University of New Hampshire Dining Services has entered into a partnership with the Guiding Stars nutritional ranking system that will give diners enhanced nutritional guidance when making meal selections. Currently in use in more than 2,500 grocery stores, the Guiding Stars system rates food using zero to three stars based on nutritional value according to the recommendations of the FDA and the USDA.
Foods high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and whole grains receive one to three stars for good, better, best nutritional content, with three stars denoting the best. Trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugar and sodium impact the ratings.
“All of our product identifiers that say things like ‘chicken cacciatore’ will have the Guiding Stars symbol,” says Jon Plodzik, director of dining. “People will know whether the food is high in fiber, a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron—it will help them make good choices. It’s so simple, we’re anxious to see how students react. We hope they’ll say ‘Hey, this is great.’ It’s not meant as a deterrent from choices that they might still want to make once in a while but we hope this will help people think more holistically.”