Eating healthy on campus, with help from Penn nutrition expert

A registered dietitian for Bon Appétit at Penn Dining, Dan Connolly is making his name known on campus. He tweets wellness tips via @DansDailyDish, shares Instagram photos of his nutritious meals, gives healthy food tours through dining halls, and offers one-on-one advice to Penn community members.

To spread his message of healthy and sustainable eating, he also often partners with different campus centers and offices. For instance, it’s through his work with Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives’ Healthy Penn program that “Joe’s Healthy BBQ,” a new happening for Employee Health and Wellness Month, was born.

Every Wednesday in June, Joe’s BBQ is offering a chef special with a specific healthy twist, reviewed by Connolly. Expect to see grilled lean proteins, fresh, seasonal vegetables from local farms, and fruit-focused desserts. The prices range from $6 to $8 for a meal. Visit the Penn Dining website for details.

“Grilling can be a healthy way of making food, and I hope that some of the people who come to check it out will take some of the food ideas we share and bring them home with them,” Connolly says.

Joe’s BBQ is offered every Wednesday during the warmer months, and is located outside of Joe’s Café, on the ground floor of the Wharton School’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. The event always features grilled favorites, such as hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, and portabella mushrooms, and a special created by Executive Chef Khori Thomas.

“It’s a great way to get people outside and to try something new, something I think is kind of a hidden gem on campus,” Connolly says of Joe’s BBQ.

Another way Connolly supports healthy eating on campus is through his Houston Market food tours. Just about every month since last summer, Connolly has led a group through the dining area, with its hand-rolled sushi, made-to-order pasta bar (a favorite of long-distance runner Connolly), grill station, and salad bar, explaining the different food options and strategies for success. The next tour is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, at 11:30 a.m. Registered participants are eligible for “Be in the Know” incentive points.

Even better, faculty and staff members with valid PennCards who purchase Dining Dollar$ are eligible for 5 percent discounts at select Penn Dining cafes and restaurants, including many in the Houston Market. Visit Penn Dining’s website for information on the new and improved faculty-staff dining program.

“What I love about the tour is that it’s really an open discussion,” Connolly says. “It’s an opportunity for dialogue, for me to take people’s questions. I offer approaches, hints, and things to watch out for, and try to help people get comfortable so they can make healthy choices.”

Joe's BBQ