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UHS Helps Students Judge Meals’ Nutrition


Eager for a chance to find out just how healthy her eating habits are, K. Pilar Adams ’06 approached the table in the Kirkland House dining hall where Barbara E. Boothby, Program Manager for Nutrition Services at University Health Services (UHS), was sitting.

“I’ve always wondered how healthy I ate,” Adams said.

For the second year, UHS dieticians will be rotating through the dining halls this month, setting up a “Rate Your Plate” station where students can have the nutritional value of their meals judged.

The stations are part of a joint campaign from Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) and UHS to educate students about nutrition and wellness during March—National Nutrition Month.

In addition to the Rate Your Plate stations, each undergraduate dining hall will feature an education table which will allow students to pick up fliers on good eating tips or leaf through books on nutrition.

Boothby said the Rate Your Plate program said roughly 20-25 students had their lunches rated in Kirkland yesterday.

“It’s a chance to get people more aware of the food choices they’re making in a fun, educational way,” she said.

This year, she said, the revised program was adjusted to reflect that one meal is not always a good measure of overall student nutrition.

“Being healthy and eating well is more than just what’s on your plate for a given meal, so we’ve expanded the rating system so people can think about eating over the course of the day,” said Boothby.

Adams encouraged other students to get their meals rated as well.

“It’s good to know the specific things you need to work on,” she said. “I think everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to learn about a healthy lifestyle.”

In addition to the Rate Your Plate program, UHS plans to implement an online version of their “Ask the Dietician” service—previously available only at the UHS Holyoke Center—on its website by the end of the week, Boothby said.

Along with the information provided during meals, the National Nutrition Month campaign will also include discussions with specialists about nutritional concerns.

Leverett House hosted the first, a dialogue with UHS nutritionist Barbara Ruhs and patient education specialist Debra Small, in its JCR yesterday.

Although the Dining Service does not plan to adjust the menu every day to reflect National Nutrition Month, HUDS will serve special menus for four dinners during March to expose students to different nutritional philosophies, ranging from Japanese to Low Fat/Low Cholesterol.

“Every day on our menu you should be able to put together a healthy meal. It all depends on your personal nutritional needs,” HUDS Publications and Communications Director Crista Martin said.

Martin said that the goal of the campaign is to increase student awareness about nutrition in an enjoyable way.

“It’s just a fun way for us to try to bring nutrition into students’ minds,” Martin said.

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