Student Affairs talks with Campus Dining Services

Campus Dining Services employee Matt Rose flips burgers and grilled cheese Thursday at Mark Twain Market. The Missouri Students Association Student Affairs Committee proposed improving healthy eating options in dining halls and CDS is already looking toward changes.

The Missouri Students Association's Student Affairs Committee met with Campus Dining Services Tuesday night to discuss healthy eating options on campus.

Student Affairs Vice Chairman Dave Salek scheduled the meeting and led the discussion with CDS.

"The committee was looking around for ideas for what to tackle next and what students were interested in, and we decided healthier dining options for students is something we should look into," Salek said. "This was just kind of a preliminary, kick-off meeting to give us a general idea of where Campus Dining Services is with this and what we can do to compliment their efforts."

Student Affairs Chairman Paul Whiteside said he was thrilled and surprised to see what CDS is already doing to promote healthier dining options.

"They were very open to any questions we had, and it seems like they're already doing a lot to encourage healthy eating," Whiteside said.

CDS Nutrition Coordinator Magda Mello attended the meeting and said she believes very few students know about everything campus dining's doing to promote healthy eating.

"We do a lot to promote healthy eating habits but we don't advertise it, we just do it because we feel it's the right thing," Mello said.

Mello is also the Mark Twain Dining Hall manager.

Among some ideas Student Affairs had were adding more fruit and vegetable options and increasing the size of the salad bars in dining halls. Mello said that though "staple fruits" such as apples, oranges and bananas were provided every day, seasonal restrictions and shipping costs limit the amount of other fruits and vegetables dining halls can provide.

"Certain fruits and vegetables aren't very accessible during certain times of the year," Mello said.

Concerning the change in the dining halls, Mello said CDS provides many nutritional options in dining halls.

"We provide a variety of healthy food, but we also let the students make their own decisions about what food they want to have," Mello said.

CDS cut all trans fats out of their cooking oils this year and are currently looking at other ways to cut down on unhealthy foods, looking into whole grain pasta and pizza crust, as well as low-fat cheese.

Concerning sustainability, Mello said CDS works with local farms during certain times of the year to provide fruits and vegetables, cutting down on transportation. However, she said CDS would not go through with trayless dining, another sustainability-related idea, without more student support.

"I believe recent surveys said around 70 percent of student disapprove of trayless dining and that's too low for us to take trays out of dining halls right now," Mello said. "We want to have student support before we do something that drastic."

Salek said Student Affairs will continue discussing healthy eating options at their next meeting Tuesday.

"We're all coming back with some more specific ideas for healthy eating in campus dining halls and we'll go from there," Salek said.

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