SPE Certified


Carleton University

Various Cuisines

Carleton University - the Caf
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
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Carleton University's dining hall, the Caf, has earned three-star SPE Certification in recognition of their commitments to serving nutritious and environmentally sustainable food, the first 3-star rating for a higher education in Canada. A culinary nutritionist from SPE Certified worked closely with Carleton’s Registered Dietitian to answer over 350 questions about the dining programs operational priorities, product sourcing, menu offering, preparation techniques, communication practices and environmental stewardship programs. With SPE’s seal of approval, students and parents have reassurance of the university’s commitment to the health of students, faculty and staff at Carleton and the health of the environment.

The Caf earned three-star certification by serving nutrient dense ingredients, using healthier fats in cooking, and regularly offering whole grains and legumes across stations in the dining hall at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, the Caf offers low-sugar, high fiber options as well as vegetables with the hot offering. At lunch and dinner, there are always vegan options frequently with minimally-processed legumes and whole intact grains, made-to-order salads at the salad bar and most soups and sauces are made in house.

SPE requires certified operations offer SPE balanced plates daily which include nutrient-dense vegetables, whole grains, sustainable proteins and healthy fats. In The Caf, these dishes are available daily at breakfast, lunch and dinner as another way to identify healthy balanced options in the dining hall.

Carleton also is committed to sustainable sourcing and supporting the regional community through programs for composting, the use of post-consumer recycled products, regional sourcing when seasonally possible and MSC certification.

What does all this mean for a student who walks into The Caf looking for a healthy meal? It means that they’ll have a variety of balanced options available to them across stations in the dining hall at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, a student may be able to pair sustainably-sourced cod from the Farmer’s Market station with a whole-grain quinoa dish from the Vegan station, and top it off with a local red beet salad at the Salad Station. The end result is a delicious, balanced meal that has been seasonally, locally and sustainably sourced while using cooking techniques that preserve the integrity and nutritional quality of ingredients.  Read more about it here!


Achieved a score of 80% or greater.


Achieved a score between 50% and 80%.


Achieved a score between 30% and 50%.

Offers items that meet SPE criteria for a balanced plate.