Big health changes coming to campus

Trinity has been pushing for healthier lifestyle changes for its students. To accommodate this, it has hired a new nutritionist, Mandy Tyler, and will implement San Antonio’s “¡Por Vida!” dining program.

“Trinity put together a strategic plan, and one of the main focus areas of that plan, while academics remains number one,  was to support students outside of class as well. Adjusting to a new type of lifestyle looks a lot different on a college campus than it does back home. Nutrition looks a lot different, so it’s a lot of adjustment,” said Katherine Hewitt, coordinator for wellness services.

Zeina Zayat, junior biochemistry major, said that the lack of variety on campus is the source of unhealthy eating habits.

“Freshii is pretty healthy, it seems like, and I’m pretty sure that’s why we got it in the first place, but there’s only so much salad and stir fry you can eat. If you want a variety of food, you’re going to have to eat unhealthy choices because there are only so many choices on campus. You’re going to get that taco or that bagel because you want something different,” Zayat said.

Trinity has recently hired a part-time nutritionist to help educate students on how to make the most of what is available.

“Her role is to get familiar with what’s offered on campus, and possibly make suggestions of things that we’re missing. But while she will be more than willing to do that, we want that to come from the students, more or less. More of her role is education and how to put meals together that students might not think of usually with what’s available. Her coaching and teaching is a big part of it as well,” Hewitt said.

Some students were hopeful that the new hire could help make changes on campus.

“If the nutritionist is going to tell us what to eat, I hope they tell us what to eat on the meal plan that we have. They should go through and tell us what’s good at the restaurants on campus. I think if it’s going to make a real difference, though, they should have a conversation with the chef at Mabee and make sure there’s a variety of healthy choices each day,” Zayat said.

Trinity will be implementing a new program called ¡Por Vida! to help encourage students choose healthier options for meals both on and off campus.

“¡Por Vida! is a super exciting program that is based out of the city of San Antonio. It’s actually a city-wide dining program, they just happen to partner with a lot of campus dining options as well. ¡Por Vida! makes healthy meal choices easier for people. Say you want something healthy, but you’re overwhelmed by the number of choices on the menu. The idea with ¡Por Vida! is to look at the menu and then you know that’s a healthy choice for you,” Hewitt said.

Sara Calvo, junior mathematical finance major, does not think the problem is not knowing what the healthy options are.

“I feel like they’re just going to put the logo on everything at Freshii, then have one or two items at Taco Taco and Einstein’s and then call it a day. I know a veggie bowl is healthier than a taco. That’s not the issue,” Calvo said.

¡Por Vida! items will include both items currently offered and healthier variations of current items in the future.

“It’s typically low in saturated fat, low in sodium, low in sugars, there’s no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. A nutritionist will act as a consultant with ¡Por Vida!, will work with our Aramark staff and will be able to identify which food items already qualify as a ¡Por Vida! item,” Hewitt said. “We already have food items that fit those standards, and we just need to label them as such. In other cases, there’s some food items that are really close to hitting that mark, and we just need a little bit of tweaking in the recipe. So the nutritionist will make recommendations on what we can slightly change to fit that criteria.”