UNT offers healthy eating options to students
January 27, 2010

January is a time when New Year's resolutions prompt many to become more health conscious and to take a closer look at the foods they eat.

For students with UNT Dining Services meal plans, nutrition in dorm food may be a concern as well.

"I'm glad to say that UNT does not use processed foods at all this year, said Shohreh Sparks, associate director of purchasing for Dining Services. "We use whole foods and vegetables throughout all our meals. So we have students eating healthier without necessarily being aware of it."

Dorm life is still a must for most incoming UNT freshmen, and, depending on which dorm they live in, they may be required to purchase a meal plan with housing fees.

Meal plans offered on campus range from 8s Enough, a meal plan that pays for eight meals a week, to a 5-Day plan to a 7-Day plan. Each plan caters to students whose appetites spread from either high to low or how often they are on campus to benefit from the dining services.


"The cooks are cooking," Dining Services Associate Director Peter Balabuch said. "We have chefs on campus preparing meals from scratch with students having the option of portion control."

People at the cafeterias on campus can view nutrition cards and control the number of servings while at the same time managing their calorie intake.

Bruce Hall’s cafeteria, which boasts of being one of the busiest onsite dining spots, has a Nutritional Wall located adjacent to its Sustainability Wall telling guests to not only mind what they are eating but also how much they are throwing away, therefore increasing the idea of sustainability throughout the UNT community.

The goal of the project is to educate students on what they are eating so they will be able to take those habits and carry it over into their adult lives.

The students’ favorite meals, such as pizza and chicken tenders, have been fixed with whole food ingredients.

Freshman 15 The myth is that incoming freshmen entering college gain 15 pounds because of diet changes.

While it's partially true, Priscilla Connors, a nutrition science professor, said it’s not the only reason a student’s weight can either increase or decrease.

"There's an issue of students reaching the curve of puberty around the same time they start college," Connors said. "Unless they continued certain physical activities from high school, then less exercise also becomes a factor."

This, coupled with the fact that students have more freedom choosing meals and less activity, puts them at greater risk of gaining unwanted pounds, she said.

"Adolescents need to realize that there is a bigger vegetable option than just choosing lettuce," she said. "Cutting out fat, carbs and calories does not equate to a healthier meal. It's about quality and quantity."

Students on campus frequent the cafeterias and have mixed reviews on the food they eat.

International student Kristen D'Abreo, a speech pathology and audiology sophomore, lives on campus and has a 5-Day meal plan. She said she believes that American cuisine, in relation to that of her home city of Mumbai, India, took some time to get use to, but she also enjoys the convenience of being able to eat whenever she wanted.

Business finance sophomore Andrew Lee, who lives off campus, said that while he's happy that UNT is making food healthier for students, it's still on the expensive side and that he prefers to fix his own meals.

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