The inside scoop on K-State dining halls

Julie Cooper, freshman in medical biology and biochemistry, pulls the soft serve handle for a sweet treat after dinner in the Derby Dining Center on Oct. 13, 2014. (File Photo by Renee Dick | The Collegian)

Are you a devoted lover of The Derb, or do you eat a sandwich in your room every night?

One of the biggest challenges people learn to adjust to in college is dorm food. Whether or not you enjoy eating at the Kramer, Derby or Van Zile dining centers, we all want to know how healthy the spread is.

Melissa Shrader, registered dietitian for Kramer, said there are two things that set K-State’s dining facilities apart from other universities.

The first is that the dining hall food is made from scratch. Many other universities serve food that is processed, but Shrader said K-State doesn’t take any shortcuts when preparing meals.

Secondly, Shrader said there are registered dietitians working in each one of the three dining centers, whereas most other college dining systems have one dietitian working for the entire program.

The presence of a dietitian in the dining halls is important, according to Shrader. The dietitians aren’t just there to help with meal planning, but to help students as well.

“Having a dietitian in each dining center is helpful, because we can better meet the students’ personal needs and answer their questions,” Shrader said.

Mark Edwards, dietitian and director of Derby, said some people claim dorm food makes them gain weight. Edwards argues, however, that these people are gaining weight because they are not making smart choices when it comes to what they eat.

“Our dining centers are the perfect place to eat healthy,” Edwards said. “There are so many healthy options, but you have to choose them.”

Many people aren’t used to having so many options to choose from. Both Shrader and Edwards said if a student is gaining weight from eating in the dorms, he or she simply needs to compare what they are eating now to what they eat at home.

So the next time you’re eating at one of the dining centers, try to not get too distracted by the huge dessert table. The sweet treats may look tempting, but they won’t help you in keeping that pesky “freshman 15” away. Just keep your eyes on the fruit and salad bar and you will be well on your way to healthier meals and a healthier you in no time.