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When it comes to really knowing how to stay healthy on campus, SMU dietitian Courtney De La Rosa is the queen. Her office in Umphrey-Lee is where she works day to day providing nutrition counseling. De La Rosa also works with the Dining Staff in menu planning, nutrition education and meal analysis. In a college environment where it can be so hard to stay healthy, she keeps us all going with healthy meals tailored to try to fit the needs of thousands of SMU students and staff.
De La Rosa’s official titles are MCN, RD, and LD- which means Maternal and Child Nutrition, Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M, and her Masters of Clinical Nutrition from UT Southwestern Medical Center. She worked at UT Southwestern Medical Center as a Clinical Dietitian. Lucky for us, last March she came to SMU and is now our dietitian!
A typical day for De La Rosa is full of consultations with students and staff about nutrition. She makes sure that any nutrition information on the meal slides are correct- if it says gluten free, she makes sure that is the truth! The hardest part? Making sure she keeps up to date with all the new nutritional research! Her job is so much more than making sure that anyone one who wants pizza can get it, it is also consulting tons of people on health and diet day in and day out. Somehow, with De La Rosa’s help, Umph, Arnold and Mac’s Place all cater to the cravings of hundreds of hangry students. We can all whine about the wait in the sandwich line or on Sunday’s at Mac’s, but let’s be honest, SMU really is one of the best colleges for food in America.
“I very much enjoy my time spent counseling one-on-one with SMU Clients. I enjoy helping people identify how to make healthy dietary changes that will help them maintain a healthy body.” De La Rosa says.
A healthy diet, according to De La Rosa, has “a healthy balance,” meaning that you are able to hit all of the important food groups in every meal. This doesn’t mean that you never get to eat the fun foods, but that you give your body the nutrients it needs to carry on through the day. She recommends using MyPlate to figure out exactly what you need. To truly tailor a nourishing meal plan to your body, she says to consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Email her at [email protected] to get started!
Couresy of USDA Choose My Plate
De La Rosa encourages using CampusDish, the dining hall app, for people who are looking to eat healthier on campus. She also helps with students who have eating disorders, in helping to maintain a healthy perspective on food and getting back to a safe way of eating. For anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder, no matter how severe, she says to reach out to her or the health center as soon as possible.
“If someone is looking for assistance in eating healthy while dining on campus, I recommend that they schedule an appointment with me so that we can walk through healthy options together, in a way that is specific to their own needs,” De La Rosa says. “Eating disorders and disordered eating patterns are very individualized. If you or a loved one is struggling with disordered eating, I strongly encourage reaching out to a professional who can address the struggle (providing care and treatment) in a personal, individualized way.”
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Apparently, people regularly have the complete wrong idea about nutrition. When discussing it, De La Rosa mentioned that most people think carbohydrates are bad, when actually they are necessary for your body. This is part of what she does at SMU- the meal samples they have up at the front of dining halls are designed to fit that balanced meal plate. You don’t need to give up fries forever or quit eating what makes you happy, but instead pair exercise and good diet choices. It is all about balance. De La Rosa once used the analogy of putting gas in a car- you can’t drive a car without any fuel. You have to keep filling the tank with the best options because your body is like a machine.
As for De La Rosa, her favorite food? Watermelon!