Source: The Red & Black

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 12:00 pm

C. Bailey Davis

University students can now plan their meal with University Food Services before ever stepping foot in a dining hall.

The new nutrition feature of Food Services’ newly designed website allows students access to the daily menu for all of the dining halls, as well as build their plate to see the calories and nutritional content of their meals.

“Everyone is interested in nutrition,” Jeanne Fry, executive director of Food Services, said. “We see labeling in everything we buy. We thought we could take it a step further than that and help students with their dining hall choices.”

The build-your-plate feature divides the dining halls by stations, providing key nutritional information.

Food Services also has a mobile web app that can be accessed at from any smartphone. It allows students to leave feedback, see occupancy of the various dining halls and update their meal plans. Future plans would include incorporating the build-your-plate feature that is found on the website.

Katherine Ingerson, registered dietitian for Food Services, said nutritional information has always been available in the menu guidebook.

“We don’t have the calories in your face because of eating disorders, but [we] do want to encourage healthy eating with something fun and informative,” Ingerson said.

The idea came from information based on other websites, schools and conferences the staff have attended.

“Our goal is expanding knowledge and getting the information out there. We are encouraging students to learn to make choices in moderation and find a balance in meals,” Ingerson said.

The build-your-plate feature launched Sept. 18. The most accessed part of the website has been the nutrition section.

They hope for even more changes in the future, Allison Harper, marketing coordinator of food services, said.

“We strive to continue to improve and make things easily accessible for the students,” Harper said.

The dining halls are also planning on implementing education stations to teach students how to use the build-your-plate option.

“There is always a healthy option, no matter what line you are in. We are not using this feature to fuel calorie counting, rather a tool for learning balanced eating habits for students to carry with them throughout their lives,” Ingerson said.