Just 4U a good start for UDS

Nutrition facts for only two or three items might not help a particular student at all.

With more and more students looking to avoid the infamous “freshman 15,” Aramark, the company responsible for all the food served at University Dining Services locations on campus has started a new program called Just 4U – Food that Fits Your Life.

The campaign, initially only available at the University at Middlebrook and Sanford halls, is hitting all UDS locations. The program is designed to help students make choices that fit their own special diet needs. As a result, some menu items now display symbols indicating they fit certain requirements. The symbols point out items that are low in carbohydrates and fat, are”Heart Healthy” or “Cal Smart.”

The symbols also point out food items that are made without meat, for a vegetarian diet, and indicate vegan choices. Also, two to three postings of complete nutrition facts, much like what one would find on a side panel of a cereal box, are now posted above certain dishes. The program has intentions of helping increasing numbers of nutritionally conscious students become more nutritionally aware. Though many students will still go for the greasy burger line, the postings might help them realize healthy choices are available and might even taste good. It is good that Aramark is trying to help students find what foods fit their diet needs with the newly posted nutritional information.

But there is still much room for improvement. These postings cannot be seen at every meal. They are rarely posted at breakfast meals, for example. Also, there isn’t always an item available for each symbol. Nutrition facts for only two or three items might not help a particular student at all. Other information is available, but there aren’t many students who will take time to call around to get the information they want about the polyunsaturated fat content per serving. Some serving sizes are posted, but most students don’t know what a six-ounce sandwich serving looks like. Students might think they are eating a “Cal Smart” item, but an entire plateful of cooked meat isn’t exactly the three ounces the calories were counted from.

Overall, Just 4U is a good start. It looks as though students are enjoying the cutesy symbols and the thought what they are eating is OK, as indicated by the “Carb Counter.” Hopefully, Aramark will soon provide realistic information for the entire menu.