Stephanie Teaford is a community liaison for STRIDE.
It is with great interest that we read your article on Feb. 8, 2016 (“Study finds most Campus Dining food unhealthy“). Your reporter shared findings of a recent campus food environment study by Cal Poly Researchers Marilyn Tseng and Dawn Brown Neill. While the NEMS-CD survey tool is a validated and standardized tool and the numbers speak for themselves, what is left out of your article is the progress that is being made by Campus Dining and the goals which have been set.
Colleges and universities across America all have similar challenges — as does our society as a whole. The easy and oftentimes less expensive choices may not always be the healthiest. Our Campus Dining is trying to meet these challenges with the goal of providing the freshest, healthiest food possible.
STRIDE (Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise) has seen Campus Dining take steps toward improving the campus dining environment. STRIDE students have been collaborating with Campus Dining for the past year or so to provide outreach to students with tips on healthy choices. Our collaboration has included work with Student Housing to help students utilize their meal plans to construct healthy meals in residence hall kitchens with foods found at various food outlets on campus. Recent conversations with leadership in Dining have addressed local food procurement and the desire for the freshest and most local food possible for meal preparation.
Consumers can do their part by buying the fresh, healthy food options that exist on our campus now over the less healthy, processed foods.
“If students want to eat healthy, they can do it,” Tseng said. “You just have to know where to go to make the right choices.”
When consumers make choices to buy the healthier option, this encourages Dining to continue investing in these options, and everyone wins.
We are encouraged by Campus Dining’s interest and progress toward creating healthy meals for all of us to enjoy.