Nutrition FAQ

Have questions about nutrition? We've provided the frequently asked questions below.
In this Section

Looking for answers to your nutrition questions? Look no further! Our Nutrition FAQ page has an assortment of answers to common nutrition-related questions conveniently organized into categories. 


General Nutrition FAQ

I want to improve my health or nutrition. Are there resource

University Dining employs a full-time dietitian to meet with students. Schedule a meeting with the dietitian at 715.232.3599, via email at, or ask a nutrition question by Contacting the Dietitian.

University Dining wants to help you accomplish the health goals you set for yourself. We encourage individuals to focus on developing a balanced eating plan and improving your health now and for the future. We also encourage students to work with our Registered Dietitian and your health care provider (Health Services are available on campus) to ensure you can meet your goals.

You can also find nutrition information for our menu items on our online menu database. The menu database can calculate calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and vitamins listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel. You can find the link for the nutrition information on our Online Menu.

University Dining has a wide variety of choices available in all operations. University Dining provides detailed nutritional analysis of items online or on the labels of house made pre-packaged items.  In addition to providing helpful, evidence based resources, University Dining also offers many items that may assist you in achieving your balanced health goals.
A few examples:

  • Extensive salad bars in our cafeterias
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Several fruit options per meal
  • Whole grain breads and tortillas
  • Low fat/fat free dairy options and dairy alternatives
  • Salt and sugar alternatives
  • 100% orange, apple, and cranberry juices
  • Lean protein sources, including lean meats, beans, legumes, and nut butters
  • Trans fat free frying oils
  • Balanced snack options in our retail areas
I have a chronic medical condition. Are there services that

In addition to Health Services, our Registered Dietitian is available to meet with students who have chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. The Registered Dietitian can provide you with additional nutrition information and education to help you manage your chronic medical condition while attending UW-Stout. The Registered Dietitian can be reached at 715.232.3599, or to set up an appointment.

What other tips can you give me about improving my health th

Our Registered Dietitian recommends using nutrition information from credible sources that are evidence based.

  • Avoid “fad” diets that require you to restrict or eliminate certain food groups or categories of foods for a brief period of time.  Change your thoughts about what a “diet” is.  A “diet” is not something that you do for a short period of time and then revert to your old habits. Your diet is all the food that you eat on a regular basis. 
  • Instead, focus on making lifestyle changes that can benefit your health now and in the future.  Instead of thinking about your diet, think about the foods you eat as your eating plan.  Improve the quality of your eating plan by setting achievable goals and making small daily changes. 
  • Focus on nutrient rich foods instead of labeling foods as “good” and “bad”.  Some foods provide more nutrients than others.  These foods are more nutrient rich or nutrient dense. Examples of nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin D, and minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Choose foods that are more nutrient dense more often.  Choose foods that are less nutrient dense (foods with high calories/fat or sodium content and low nutrient content) less often.  All foods can fit into a healthy eating plan with the right amount of balance.
Where can I find reliable sources of nutrition information?
  • Deciding if nutrition information is credible can be a challenge today because of the vast sources on the internet.  If you’re unable to schedule a meeting with the Registered Dietitian, you can also find nutrition information at the following website:
  • If you find a resource that you would like more clarity or input about, please email or call the Registered Dietitian.  The Dietitian is here to help you achieve your health goals. The Registered Dietitian can be reached at 715.232.3599, or 

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice from your healthcare professional.  Check with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, nutritional supplement, or exercise program.  In addition, while all efforts have been made to ensure correct information is presented in this material, new research is frequently released and may invalidate certain pieces of data.

Food Allergy and Intolerance

Answers to commonly asked food allergy and intolerance questions as well as dietary needs frequently asked questions. 

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is an auto-immune response to a protein in a food.  A food allergy occurs when the body believes a food that you have consumed is harmful.  The body responds by releasing several chemicals in an attempt to protect your body from the perceived harmful food.  The chemicals that are released can impact the respiratory system (shortness of breath, wheezing), digestive tract (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), skin (hives, rash, or swelling of the hands, mouth, or face), or cardiovascular system (weakened pulse, dizziness).

There are 9 major allergens that make up approximately 90% of food allergies.  These are wheat, eggs, milk, soy, crustacean shellfish, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, and sesame. There are more than 160 foods that have been known to cause food allergens.  Food allergies can be confirmed through testing with a physician.



