By Michael Mullen
Over the course of the past six months, the director of Dining Services David Gaul and the people of Sodexo have been looking into new technologies to provide students with the information they need to make better eating choices.
The research team decided on a new app similar to others found on smart phones, but with the added benefit of having a database full of the Sodexo recipes Union’s dining halls serve every day.
The website, www.myfitnesspal.com, is able to record your daily meals and workouts with a few clicks.
When asked why Union chose My Fitness Pal, Gaul pointed out that “this program works really well for us because we have such a large database of recipes.” Students should be aware that the information provided above each meal station in the Upper Class and West dining halls is there for easy reference, but Gaul is also aware that “there are two things that drive students’ participation these days: convenience and technology or ease of use.”
With this app, students will be able to simply scan the barcode of the food item and it will instantly track your meal’s nutrition online.
Beginning first in residential dining only, the goal is that students will utilize this simple application and begin to take advantage of the new technology Union has to offer.
Gaul acknowledged, “You will find that there are a lot of recipes that will not be barcoded right now because they are still loading stuff into the database. The real hiccup from our end is whether or not it is barcoded for you guys. But I would say that 75-85 percent of our total recipe database is in there already.”
Dining Services is constantly looking to educate students on what it means to eat a healthy meal, so providing the information right to your cell phone is hoped to be a positive action.
Gaul reminded the campus that, “[Dining Services] is listening intently to what students have to say and we appreciate and want to hear all of the feedback, constructive or otherwise. We have a lot of resources at our disposal and we are going to be evolving the program term by term. We have to be able to adapt and the only way we can do that is if we are getting qualitative feedback from our guests. Let us know what you are thinking and how you feel. We want to know details as much as possible.”