ISU Dining caters to students’ nutritional needs


Jake Miller/ Iowa State Daily

The salad bar inside Union Drive Marketplace is just one of the manyways ISU dining centers are bringing healthy eating options to students.

Brian Keck

With a selection of different foods located all over campus, ISU Dining said it try to give students a large supply while also offering nutritional options to students.

It is important for students to have a wide variety of food options that also promote a healthy diet, said Lisa Nolting, program coordinator and dietitian for ISU Dining. 

Nolting, who started with Iowa State the summer of 2013, has been working as a dietitian for four-and-a-half years. Prior to working for Iowa State, she worked as the dietitian for Pleasant Valley High school in Bettendorf, Iowa. 

Nolting said she enjoys working with students to create satisfying and healthy options in the dining centers. 

“Meeting the needs of our students is always our goal,” Nolting said. “It is important for students to learn the benefits of wellness and proper nutrition.” 

Nolting said she believes all foods can fit into a healthy diet with the right balance and moderation. 

Food is what fuels your body. If you don’t follow proper nutrition, you are not going to see the best results, Nolting said. 

“[Eating healthy] helps people have more energy for the day,” said Rachel Jones, freshman in kinesiology and health. “With a proper balanced nutrition, people are able to be more prepared to be at their best for the day.”

ISU Dining offers a special diet kitchen for students who have food allergies and need certain nutrition.

ISU Dining is able to cater to certain students with allergies, offering foods that are nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free and dairy-free, Nolting said.

“It’s important to us that the students know they have a place where they can go to get food that is safe for them,” Nolting said.

In order to keep the special diet kitchen safe, only students with a documented food allergy from a doctor are allowed to eat from the kitchen. 

As well as offering a special diet kitchen for students, ISU Dining hopes to offer more healthy options for students.

By increasing the amount of vegetarian options to students, ISU Dining can offer a wider variety of meals. “It is important to meet and exceed students expectation for both regular dining students and also students on special diets,” Nolting said. 

Iowa State has a good variety of vegetables, Jones said. They offer many healthy options.

Iowa State is able to give nutritional information to students using the online program Net Nutrition.

According to ISU Dining’s website, Net Nutrition is a program that is widely used by campuses across the nation. It takes the information from the products used and generates nutrition content for the foods served on campus.

“[With Net Nutrition] students are able to plan what they want, which allows them to make more informed decisions,” Nolting said. 

This program allows students to know the nutritional information of all the food ISU Dining serves. 

“Ideally, it would allow students to think ahead and decide exactly what food they want to eat which can save time and help prevent overeating,” Nolting said.

The Net Nutrition information and other nutrition information is located on the ISU Dining website.