Dining halls work to combat freshman fifteen

Salads are just one of many healthy options at Baylor dining halls. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Kendra Pell | Reporter

For the many students at Baylor who have meal plans, there are many opportunities to be tempted by the wide array of healthy, and not so healthy, options in each dining hall on campus. However, Baylor Dining Services has made efforts to encourage students to make better decisions when deciding what to eat.

Jill Hamilton, registered dietitian for Aramark, said Baylor Dining Services has created innovative ways to help increase awareness for establishing healthier lifestyles.

“In 2013, we started a platform called ‘Healthy for Life’ to encourage students to make healthier decisions,” Hamilton said. “We also have an initiative going that started last year to reduce calories, saturated fat and sodium levels 20 percent and increased fruits, vegetables and whole grains 20 percent by 2020.”

With websites and mobile apps such as CampusDish and MyFitnessPal, it is now easier to access more information on what each dining hall on campus is serving for each meal, along with nutritional information.

With these online portals, people with meal plans are able to gain insight on the purpose of “Healthy for Life” and see in greater detail the nutritional content of everything Baylor Dining has to offer.

Kansas City, Mo., senior and Baylor Dining Services nutrition intern Christiana Reene said she has also noticed many of the changes and is confident that Baylor is continuing to implement ways to improve the overall dining experience.

“First of all, with all the new dining halls, there’s a lot more variety when it comes to healthy options. Fruits and vegetables are more easily accessible, and the dishes often incorporate those as well,” Reene said.

Signs and labels that show the nutrition facts and possible allergens the food may contain are displayed all around the dining halls and next to the food options. This allows students to have a better understanding of how nutritious each option is.

“Another thing that’s been great is the signage,” Reene said. “Everywhere that you go, you can see nutrition signs with some facts about the food, and it helps students to make better choices.”

However, some students still have trouble finding a variety of options that meet their dietary restrictions.

“Since I’m a vegetarian, there aren’t a lot of options for me,” Austin freshman Alison Meisch said. “But if they are serving Mexican food, I ask for that without meat, but besides that, salads are really the only main vegetarian option.”

Anyone is welcome to ask the staff members questions about the nutritional content of what is being served, as well as read the allergen books placed in the dining halls, Reene said.

“At Your Dining Voice, students are able to give feedback on areas that they like, or offering suggestions for things that could be improved,” Hamilton said. “We have great people, lots of food options, and listen to the feedback from everyone who comes through our doors.”

For more information on Baylor Dining Services, please visit www.baylor.campusdish.com.