By Christopher Rush
As college students, one of the most important things in our daily lives is a balanced and nutritional diet. Through proper diet and healthy eating, we enable our bodies and minds to perform at their highest level. At Union, it is the job of Dining Services to ensure that the student body has adequate dietary choices available to them. Essentially, this means making sure that the students are taking in the necessary components of a healthy diet and that those students with special dietary needs have accessible options.
Two members of the Dining Services team, Director of Operations Callie Stacey and Director of Dining Services David Gaul, are key in the school’s efforts to meet the dietary needs of the students. Stacey and Gaul have gone to great lengths to establish healthy dietary standards in all the dining halls and retail locations across campus. Gaul asserts that in his experience, in the past 10 years “the dietary needs of students has increased 10 fold.”
In an effort to address these growing needs, Dining Services has established several programs that will help deal with these issues. Students with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free diets, are able to call ahead to dining halls to have something prepared that meets their requirements. Others with ethnic restrictions also have areas and meals that meet their standards.
Two of the newest programs that Dining Services is implementing are The Balanced Way and My Zone. The Balanced Way (www.balancedway.com) is an effort to offer students balanced and nutritional meals at Upper and West Dining Halls.
The program includes weight plates with 600 calories or less, half fruits and vegetables, a quarter starch, and a quarter protein. The first steps will be unveiled in the fall of 2011 and rolled out further from there. My Zone is an area located in West that has kosher and gluten free options available to students with special dietary needs. This area will be renovated and will allow students to make their own food given their dietary restrictions.
Dining Services has seen an increase in the dietary needs of the students in recent years and through these new programs they are attempting to meet these issues head on. The staff is very receptive to all students with dietary needs and is working to ensure that healthy options are available to students.