Those who are discerning about what they consume have several options to assist their selections, including a series of Mindful Eating and Nutrition workshops, on March 7, 21, and 28, each at 12:15 p.m. in the King-Scales dining room. “You Are How you EAT” invites all students who care about food to remove to a quiet room for a guided session of meditative munching—led by Hayat Abuza, interfaith program coordinator, and Ryumon Baldoquin, Zen priest and teacher.

Meanwhile, Lily Samuels ’11 writes about another way to practice mindful eating.

nutritionalinfoindexWant to know the fat content of the bean spread and pesto wrap at Chapin? What about the amount of sodium in the pickle spears at Lamont?

All that information and more is now just a click away, through a new online Nutritional Information feature on the Smith dining services Web site.

Menus at each dining hall are broken down by item, and students—or anyone dining at Smith—can access calorie content and other nutritional values. Through the feature, diners can create meal plans, filter searches for food allergies, and even select preferences such as “vegan” and “vegetarian.”

The Nutritional Information feature is designed to cater to two needs: food allergy control and informed consumption, explained Kathy Zieja, director of dining services.

“Through an explanation of ingredients in our recipes, we would like to address the eight most common allergens in food: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish,” she said. “Plus, students are good consumers, and many of them want to eat healthily. For these students, the nutrition information can be used as a guide to understand the calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, and key vitamins/minerals that may be in a product.”

The feature is intended to give students more control over their eating habits— whatever they may be—and not to advocate dieting, said Zieja. “Our intention is not to have it be used for dieting purposes but to seek balance in what students are eating.”

In the works since last year, the Nutritional Information feature is a response to students who have voiced a desire for the ability to make more informed choices about their daily dining. “It’s a feature that we have wanted to offer for a while,” noted Zieja. “Students on our Dining Committee have requested this information over the past few years. So we set a goal and secured funding.”

New App for Smith Dining

Students will soon be able to view dining menus on-the-go. In a collaboration among personnel in college relations, dining services and ITS, an iPhone application for Smith dining menus has been created and will soon be released internally for beta testing. Bill Weakley, an apps developer in ITS and the cining app’s creator, predicts that it will be officially available in the app store by mid-March. For now, the app only includes the menus at each dining hall, but Weakley hopes to see the Nutritional Information feature added sometime in the near future.