What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is the body’s way of reacting to the proteins found in the allergy-causing food.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can involve the skin (hives, eczema, swelling of hands, face), nose (congestion or runny nose, sneezing), mouth (swelling or tingling of tongue or throat, dry cough, taste changes, problems swallowing, turning blue) or gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping), and difficulty breathing or chest pain.  An episode of anaphylaxis can be a serious problem that may need immediate medical attention.  This may include the use of an epinephrine auto-injector or calling 9-1-1 to get emergency medical treatment.  

What is a Food Intolerance?

A food intolerance is a physical reaction to a food.  It happens when something in the food irritates the digestive system or when a person is unable to digest the offending food.  It does not include an immune response from the body.

Common symptoms of a food intolerance include nausea, gas, abdominal cramps, bloating, heartburn, headaches, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Common food intolerances include lactose or gluten intolerance. Allergy testing cannot determine food intolerances. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, seek the advice of your physician to determine if you have an intolerance or other medical concerns.  

Vegan and Vegetarian Diet FAQ

What food options are available to me through Dining if I fo

Vegan and vegetarian items are denoted on our menu boards in the dining areas. The information can also be found in our online menu database. The database has the capability to filter items that are vegan or vegetarian. View our Online Menu

Dining offers an extensive salad bar, several types of fruits, dairy-free milk, cheese, margarine, and hot vegetables without added butter daily in the cafeterias.

Protein alternatives include black bean burgers, garden burgers, fishless fish, and chick’n, nuts, seeds, and legumes available at lunch and dinner. Additionally, there are several vegetarian and vegan entrees available throughout our cycle menus.

How do I determine the ingredients of the foods I want to ea

The Dining online menu database lists the ingredients of our menu items so that students who would like to follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can determine the ingredients of the foods they choose to consume. See the link in the previous question to begin analyzing your selected foods.

What if I have a suggestion or recommendation for a vegetari

We welcome and encourage suggestions for additional vegetarian and vegan options. 

If you have a suggestion or comment about our vegetarian and vegan options, let us know by completing our Feedback Form

You’re also welcome to schedule an appointment with the UDS Registered Dietitian, available at 715.232.3599 or via email at

Are there any nutrients that I should be concerned about if

Individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet still need to ensure they are meeting their daily nutrient requirements.  Nutrients to focus on include complete proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and iodine. 

  • Vitamin B12—Vitamin B12 is generally only found in animal sources, but plays a major role in metabolism, red blood cell formation, DNA creation, and central nervous system functioning.  B12 can be found in dairy foods and eggs, nutritional yeasts, fortified cereals, and meat alternatives.  Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • Iron—Iron is considered an essential mineral and is very important in oxygen transportation for body tissues and cell growth.  Nonheme iron is found in plant foods like beans and lentils.  Due to concerns about the absorptive capacity of nonheme iron, avoid consuming tea, coffee, and cocoa with foods that have iron. 
  • Vitamin D—Vitamin D is a key component of bone health, immunity, and nerve & muscle function.  Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight exposure, mushrooms grown in light, and fortified dairy products or plant-based milks, egg yolks, and fortified orange juice.
  • Calcium—Calcium is important for bone health, as well as your vascular health, and muscle & nerve function. Calcium can be found in dairy products, as well as calcium-fortified foods and beverages, tofu made with calcium sulfate, and leafy greens (spinach and Swiss chard may have poor absorption due to oxalate content).
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids—Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are involved in your cardiovascular health and eye/brain development, as well as cognitive and mental health. Eggs, flaxseeds, walnuts, and soy can help keep EPA and DHA levels normalized. Marine algae supplements can also be used to maintain normal levels.   
  • Protein-Protein is essential to maintain your muscle and bone mass and plays a role in your immune system.  Legumes, soy (like tofu), whole grains, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables are good sources of protein.  A diet rich in variety can help you consume adequate amounts of protein daily. 

If you feel that your diet is lacking certain nutrients, nutrition supplements may be beneficial.  Speak with your medical provider to determine if supplements would benefit your nutritional status. 

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice from your healthcare professional.  Check with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, nutritional supplement, or exercise program.  In addition, while all efforts have been made to ensure correct information is presented in this material, new research is frequently released and may invalidate certain pieces of data.