RHEAL Deal blog brings healthy eating tips

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student nutrition assistants are available to help their peers take the guesswork out of healthy eating, thanks to a new blog: the RHEAL Deal.

RHEAL, short for Residential Healthy Eating and Living, is a program that identifies and promotes healthy items in the dining commons. RHEAL items are easy to identify by a carrot icon marked on the entrée cards of dishes that meet the healthy qualifications. RHEAL Deal is the official blog for Auxiliary and Business Services' registered dietitian’s office.

A team of registered dietitians and the student nutrition assistants maintain the blog with weekly posts highlighting a new RHEAL-certified food available in the dining commons that students wouldn’t normally think to try.

“My favorite aspect about writing blog posts is that I get to choose some of my own topics. It is so much more fun to write about topics that I am passionate about, so being able to choose topics that I think are really important right now is awesome,” said Ally Vinciguerra, a student nutrition assistant.

The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Table tents in the dining commons are also equipped with cardholders that provide an overview of the week’s featured food and a link to the blog post so students can read the mobile site as they’re eating.

“We’re using the blog as another means of educating students on eating healthy,” said Meghan Kronenwetter, a registered dietitian. “Whether it’s one student or a handful of students who see the post, I consider it a success.”

The blog also features posts on overall health and nutrition, pace changer meals — which are unique items not typically found on a dining commons menu, and seasonal foods or meals.

“As a student at Penn State, I like to think of what other students would find interesting and useful,” said Karrie Rice, student nutrition assistant. “We gather evidence-based research about a nutrition topic and try to compile it into a short post full of fun facts, helpful tips, recipes and more.”

The RHEAL Deal blog started at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, and the team behind it hopes to continue with posts that help students identify healthy options.

Registered Dietitian Melissa Hendricks says the blog is great for student nutrition assistants to apply what they’re learning in class and “take ownership for it.”

The RHEAL Deal can be found here.

Last Updated March 14, 2016