Catering to student food needs

Dining halls are a key part of the college experience. Students use them as a place to hang out with friends, study, and of course, eat. But for many students with dietary restrictions, the dining halls can present a major challenge.

Fortunately, UW-Whitewater Dining Services in partnership with Chartwells is working to provide a variety of options for students with all types of food needs.

For students who are trying to choose healthier options, they can look for whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, as well as the fruits and vegetables offered around campus.

To make it easier for students to understand the nutritional value of their on-campus meal options, a nutrition guide will be available for anyone to view at Esker Dining Hall.

According to Ann Rakowiecki, marketing director for UW-Whitewater Dining Services in partnership with Chartwells, it is important for students to understand nutrition and what is needed to provide a healthy meal.

“There are a lot of resources out there that you can really customize for your age, your activity level, things like that,” Rakowiecki said. “Everybody’s needs are going to be different. It isn’t necessarily one size fits all.”

For students who are vegetarian or vegan, there are always meatless options listed on displays. Esker Dining Hall also has a full salad bar that offers a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and tofu, as well as a saute bar where students can create their own stir fry.

At the many restaurants in the University Center, students can ask for sandwiches and entrees to be made without meat.

The ingredients used in meal selections on campus are generally listed on menus or signs so students with allergies can easily identify problem foods.

In addition to posting ingredients, dining services are taking strides to prevent cross contamination of possible allergens. For example, students can request that staff in dining establishments on campus change their gloves before preparing their food if they are unsure about whether or not the staff member handled something they are allergic to or cannot eat.

Also, a section of Esker Dining Hall will be dedicated as a gluten-free area. The toasters and other equipment will only be allowed to be used for gluten-free products to ensure those with a wheat allergy that there has been no cross contamination.

According to Jessica Schultz, production manager and registered dietitian for UW-Whitewater Dining Services in partnership with Chartwells, if anyone is unsure of whether or not they can safely eat something, the best thing they can do is ask.

“We encourage students to ask what’s in the food,” Schultz said. “We will be checking our food labels and if there’s an ingredient in question, I contact the manufacturers to make sure that the foods we are offering are gluten-free all the time. An issue sometimes, especially with gluten, is that the food labels change, the manufacturers might change one ingredient, so we’re keeping up with that.”

The menus around campus change daily, so there are always new options for everyone to try. However, dining services make a special effort to provide different selections for students with special food needs who may otherwise have a hard time finding different options.

“When it comes to special needs, we try to be sensitive to that and educate ourselves about what those needs are and also trying to provide the same variety for those students,” Rakowiecki said. “We’re always working and listening to what students are saying.”

Students who want to discuss their dietary options or figure out a plan for healthy eating can set up an appointment to meet with Jessica Schultz by e-mailing her at [email protected]

Students at Uno due Go

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to eat on campus 

– Esker Dining Hall

– Prairie Street Market

– University Center Restaraunts

Graham Street Cafe

Uno due Go

Ike Schaffer Commons

Willie’s 360

– Andersen Library

Food for Thought

– Hyland Hall

Deloitte Cafe

– Center of the Arts

CAfe

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