Cost – $5.69
    4. Vegetable Stir Fry – various veggies wok-fried with and “olive oil blend”, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
      1. Cost – $2.49
    5. Spicy Pork – pork tenderloin strips wok-fried with a few vegetables.
      1. Cost – $5.69
  4. Caliente (this place is famous for late-night breakfast burritos)
    1. Burrito – make it your own with these healthier choices…
      1. Anchiote Chicken, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo
      2. Cost – $6.45
    2. Burrito Bowl – better than the burrito because it’s served over lettuce rather than wrapped up in a tortilla.
      1. Cost – $5.95
    3. Mexican Salad – pretty much the same thing as the Burrito Bowl.
      1. Cost – $6.45
    4. Vegetarian Option – mixture of guacamole and black beans
      1. Cost – $0.85
      2. Fun Fact – According to an article by Jenny Stamos Kovacs, a writer and researcher for WebMD, “beans are low in sugar, which prevents insulin in the bloodstream from spiking and causing hunger.” So, by choosing black beans over meat for your meal, you’ll feel fuller longer – which will help you focus during a long day of classes and studying.
  5. Bella Pasta
    1. Chicken breast – grilled, yummy, and pretty healthy – it’s a go!
      1. Cost – $3.50
    2. Veggie Side – a healthy addition to the chicken breast! It’s usually zucchini, broccoli, and sliced carrots.
      1. Cost – $2.00
    3. Whole wheat pasta – I’ve seen this option before, but it’s not listed on their online menu. Check out the venue and see if they have it on the day you go – if they do, it’s a filling base for your warm spaghetti dinner!
    4. Personal Pizzas –
      1. The Personal Veggie Pizza is the best option of the three served. It’s topped with tons of vegetables (surprise surprise) – an addition the other two lack that is vital in keeping you full and satisfied.
      2. Cost – $5.95
Sandwich Stop - if you live in the dorms, this is a much closer alternative to Subway.
Sandwich Stop – if you live in the dorms, this is a much closer alternative to Subway.
Caliente is right - the long line for this place late at night shows just how delicious their burritos are!
Caliente is right – the long line for this place late at night shows just how delicious their burritos are!

Ciao and Red Radish

Ciao and Red Radish Break-Down

Ciao (plus dollars only)


  • I know that pizza has these magical powers that take away all willpower and force you to eat, like, five slices, but just don’t. Start with one slice and add a side salad. Chances are, you won’t need another piece of pizza.
  • Ask them to lighten up on the cheese and sauce, too.
  • Also, the pasta – yeah, just don’t do it.
  • You can also create your own small or large pizza, which is a great option for healthy (some would say picky) eaters like myself. Load up on veggies, go easy on the cheese, and stick with chicken if you must get meat.
  • Check out this article about the latest healthy pizza trends –

Menu Items – Healthiest

  • Specialty Pizzas – BBQ Chicken, Chicken Pesto, Margherita
    1. If you must order pizza, these are the best options. By “best” I mean highest protein, lowest unhealthy fat, while still satisfying with a good punch of flavor.
  • Traditional Pizzas – Tuscan Veggie
    1. For the veggie-loving pizza-cravers, this one is calling your name. I always go for vegetable-topped pizzas rather than pepperoni or sausage, not only because I am a vegetarian, but also because they are the most nutritious and satisfying, without weighing me down.
    2. Sophie Jimenez (Class of 2018, Ciao Employee) – “Otherwise you can build your own pizza and make sure that you tell them just how much of everything you would want.”
  • Shaker Salads
    1. A great appetizer or even a side to your meal. Just go easy on the dressing!
  • Cost – $2.75/slice + $3.25/side salad or fruit cup = $6.00

Red Radish (meals and plus dollars)


  • Build your own salad – it’s fun and “you get the most for your buck”, says Tanner Morgan (Class of 2018, Ag. Business). It’s also an opportunity to choose exactly what you want (aka the most nutritious, brain-fuelling toppings, right?) for your salad.
  • If you have to get dressing, make sure they don’t drench your salad, completely negating all the nutrients you’ve gathered in your fruits and veggies. Marie Dunnie, a professional Journalist who specializes in nutrition and health, suggests balsamic vinegar because you get “the flavor punch with less fat and calories than if you used an oil-based salad dressing.”
  • Fried chicken? Not a good idea. Go for the chicken breast instead.
  • If you live in the apartments, try this – get kale with raw veggies and then take it home and make a stir-fry!

