2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
The college atmosphere presents a struggle for many students to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. As a population in general, college students eat more foods high in calories, saturated fats and sugars than they did before coming to college. The goal of this study was (1.) to review if college diets are simply a reflection of the meal options available near campus and (2.) to provide an informative food selection guide for college students.
An in-depth search of the restaurants surrounding the University of Kentucky's campus was conducted to find the most nutritious and financially savvy meal at each locale. Seventeen restaurants surrounding the University of Kentucky's campus were evaluated in this search. Seven of the seventeen popular restaurants did not have any published nutritional information. Most restaurants with nutrition information posted this information at their website, and had it available in the establishment.
This study found that there are few nutrient-dense, low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat choices available. The healthiest meals available were evaluated, and among these, the average meal still contained over 500 calories and 22 grams of fat, with less than 6 grams of fiber (recommended daily intake-2,000 calories, 55 grams of fat, and 25 grams of fiber. This research offers support for the need for college-town restaurants to post nutrition information to allow college students the opportunity to make informed, healthy, selections to promote weight control and overall quality of life.