• Serving independent schools and colleges with since 1990

The Makings of a SAGE Menu

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SAGE Dining Services® has been promoting our All Foods Fit philosophy since our beginning in 1990. We know that proper nutrition can have a big impact on students’ academic performance, attendance, athletic performance, and long-term wellness. That’s why we put such care into making sure every menu provides a variety of recipes to properly fuel our communities and suit all tastes.

Every menu is composed of a variety of from-scratch recipes. Each recipe begins as a SAGE Chef's idea. It’s then submitted and reviewed by our Director of Menu Development. Some are sampled by our Test Kitchens — venues that sample and rate new recipes. Every one is then reviewed by our Registered Dietitians, tagged for allergens, analyzed based on its nutritional value, and entered into the Recipe Collection of more than 8,000 recipes.

Our Food Service Directors (FSDs) construct our menus by choosing specific dishes based on the needs and preferences of each community. They then submit their menus to our Registered Dietitians who review each one to ensure all standards are met, including nutritional balance and allergy accommodation. They review at least three seasonal menu cycles for each of our roughly 275 venues.

The FSDs and Dietitians make sure that each menu provides plenty of options, including making sure selections for vegetarians, vegans, and those avoiding allergens that are prominent in their community are available. Diners can use our online filters for allergens and eating patterns and can access complete ingredient lists online. Community members without dietary restrictions benefit just as much from our focus on variety. Students are exposed to different cultures and culinary trends through our diverse station concepts — like Paquito’s®, Pacific Thyme, Vegitas®, Crossroads, and Mangia! Mangia!.

The Spotlight Program provides education and guidance on how to fuel your body and foster a positive relationship with food. Our Registered Dietitians have assigned a Spotlight color to each menu item using a formula to calculate nutrient density, based on the latest USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrient density is the proportion of nutrients that are recommended we eat more often (calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, and iron) to those that are recommended we eat less often (saturated fat, added sugar, sodium). Foods higher in nutrient density contain more of the nutrition our bodies need to function. Use the color-coded Spotlights to identify the nutrient density of menu items and choose foods you enjoy, while practicing variety, balance, and moderation.

  • Dark green represents food higher in nutrient density.  
  • Medium green represents food moderate in nutrient density.  
  • Light green represents foods lower in nutrient density.  

In addition to these guidelines, each menu meets our standards for fresh, wholesome ingredients and sustainable sourcing practices. We use fresh fruits and vegetables, and we offer a variety of whole-grain breads, bagels, and rolls. We roast deli meats and make salad dressings in house. We use oils without added trans-fats and seasonings without added MSG. We use antibiotic- and hormone-free milk, No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) chicken, and cage-free, Certified Humane® eggs. We’re especially proud to cook from scratch with local and campus-grown ingredients where possible — we love using fresh produce from the farms and gardens at our venues!

We invest our time and resources into menu review because we believe that a balanced menu, constructed with the needs and wants of the community in mind, is the foundation for a lifelong positive relationship with food, and strong academic, athletic, and extracurricular performance. We want our community members to look forward to each meal as a chance to relax, converse, and build relationships — without having to worry if there will be options that meet their dietary priorities and preferences.

We always welcome community feedback — in person, on comment cards, and through our Touch of SAGE Mobile App™. This input helps us make great menus even better!

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From Our Kitchen: Balsamic-Grilled Portobello Burgers

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Up Your Game with Performance Spotlight™

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