Dining Services to make nutritional information available Fall 2011

Kate Murphy

Dining Services will be providing nutritional information for meals in the dining halls beginning next semester.

There will be index cards provided for each meal at every campus dining location excluding the Student Center. These cards will list the calorie counts, grams of fat, carbohydrates and all other nutritional information.

Richard Roldan, director of Dining Services, said this has been a time-consuming process that is still underway.

“Part of the problem with nutritional information is the menu,” Roldan said. “If you’re not using the same products every time, the information is incorrect. One chicken patty may have a different nutritional value than another. So it (means) making sure all the cooks are trained and everything’s consistent so when we put the nutritional information up, it is accurate.”

Calorie count for on-campus food

  • One slice of pepperoni pizza: 650 calories, 25 grams of fat
  • Garden salad bowl: 520 calories, 32 grams of fat
  • Turkey bacon club wrap: 480 calories, 22 grams of fat
  • Mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce: 450 calories, 22 grams of fat
  • Fruit cup: 60 calories, 0 grams of fat
  • Chocolate chunk cookies: 250 calories, 11 grams of fat

Nutritional information is currently on the Dining Services website. Specific menus aren’t available, so a student will have to remember what they ate and look up the information later.

The section of the website that provides the nutritional information, however, is not user-friendly. There are many items that Dining Services does not supply, causing the website to be crowded and confusing. This is something that Roldan says Dining Services is trying to change.

“You will have to remember the menu that we have, and go on afterward because right now we do not have it connected,” Roldan said. “We’re hoping to have it connected one day where you can view each day’s menu.”

Students may be shocked to find out some of the nutritional information of their food. One of the lunch options Thursday in Eastway Café was a chicken and cheese quesadilla, Spanish rice and corn, which totaled 760 calories and 34 grams of fat. The spicy buffalo chicken wrap was 620 calories and 27 grams of fat.

The average calorie intake for women ages 18 to 30 should be roughly 2,000 calories a day and 2,400 for a males ages 18 to 30. If a young woman ate the chicken and cheese quesadilla, Spanish rice and corn for lunch, that would equal 38 percent of her diet for the day.

Sophomore advertising major Olivia Chapman was not surprised by the poor nutritional value in the Eastway Café dishes.

“I don’t eat at these on campus dining locations because I care about what I eat,” Chapman said. “Although I will still not be eating on campus next semester, it is definitely a good thing they will be providing nutritional information.”

Roldan’s main goal is that the students be more informed and aren’t guessing about what they are consuming.

“What we also want to do is revamp the menu and add more choices,” Roldan said. “You’re always going to have the favorites, which tend to be the chicken fingers, the fries, the pierogies and the fried chicken bowl. Regardless of what society says about healthy options, some people still want to indulge.”

One student who still wants to indulge is Ava Faller, freshman pre-business management major. She ordered chicken fingers and fries at Eastway Café for lunch, totaling 750 calories and 52 grams of fat.

“It doesn’t bother me that it’s so high in calories,” Faller said. “I eat whatever I want and I’ll probably never pay attention to the nutritional information.”

Despite conflicting opinions of the desire for nutritional information, Roldan and his team are pushing on to make the students on campus more aware of their choices.

“I think the bottom line is choices,” said Roldan. “When you’re dealing with 27,000 students on a campus you have to accommodate everybody. Some want healthy and some don’t. It’s the balance of choices and being informed.”

Contact Kate Murphy at [email protected].