Lafene dietitian aims to help students with eating habits, nutrition

(Photo courtesy of Dianna Schalles)

Students struggling with disordered eating, wanting to build muscle or any other dietary need can head to Lafene Health Center to talk with Dianna Schalles. Schalles, registered dietitian, has worked at Kansas State for over 20 years.

She specializes in students struggling with disordered eating and provides one-on-one nutrition counseling through Lafene.

“Many students are experimenting with unhealthy diet trends fueled by misinformation on social media,” Schalles said. “As a registered and licensed dietitian, I can help shift the focus to healthier eating patterns to support overall well-being.”

Schalles said she helps students establish a lifelong healthier relationship with food.

“Ultimately, I want students to benefit by realizing they don’t have to micromanage and obsess about every bite of food,” Schalles said. “Rather, they can learn to balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment — freeing up their time and energy for academic success and other important aspects of the college experience.”

Rachel Werling, a former patient of Schalles and Kansas State alum, said working with Schalles increased her success in work, school and extracurriculars.

“I was skeptical at first— I felt like I knew everything,” Werling said. “I didn’t see how any of the things she was telling me were going to help me. … Sometimes you need to hear something 100 times before it clicks, and it finally clicked.”

Werling now works as a dietitian at the Kansas Rehab Hospital in Topeka.

Schalles said being part of a team of other healthcare providers and staff is rewarding.

“It really does take a village to support our students and that is why we have an Eating Disorders Team at K-State, everyone’s role is so important,” Schalles said.

Kathleen Hoss-Cruz, basic nutrition instructor, worked alongside Schalles over the years.

Hoss-Cruz invites Schalles to discuss disordered eating in her classroom. After her presentations, Schalles normally gets about 2-3 self-referrals from the students.

“It’s great to be able to refer students who want that one-on-one attention to a registered dietician who is licensed and able to provide that information to them,” Hoss-Cruz said.

While specialization in eating disorders is uncommon amongst dietitians, Schalles has it covered. She said she is passionate about taking action to prevent students from going down the wrong path.

“I hope more students will go see her because it’s not just people with eating disorders,” Hoss-Cruz said. “I send her students that are athletes and want to build muscle, non-athletes who want to improve their figure and body shapes and so much more. We are just so lucky to have her.”