Choose wisely

Tara Pringle

Dining Services offers variety of food options for everyone

Prentice employee Van David Johnson Jr. dishes up mashed potatoes for a student. Dining services offers a variety of choices that range in nutritional value.

Credit: Andrew popik

College can be an alternate universe where students eat breakfast at noon and eat dinner well after midnight.

While students may not have much control over what time they get around to eating, they can determine what foods they eat.

Eugene Walters, marketing manager for Dining Services, stressed the importance of making good decisions.

Dining Services promotes “healthy, well-balanced eating,” Walters said.

“We sell what the students want,” Walters said. “If it doesn’t sell, we won’t carry a large quantity.

“At any given time, there are 13,000 different items in the markets. We’re constantly trying new things.”

Walters said the department looks at items sold in convenience stores nationally and what vendors offer before determining what items to sell on campus.

“It’s all about decisions,” he said. “We can put healthy options against hamburgers and fries, and 95 percent of the time hamburgers and fries win out.”

Walters said students can ask for items they want to see in the markets. Students can go to Dining Services’ Web site or talk to management to try to get the issue solved quickly, he said.    

With regards to popular diets like Atkins, Walters said, Dining Services only tries to fill the needs of the students.

“We try to go along with trends because that’s what students want,” Walters said.

Kisha Smith, junior political science and international relations major, said she rarely eats in the Hub.

“They need to have a more diverse selection of food,” Smith said. “Everything comes with fries. They should put some vegetables in there.”

Other students voiced their opinions about the HUB.

“They had Subway last year,” said Jenifer Kovak, sophomore English major. “I would say Subway is much healthier than Quizno’s.”

Kovak, an off-campus student, said when she is on campus, she usually just grabs a wrap from the cafeteria in the Student Center.  

What to do?

The School of Family and Consumer Studies offers a Nutrition Outreach program where students can receive such services as nutrition guidance and health assessments for free.

“If you love French fries, try the smaller portion,” said Juanita Weaver, dietitian for the program. “If you love hamburgers, get a regular one without all the sauces.

“I realize students aren’t going to completely give up those things.”

Students can come to the program to simply talk to a dietitian about their diet or to help track their progress.

“Sometimes it just helps to be accountable to someone,” Weaver said.

Weaver also suggested students plan ahead of time what they are going to eat that day.

“Students should eat three regular meals a day,” Weaver said. “If you go too long between meals, you’ll get really hungry, and then you’re not going to want the fruit or vegetables.”

In addition to eating three meals a day, Weaver suggested students buy fruit in advance so it will be available when they are hungry.

“The veggies and fruits are there,” Weaver said. “It’s up to the students to eat them.”

Natalie Lussier Hill, nutritionist for Recreation Services, said the Student Recreation and Wellness Center has many programs to help students who need counseling for weight issues.

“The Healthy Weigh” is a new six-week program offered at the Rec in which students get help with nutrition and fitness.

Lussier Hill also said students can stop at the Rec with any concerns about weight management.

Contact enterprise reporter Tara Pringle at [email protected].