December 6, 2022

Get smart with food choices

For students wanting to eat healthier, the NCC Main campus cafeteria offers a wide range of options to help them on their journey.

“I think a lot of times the average customer that comes on a daily basis… would walk in here after a couple of weeks and say, ‘I can’t find anything I’d like to eat.’ And I really think if, it sounds simple, but if you read the menu then… you would actually find some new things to eat,” says Executive Chef Char Hartley.

He says that many of the cafeteria’s dishes are not premade, like the garden burger for instance.

Many of the premade grab-and-go options are healthy as well, since they are made daily with fresh produce delivered three times a week.

“We don’t use any frozen vegetables except for peas and corn,” Hartley says.

In addition, the deli chicken and roast beef are cooked and sliced in-house.

Fruit is another great option, Hartley says, because it is organic and locally grown by the Lancaster Farms Fresh Cooperative, sometimes as close as 10 miles away.

Hartley recommends talking to the dietician who gives demonstrations once a month to learn about eating healthier and to address any special dietary needs.

In terms of environmental friendliness, students are working on the Ban the Bottle campaign to eliminate wasteful and toxic plastic from the cafeteria.

“There’s a Ban the Bottle campaign going on right now, which is really cool. I’m not a fan of selling bottles,” Hartley says.

Hartley stresses that the cafeteria is there to serve the students, and encourages anyone with requests or concerns to talk to him.

Many of the food options currently available were suggested by students, Hartley says.

Students wanting to recommend improvements or new dishes are invited to attend the Food Service Committee, which meets every third Wednesday of the month.

For more information, contact committee chair Janelle Howey at

Hartley encourages students to speak up about what they want to see in the cafeteria.

“If you’re really looking for it, you’re struggling, you’re really not seeing anything that’s jumping out at you, come see me.”

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