Menu Items – Healthiest

  • Specialty Salads – Nutty Professor, Hipster
    • Cost – $7.50
  • Build Your Own – freedom! Thankfully, Red Rad has tons of fresh veggies, lean meats, and vegan/vegetarian options. All those veggies are great additions, but the other toppings can be a little tricky, so here are my recommendations…
  • Cheese – crumbled feta, bleu, and goat cheese
  • Meat – grilled chicken and sliced turkey
  • Vegan/vegetarian protein – tofu, edamame, chickpeas, black beans, hard-boiled egg, sunflower seeds. Tons of great options!
  • Quinoa – get it. get it. get it.
  • Dressing – I always stick with balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. And you won’t miss out on flavor with that!
  • Cost – $5.00 + $0.85 for each additional topping, so to cover lunch, you can add about 3-4 toppings and still have a little left for a piece of fruit! For dinner, you’ll have a little more to spend.

    Step-by-step salad building for students who enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and lots and lots of nutrients.
    Step-by-step salad building for students who enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and lots and lots of nutrients.

Meal Plans: Understanding and Utilizing


Hello, college students! And a special hello to my fellow Mustangs at Cal Poly. This one’s for you!

Freshmen – you got a meal plan? Yes, I know you do. I also know you’ve complained at least once about having to deal with it this year. If you didn’t see my video, here are some opinions of students.

  • Madi Ortiz (Class of 2018, Animal Science Major): “For the level of, like, how well known this school is, the food isn’t as good as it should be for a top-notch school.” She finds it “easier to use plus dollars” because she can just grab the number of things she wants rather than worrying about purchasing enough items to add up the amount given on a certain meal-swipe.
  • Sameer Jawale (Class of 2018, Computer Engineering): “I, myself, find campus food boring form time to time and would be easily satisfied with off-campus food or a home-cooked meal.” He thinks that the main reason students don’t use their meal plan to its full potential (one of the issues that led me to create this blog) is because of “the lack of variety and quality in the food they serve on campus.”

It’s okay, I have complained, too and that’s why I’m creating a little guide that will help us all get the most out of our meal plans!

The Break-down
First, let’s break them all down. For those of us in PCV and Cerro Vista, we have one that’s a little different from the dorms.

  1. Platinum  – 14 meal credits + 300 plus dollars
  2. Flexibility – 12 meal credits + 350 plus dollars
  3. Freedom – 8 meal credits + 600 plus dollars
  4. Apt Life – 8 meal credits + 275 plus dollars

If you’re confused, check out this helpful brochure.

Basically, meal credits are basically like gift cards – just grab however many items you want as long as it doesn’t go over the amount of money you get per meal: $8.75 for breakfast, $9.00 for lunch, $10.75 for dinner, and $9.00 for late-night. Plus dollars are like debit cards – you can use them at places on campus like Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Subway, the Avenue, and both of the markets (mini, super-spendy grocery stores). All clear? Cool.

So, I know it can be a struggle for students on the Apt. Life plan to use up our meals each week, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be having 14 meals! I also make sure I’m still picking nutritious items when I eat on campus, which can be a challenge. But fear not, I’m here to help. Yes, I have a little bit of an advantage with my kitchen (I was smart in my housing-choice), but you guys in the dorms don’t have it too bad.

More Than Just the Taste
Let’s talk nutrition and dietary needs – what do those of us who want to eat healthy or have to avoid certain foods do in the midst of greasy pizza, fried chicken, wheat-containing products, etc.? Cal Poly has a “unique food-labeling system with nutrient information as part of the national nutrition keys program”, which can be found at several of the venues throughout campus, according to the nutrition page on the Campus Dining website.

Come back in a few days to read about the best options at Cal Poly’s own pizza and pasta joint, Ciao. Until next time, my friends, stay hungry!