Students dine Virginia Tech. (Photo by Virginia Tech) Students dine at Virginia Tech. (Photo  Virginia Tech)

Taste is highly subjective but The Daily Meal website has researched how well nearly 2,000 four-year colleges and universities around the country feed their students and have come up with a list of the 60 most delicious and nutritious food programs. And the winning school is Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts school in Brunswick, Maine, which uses vegetables from its own organic garden.

Four Virginia schools made the list, including one in the top 10! Virginia Tech was No. 3 on the list, with James Madison University at No. 24, the University of Richmond at No. 57 and William & Mary College at No. 58. Maryland made the list with one school — Johns Hopkins University at No. 42 — while the District got shut out.

The top schools were rated and ranked on the following criteria:

*Healthy Food/Local and Sustainable: The meals are made in-house from scratch as well as cooked in small batches, and the school is committed to teaching their students the benefits of buying locally and maintaining healthy lifestyles.


* Accessibility and Service: The number of eateries on campus along with the daily hours, and how well these locations are taken care of.


* Events/Nutritional Education: Events are centered on food, and the dining halls help bring students together in an engaging way. Additionally, if they educated their students about nutrition through these events or on their Web site, it was a bonus.


* Student Feedback and Social Media: How well-received student requests or complaints are by the dining services, as well as the frequency that these pages are updated to inform their students about new additions or changes.


• The ‘X Factor': Something unique and creative that differentiated the school’s dining services from the rest of the pack.


• Student Feedback/Social Media: While we still valued many of the things we noted from last year — for example, whether students are interested in trying new cuisines and spices as well as very invested in sustainable and local dining — there are still many schools that seemed to fall short when we evaluated their dining performances.


Therefore, we made student feedback and social media outlets the last category in our assessment this year. It seemed appropriate this time around to incorporate how well-received student requests or complaints are by the dining services, as well as the frequency that these pages are updated to inform their students about new additions or changes.


And the winners? Here are the top 15 and you can see the whole list here:

1. Bowdoin College, Maine

2. Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

3. Virginia Tech, Virginia

4. Emory University, Georgia

5. UCLA, California

6. Cornell University, New York

7. UMass Amherst, Massachusetts

8. Kennesaw State University, Georgia

9. Tufts University, Massachusetts

10. Yale University, Connecticut


Here, from the Bowdoin website, are the dinner selections for students in specified eating halls for Friday, Sept. 20:

Moulton Union


Express Meal

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

Express Meals – Dinner – M.U.



New England Fish Chowder(L)

Hearty Vegetable Soup(VE)(GF)


Main Course

Ziti with Meat Sauce

Tofu & Tempeh Jambalaya(VE)

Homemade Chicken Burgers

Ziti with Marinara Sauce(VE)

Chicken & Sausage Paella(GF)

Lemon-Rosemary Quinoa Salad(VE)(GF)



Italian Mixed Vegetables(GF)



Roasted Garlic French Fries



Whole Wheat Bread(VE)

Garlicky Cheese Bread Sticks(V)



Butterscotch Pudding

Frost-Your-Own Cupcakes

And at Thorne Hall


Seafood Chowder(L)

Lentil Soup(VE)


Main Course

Spicy South Indian Vegetable Curry(VE)(GF)

Mahi Mahi with Lemon Crumbs & Horseradish Aioli

London Broil with Carmelized Onion & Blue Cheese(GF)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bar

Vegetable Lo Mein(VE)

Thai Pickled Carrots(VE)



California Vegetable Blend



Rice Pilaf(VE)(GF)



Whole Wheat Bread(VE)



Frost-Your-Own Cupcakes

GF means gluten-free; V means vegetarian; VE means vegan; L means lactaid

And here’s an example of a nutritional breakdown of Bowdoin meals.


Correction: Fixing #58 on the list. It’s William and Mary, not Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech, as noted in the story, is No. 3