Nutritionist advises on healthful campus dining

Senior Kacey Kurtz must sometimes trade healthful eating for convenience.

“As a commuter, I always ate at Arby’s,” she said. “Every day, I would get an order of curly fries, Loaded Potato Bites and a milkshake.”

According to the Arby’s website, Kurtz’s order consisted of 1,300 calories and 66 grams of fat, and it cost around $6.50. “It’s just hard now because I don’t ever have time to, like, pack a lunch, and I’m there all day. I wish we had more options,” Kurtz said.

While Arby’s does offer several salads, they still contain high amounts of fat. A Crispy Chopped Farmhouse Salad boasts 24 grams of fat, and that’s without the addition of any dressing.YSU nutritionist/dietitian Chrystyna Zellers offered tips about making healthful choices on campus.

“It’s difficult for everyone to get so many food choices in general,” Zellers said. “What I can say about fast food places is that they all have websites. You need to educate yourself on what is healthful. It is up to you on how to use that information.”

A lesser-known provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires all restaurants to post calorie information on their menus and websites, making it easier to ascertain nutritional value.Zellers emphasized the importance of planning meals ahead of time.

“McDonald’s is a business, not your mom. Plan ahead with both your time and budget,” she said.

Zellers suggested bringing something from home — like grilled chicken — and putting it on a fresh salad purchased on campus.

“Have a few things that you know are healthy and easy to get. Almost every place has some healthier options,” she said. “If you like coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, get a latte with non-fat milk and no sugar.”

She encouraged letting the restaurants know that their more healthful options are valued.

“Fast food places are offering healthier choices because people have been demanding it,” Zellers said.