I recently had the opportunity to tour a couple of the lunchrooms (?), dining halls (?), cafeterias (?), at Genentech with one of my OG patients. After seeing so many food pictures of lunches, I had to see for myself what this company is feeding my people! Here are my top picks for the different stations in both Building 35 and Building 33.

Building 35

Skewer-Opt for the protein sticks; if sides are covered in sauce or oil, find some elsewhere (more on that later).

Ladle– I’m told there is usually one creamy soup (I would avoid  because they tend to be calorie and fat saturated) and one veggie soup (great choice if it lacks rice or pasta).

Toss– I wish I loved this station, but I didn’t. They’re pre-designed salads that seem to only contain a handful of ingredients, a lot of them unhealthy. If you do find one that is mostly veggie based, I would choose the shrimp or half the salmon portion and put your own vinegar on it.

Sandwich– Let’s just avoid this station altogether, shall we?

Field– This would be the vegetarian station. Vegetarian food can tend to be overloaded with oil, salt, and carbs but I did spot a couple veggie sides that can be paired with the protein skewers from Skewer.

Masala– They did have 1 healthy veggie side that would work!

Savor– This station had some great options if you can steer clear of the comfort food: white fish, rotisserie chicken (remove the skin) and some nonstarchy veggie side choices.

Noodle– Maybe you can order a Ramen without the noodles, but why would you want to? Unfortunately, pho isn’t as healthy as it looks, filled with saturated fat and salt. Best to skip unless it’s a treat.

Building 33

I gather this is similar to other building cafes around campus. Best bets for a guilt free lunch:

  • Try a beef or chicken burger with no bun (ask for a lettuce wrap) and top with pickles, onions, tomatoes.
  • Order a bunless chicken and avocado sandwich.
  • Try a taco salad with grilled veggies, black beans, salsa, and your choice of lean protein.
  • *Salad Bar*-best choice, with a range of veggie toppings and made completely personalized. Pro tip: get a piece of grilled meat from the grill or tofu to top your homemade salad.

What’s your favorite healthy option at Genentech?



Posted by:danielleatraub

Danielle is a UCSF clinical trained dietitian with a background in psychology and experience in medical nutrition therapy, geriatric nutrition, food service and corporate wellness. She has a passion for weight management and for helping those struggling with metabolic syndrome achieve optimal health through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

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