Improvements to Campus Dining Nutrition Should Continue

Linda Newell | Contributing Writer

Over 20 percent of all college students are classified as overweight, according to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment for the spring of this year. Although it is ultimately up to individuals to ensure that they are eating properly, it is in students’ best interest for schools to keep looking for new ways to educate about nutrition and to continue to make an effort to provide healthful options.

While not all meals and snacks are purchased on campus, Campus Dining should continue to make an effort to make healthful foods more of a priority. According to Alice Merritt, Campus Dietitian, there have been changes over the years that have been beneficial such as posting nutritional information.

Campus dining also offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for students to choose from, especially at Wagoner Hall and Dub’s Cafe. This is certainly a good thing, as only six percent of all college students consume the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to ACHA’s report.

“I feel freshmen that have a meal plan on campus eat better,” said Merritt. However, there is still room for improvement such as offering cereals that contain less sugar, according to Merritt.

Unfortunately, healthier options do not always sell well. According to Matt Rogers, Senior Food Service Director for Campus Dining, healthier cereals such as Kashi and Cheerios aren’t as popular as more sugary cereals, even at Wagoner where there is not a price difference between cereals.

The cost of healthful food options presents another issue for students. Merritt said that many students tell her that the options that are better for their health are often not so good for their budgets, particularly at the convenience stores on campus. Rogers said that Campus Dining makes an effort to keep prices reasonable for healthful items.

It is also important to emphasize the importance of exercise. Merritt said that Health Promotions does programs about fast food and snacking and also provides free information about how to eat healthfully. More visibility of these materials around campus would be helpful reminders for everyone to make conscious decisions about what they eat, especially students.

Campus Dining wants to know what students think and works to make changes that students want to see. “That’s why Wagoner is now open later and Dub’s Cafe was opened,” said Rogers.

It is up to students to make healthy choices when it comes to their diet and to make suggestions about changes that they want to see. However, Campus Dining should continue their efforts to provide healthier options for students. They should also keep working with Health Promotions to educate students about making informed decisions when it comes to nutrition.