For students, college is an environment filled with new places and experiences. One of those new experiences is navigating the dining halls, and choosing what to eat can be stressful. Luckily for Ohio University students, the dining halls offer a delicious variety of nutritional foods.
The definitions of “nutrition” and “dieting” are often confused and students do not always have a correct understanding of them. Jessica Arquette, a nutrition professor and the sports dietitian for athletics at OU, discussed the definitions of both terms, illustrating their differences and how they coexist.
“Any student who takes Nutrition 1000 will learn that nutrition is the science that relates food to health,” said Arquette. “How I would define the term ‘diet' is if we’re using the Merriam Webster dictionary definition, it’s food or drink regularly consumed.”
Despite social media beliefs, dieting does not mean food restriction, but instead encourages a balance of food and drink with the incorporation of proper nutrients.
According to Arquette, students are encouraged to incorporate energy-yielding nutrients into their meals, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. However, this isn’t always easy as college students have busy lives and find themselves preoccupied with other tasks.
“You can get plenty of macronutrients without a lot of micronutrients,” said Arquette. “There are many aspects of college life that make this difficult, like trying to adjust to college life, financial resources (and) mental health issues. Time management skills can (also) affect the students' intakes.”
OU knows students have a lot on their plates, therefore the dining halls provide access to nutritional foods and experts who are willing to help them with their personal dietary needs.
Angie Bohyer, Culinary Services’ registered dietitian, meets with students who have allergies, autoimmune disorders or anyone who needs assistance with dietary needs. She can meet with students one-on-one and walk them around the dining halls and offer online meetings.
Bohyer talked about The Central Food Facility, where all of the dining hall food is prepared. She said that students often assume the food in the dining halls is processed; however, that is not the case.
“Most of our food here at Culinary Services is actually homemade,” said Bohyer.
Some of the homemade foods mentioned were casseroles, soups, cheesecakes, baked goods and hand-cut, marinated meats. These happen to be only a few of the many foods that are homemade and served in the dining halls.
“If you go on the Culinary Website … and then go to where it says menus … if you click on that food, an FDA-approved nutrition facts label is shown, so you can see what's in the food,” said Bohyer.
Students who want to create meals on their own in the dining halls can also access MyPlate, which helps people learn how to eat healthy and incorporate nutritional foods into their diets.
Including specific nutrients within meals is encouraged, and students should remember that having a balance is healthy too. Hannah Moore, a senior studying nutrition, is the president of the Ohio University Nutrition Club and believes not restricting yourself from diverse food groups makes life more enjoyable.
“We can talk about exactly what we’re supposed to do, but it’s Halloween, I want to eat candy,” said Moore. “I’m not going to stop myself from doing that.”
Moore additionally said balancing nutrition is both important and exciting.
“As a student and as a young person, a lot of it to me is about balance,” said Moore. “Food is something that should both nourish you and give you energy, but it's also really fun. It’s something that brings people together.”
Learning to navigate the dining halls and all of the nutritional foods they offer can be difficult. Students are encouraged to reach out to email@example.com for further assistance.