Concordia University Chicago recently gained a new school dietitian who is dedicated to helping students maintain a healthier lifestyle and relationship with food.
Sheree Ledwell, M.P.H., is a registered dietitian for Sodexo, the company that provides food in CUC dining facilities. In that role, Ledwell works with students to help them create a well-balanced diet while at school, and meets with the culinary teams on campus to ensure that the students have a variety of foods to choose from.
Ledwell works with the cafeteria staff to provide students with mindful food choices to meet the needs of all students. “As a dietitian, I try to emphasize the importance of having a healthy relationship with food,” said Ledwell. She also hosts events intended to give students awareness that she is a resource for those that may have questions about nutrition or want guidance.
Ledwell has been a dietitian since 2006 and has worked with CUC’s food management and services, Sodexo, for 10 years. She works at over forty campuses throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.
Students can set up a one-on-one meeting with Ledwell by appointment. “Since all visits are planned, I usually spend time with students we have already been working with to see how things are going, and to see if they need any additional support,” said Ledwell.
It’s important to Ledwell to support students along the way and help keep them on track. Students can book an appointment with her through her email: email@example.com.
Ledwell also communicates with the dining hall’s culinary team about students who have food allergies or dietary restrictions, to make sure their nutritional needs are met.
“Our goal is to provide variety and show that there is a place for all food,” said Ledwell.
CUC’s cooks recently provided students with a plant-based takeover at the grill on March 15, with new vegan and vegetarian selections. “Sodexo has a complete brand of mindful food options that are offered daily to students,” said Ledwell.
“I think a dietitian can be very helpful for athletes and even students who are struggling to feel confident,” said freshman Kamila Giza, a member of the women’s tennis team. “It can help during off-season to start eating healthy and fit while you’re training.”
Ledwell and her team also coordinate events that educate students on how to properly fuel their bodies, educate them about the benefits of certain foods, and teach them how to expand their food palates. These events also include activities that will teach how to maintain healthy food choices beyond college.
“I think that having someone to guide a better diet would help students physically and mentally,” said freshman Karina Carmona. Ledwell helps students with not just their physical health, but their decisions and relationships with food. “It would encourage them to want to take better care of themselves,” said Carmona.
Ledwell was most recently on campus during the Farmers Market on Thursday, April 21, and she anticipates more campus visits and virtual events next school year.
“If there were only three tips to give to college students, they would be to remember that there is a place for all foods and food should be enjoyed, establish regular eating patterns and do not skip meals, and always have breakfast or a true first meal of the day,” said Ledwell.