Montana State University

University Food Services

  • Nutrition & Special Dietary Needs

    Miller, Harrison, and Hannon Dining Halls offer a variety of nutritionally balanced options during every meal served. Healthy choice and vegetarian options are always available!

Montana State University > University Food Services > Nutrition & Special Dietary Needs

Nutrition & Special Dietary Needs

Jill Abbott-Stoltzfus, M.S., R.D., Nutritionist
Residence Life & University Food Service
Hedges Complex

University Food Service has an on-staff nutritionist that provides the following FREE services:

  • Nutritional counseling and education for any dietary or nutrition issue including vegan and vegetarian diets, to help navigate your way through University Food Service dining halls and in making dietary choices while living on campus (anyone with a food allergy or intolerance or other special dietary need may receive accommodation by special food preparation, and food purchases, they must first meet with the nutritionist as well as the food service manager in order to set up these accomodations)
  • Weekly table tents on timely nutrition topics displayed on tables in all three dining halls
  • Nutrition facts and food allergens identified for all items served. These can be found on the UFS website and are identified at point of service
  • Healthy eating tips posted on UFS website
  • Nutrition presentations (for example, “How to Eat Healthy in the Food Service”) in residence halls as requested

Eating Healthy in the Residential Dining Halls

  • Read the menus before entering the dining hall, so you plan ahead for what you will eat, and are less likely to grab too much or unhealthy choices spontaneously:; menu line: 994-MENU (6368).
  • Read the nutrition facts for chosen menu items online: or at the nutrition kiosks conveniently located in each dining hall to help you make overall balanced healthy choices.
  • Eat breakfast to keep your metabolism revved up for the day and prevent overeating later in the day.
  • Learn what a “normal” portion is and stick to that serving size.
  • Eat only one entrée per meal.
  • Learn how much you can comfortably eat, so you don’t take too much, skipping dessert if already satisfied.
  • Avoid lots of rich foods in the same meal or day, such as fried foods, fatty meats (burger, sausage or pepperoni, for example), gravy, cream soups or sauces, cheese, butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, salad dressings, cream cheese and desserts.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of highly sweetened soft drinks, sports and energy drinks and fruit juice blends. These should be an occasional splurge. Choose water, low fat milk and 100% fruit juice.
  • Follow guidelines from the MyPlate recommendations, emphasizing a variety of fruits and vegetables, half of your grains as whole, and a small serving each of protein and dairy foods.
  • Choose at least one daily salad from the salad bar, loading up on green leafy and raw vegetables, beans, mandarin oranges, raisins, sunflower seeds and nuts and with just one ladle of salad dressing or even a small spoonful of cottage cheese as a dressing.

View current meal offerings in Miller, Harrison, and Hannon Dining Halls while reviewing the nutritional content of each item! Start

Avoiding the Freshman 15

Although most college freshmen only gain an average of 2-5 pounds, this may be more than desired. The additional following tips may help avoid any freshman weight gain:

  • Avoid night-time snacking, especially on high calorie, high fat and high sugar foods such as pizza, ice cream, chips and other packaged snack foods.  For those times when you’re really hungry and not just bored, then stock your room shelves and fridge with healthy items such as fresh fruit, canned fruits in their own juice, dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, raw baby carrots, popsicles, yogurt, whole grain breads, rolls, bagels, crackers and cereals, lean deli meats, string cheese, tea and hot chocolate and flavored coffees for a moderate calorie sweet splurge.
  • Enjoy the variety of foods offered, but remember there will always be more than you can eat. Make high calorie deep fried foods and highly sweetened drinks an occasional choice, if desired, but not a routine choice.
  • Avoid restrictive dieting.  Deprivation may lead to overeating or eating disorders.
  • Keep active.  If you’re coming off an active youth of sports participation or wanting to learn something new: take a class or join an intramural team with the Fitness Center at the Rec Sports Office, join one of many community sports teams, or get out and enjoy the abundant outdoor seasonal activities in the area
  • Get adequate sleep. Fatigue can lead to unnecessary eating.

Fitting Fitness In

Finding time to be physically active can be difficult for college students. If you make it a priority,  you may be successful in keeping yourself fit. Try the following tips to help:

  • Schedule it! Add it to your daily appointment calendar.
  • Pick the time of day that is best for you – the time you have the most energy or feel the greatest need for an activity release. Do you move better in the morning, afternoon or evening?
  • Do something you really enjoy and that makes you feel good.
  • Find a partner, take a class or join a team and/or set a goal, if you are motivated by the support of others.
  • Keep a training log.
  • Every step counts: add up your movement and it may be significant for the day. Walking or biking instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, manual chores such as sweeping and vacuuming (help shovel your walks in the winter and rake and mow in the spring, summer and fall when visiting home). Speed up the intensity and it can count even more (for example, walking briskly to class).
  • Plan inexpensive fun physically active outings with friends and dates, such as dancing, swimming, walking, hiking, biking, tennis, rollerblading, ice skating, or even playing in the park, which all add up to physical fitness.

Food Allergies? Ask Before You Eat!

The eight most common food allergens as identified by the FDA labeling law that account for 90% of all reported food allergies are: egg, milk, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.

Food Allergy Warning:

Montana State University Food Services makes every attempt to identify the eight most common allergens in food items served in the residence dining halls. The residence hall kitchens, and the Fat Cat Bakery and Skinny Kitty Salads, however, are NOT allergen or gluten free.  Every effort is made to safely prepare and serve foods, including those items with peanuts and tree nuts, but there is always a risk of cross contamination of allergens or gluten.  

Additionally, ingredients and nutritional content may vary. Manufacturers may change their product formulation or consistency without our knowledge.   While we make every effort to identify nutrition data and allergen information, we cannot assure against these contingencies. Additionally, product availability may fluctuate. Be sure to check the serving line for the posting of any ingredient or recipe changes.

It is the responsibility of the customer with food allergies or sensitivities to make the final judgment on whether or not to question the ingredients of a food item or to choose to eat the food item.

Please contact a food service manager and Nutritionist if you have any food allergies or sensitivities.

Protocol for Students with Food Allergies:

  • Notify and meet with Nutritionist providing medical documentation of allergies and/or sensitivities
  • Develop a plan to meet nutritional and safe food needs
  • Notify Dining Hall Manager of food allergies and sensitivities and meet to plan any special food purchases or preparation needed
  • Be able to recognize symptoms of allergic reaction and how and when to inform someone of a reaction
  • Carry on their person any medication to treat a food allergy reaction with knowledge of the proper use of medications
  • Knowledge of hidden allergens and how to avoid unsafe foods
  • Inform Student Health Services of any allergens, sensitivities or intolerances

Nutrition Links:

Montana State University Student Health Services, Nutritionist:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
USDA Choose My Plate:
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network: