Dining Services behind on posting nutritional information online
Although Dining Services posts nutritional information, including calorie and fat counts online, it is not comprehensive and is sometimes misleading. The information is missing for many items.
Sophomore Christa Stathopoulos expressed concern for the lack of calorie information available for certain pastry items such as scones, a popular late night snack.
“We have a right to know what we are eating and what is going into our food,” she said.
Nutritional information can be accessed through the Washington University Dining Services webpage under “Menus” by location. Clicking on the product will provide the nutritional information for the given serving size. For instance, a Buffalo chicken wrap at Bear’s Den has 668 calories with 142 from fat.
The posted nutritional information for some items is misleading. The information for frozen yogurt is listed for a four-ounce serving even though the smallest cup available at dining locations is an eight-ounce size.
Connie Diekman, director of University nutrition, acknowledges that many menu items do not have nutritional information available yet because many new items were added to the menu this summer.
On her desk sits a stack of papers with nutritional information that have yet to be entered. She says the person in charge of entering all of the information has not yet had a chance.
According to Diekman, her main objective is to provide students with healthy dining alternatives on campus. She encourages students to speak up about what they want to see changed within campus dining.
“We really do rely upon the students to bring up the questions when something is not there. Input is always very important and definitely does impact how we do what we do,” Diekman said. “The goal is to have healthy options, not to force people to only eat healthy. It is about balance but we need to have both options to achieve balance.”
Dining Services has introduced several new initiatives to encourage student health.
New “quick bites” are being designed to sustain students for a long period of time, rather than just spike their blood sugar levels. Truffles and dark chocolate bark can now be found at dining locations, replacing items such as yogurt covered pretzels and Swedish fish.
Dining Services is also working to reinforce its policy on serving three-ounce protein servings.
There is a national trend of posting nutritional informational on site in eateries. Both Starbucks and Jamba Juice provide the calorie content for their drinks and pastry items on their menus.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Obama signed in 2010, requires that chain restaurants list nutritional information on their menus. This stipulation has yet to go into effect.
Nutrition facts are not available at Washington University dining locations.
Diekman suggests that students who notice items absent or misrepresented on the Dining Services website bring them to her attention.