UVic signs on to nutrition program to combat freshman 15

University is first public institution in B.C. to participate in province’s Informed Dining program

The University of Victoria implemented a simple new program this year that aims to put an end to the freshman 15.

The post-secondary institution is the first public institution in B.C. to adopt the province’s Informed Dining program, which gives customers – in this case mostly students and staff – a full nutritional breakdown of all menu options before placing an order at any of the UVic-run food outlets.

“For many first-year students, depending on what their eating habits have been historically, they’re making their own choices for the first time. So they’re deciding what they’re having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it’s not being decided by their parents,” said Jim Dunsdon, UVic’s associate vice-president of student affairs. “So for many students, if they’re living on campus, they’ll have meals prepared for them (by food services) and it’s really important for them to know what’s in those meals in order to make healthy choices.”

The freshman 15 is a commonly used expression that refers to the weight gain many first-year students experience, as a result of increased access to unhealthier foods.

The nutritional guide contains all the nutritional information customers would want – from cholesterol to calcium, highlighting to big two: calories and sodium. It covers every menu item at the six University Food Service restaurants on campus.

“It was a ton of work for our registered dieticians. … For years we’ve had students asking us, ‘What’s in this food? What’s the sodium content?,’ so it’s really nice to have this information readily accessible to them,” Dunsdon said.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the Informed Dining program is part of a  prevention strategy to keep British Columbians healthy, which includes maintaining an active lifestyle and making smart food choices.

“We know proper nutrition is important to maintain their energy, to avoid illness and to help allow students to keep pace with their busy lives. Making healthy choices when eating on campus can be a real challenge,” he acknowledged.

Lake pointed to a roasted red pepper and hummus melt on the Informed Dining menu at UVic’s Village Greens, acknowledging the food sounds healthier than it is. A single serving of that dish contains 990mg of sodium, 30mg of cholesterol and 450 calories.

“Who knew hummus had so much sodium?” Lake asked.

There are currently 1,500 restaurants in B.C. participating in the Informed Dining program.

Dunsdon says the nutritional information won’t just inform customers, the university will use the information to better plan its food offerings.

“One of the next steps is now that we have all this information, we’re going to go through and reassess our food offerings we provide,” he said. “I believe students will begin to make different choices about what they’re eating, and we’ll respond to that.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 expected to remain closed through investigation, detour available to drivers

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

Paragliders worked to capture a big enough gust to get them flying near Clover Point Saturday. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents dive in and take flight under sunny skies

Warm, sunny weather had people flocking outside Saturday

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Most Read