Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Feb. 13, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Louisville
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Karen Newton
[former] Director, Health Promotion Wellbeing Central
Campus Health Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Nutrition Navigators and the UofL SmartPlate

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

Nutrition Navigators (NN) is an innovative peer wellbeing coaching program at the University of Louisville. NN is coordinated by Health Promotion Wellbeing Central (HPWBC), in partnership with Sodexo Dining Services, Sustainability Council and Campus Health Services. The purpose of NN is to improve student health, enhance academic success and promote sustainability initiatives. NNs are student health advocates, trained by HPWBC and Sodexo professional staff to provide navigation services in food service venues on campus and also in individual Wellbeing Coaching sessions. The power of the model is simplicity: NN are coaching other students to adopt a new, easy way of thinking about their food choices that builds on these four key nutrition concepts.
1. Nutrient Density - focus on the quantity and variety of nutrients in a food portion, relative to energy content.
2. Caloric Density - consider the energy content (calories) relative to portion size.
3. Portion determination involves matching how much you eat to your personal health and body weight goals.
4. Local and sustainable - Choose food sourced locally and grown sustainably.

Nutrition Navigators are on duty in undergraduate primary dining venues at strategic times throughout the week. During these times, Nutrition Navigators educate their peers about the UofL SmartPlate and the four key concepts described above while assisting them to navigate the various food station options and pointing out the locally grown foods available on the menu that day. As a result, eaters accomplish building a personalized “Smart Plate.” A major strength of this approach is that students are provided nutrition guidance at the point of decision, when they’re likely to be hungry and prone to habituated choices. This approach activates their confidence and ability to apply the four key concepts to food choices in future food-choosing situations.

The Nutrition Navigators also aim to increase students’ nutrition I.Q. and raise nutrition awareness through the use of social media including Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Students are encouraged to post pictures of their plates to social media sites and receive feedback on how to improve their meal selection. This promotes students’ critical thinking about their own nutrition skills and health status plus how to improve the health of our environment by the way we eat.
The overall goal of the program is to improve support students’ wellbeing through nutrition education and real-life experiences that provides students with the necessary tools to efficiently navigate campus dining venues, thus building resilience and improving academic success. This larger goal is pursued through four primary objectives. 1. After meeting with a Nutrition Navigator, students will be able to decipher between nutrient dense and calorically dense foods. 2. Students will recognize and select portion sizes appropriate to their individual caloric needs. 3. Students will be able to assemble plates that resemble the “Smart Plate” with increasing skill level. 4. Students will report increased self-efficacy when it comes to navigating the dining hall and choosing nutrient dense meal options with local food options identified as exemplars.
Through building relationships with key partners, Nutrition Navigators are able to contribute to the sustainability of our campus community in an even more impactful way. In addition to guiding students in the dining halls, Nutrition Navigators contribute to sustainability initiatives on campus through participating in Garden Commons workshops, coordinating NN Cooking Schools (using recipes that call for local and sustainably-grown ingredients), Belknap Campus Farmers’ Markets, bike blender smoothie demonstrations, Weigh the Waste events, National Arbor Day, and more.
Nutrition Navigators plan to continue to expand and build relationships on campus to contribute to the sustainability of the earth and the people who inhabit it.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Below is an accounting of the number of students reached by these programs throughout 2015:
Nutrition Navigators in the Ville Grill: 1850
Other Nutrition Navigator Programs: 241
Cooking Workshops: 76
Special Events: 525
Total Reached in 2015: 2692


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
Yes or No
Curriculum No
Research No
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement No
Air & Climate No
Buildings No
Dining Services Yes
Energy No
Grounds No
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste No
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

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