As City Council approved a bill banning the sale of food containing trans fats last month, Temple Dining Services also announced that it will now provide trans-fat-free baked goods. Sodexho, the unversity’s food service provider, banned the use of oils containing trans fats last year.
Dave Okapal, head pastry chef at Johnson and Hardwick Cafeteria, said the transition will not only make the food healthier, but it will also make it taste better.
Okapal switched from Crisco cooking oil to fully hydrogenated palm oil and butter to rid food of trans fats.
Julie Rhule, registered dietitian for Temple Dining Services, said she approves of the move to more natural oils because trans fats elevate low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol. Elevation of this type of cholesterol
has been linked to heart disease.
She advises students to look for healthier oils or use a margarine product that doesn’t contain any trans fat.
But Eugene Walters, marketing director for Sodexho Campus Services at Temple, does not think that many students have noticed the change.
“People are focused on the fast food items like french fries and hamburgers. We have them because people eat them. If people didn’t eat them we wouldn’t have them,” Walters said.
Some students are still skeptical about how healthy the food is.
Molly Jackson, a sophomore dance major, said going trans-fat-free makes the food a little healthier but doesn’t change its greasy consistency.
“I think a lot of it is pretty horrible for you, so I mainly stick to salads,” Jackson said. Freshman English major Sean Moffitt agreed, adding that he thinks the food is “not good for you unless you stick to salads and grilled cheese.”
Rhule, who promotes nutrition awareness through one-on-one counseling sessions with students, said the food served at Temple is healthy. She eats here on a regular basis.
“I always have fruits and vegetables. At every meal I try to envision the food pyramid,” Rhule said.
But she said she has also noticed that students are not making the best food choices or exercising portion control.
“Unfortunately when the semester gets rolling, students get busy and grab the fast food,” Rhule said.To help students make healthy choices, Rhule created the “rate your plate” program where she is available every Thursday to provide students with nutritional information about their meal choices. David Kovalsky, a senior chemistry major, said he believes
students can still be healthy while eating on campus.
“Some of the stuff is bad, but some of it is healthy. There are so many choices,” Kovalsky said.
Freshman accounting major Marc Spiker said he feels the food options provided in the dining hall have too much starch, which contributed to the weight he gained during his first year. Making the right choice is essential to good health, Rhule said, adding that eating as few as a 100 extra calories each day can add up to 10 pounds in a year.
This month Rhule will host a series of lectures on good nutrition and sponsor a health fair with the slogan of 100 percent fat-free diets in recognition of National Nutrition Month.
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.