Lehigh’s registered dietitian is using the freedom of the position to expand Lehigh Dining’s efforts to educate students on the importance of nutrition and widen dining options on campus.
Keri Lasky, who joined the Lehigh Dining team in March 2022, said she has big goals for the program.
“I saw a lot of really great opportunities here for growth,” Lasky said. “In my interview here there was a lot of support for creative minds in terms of building the program, which I really liked.”
Lasky says one of her biggest goals for developing the program at Lehigh is to establish distinctive nutrition branding across campus to “Nourish Your Potential,” the tagline for her expansion efforts.
According to the Lehigh Dining Website, the “Nourish Your Potential” program is Lehigh Dining’s commitment to student health and wellness.
Lasky initiated and developed the seven dimensions of nutritional wellness for students and staff at Lehigh. These include basic nutrition skills, special dietary needs, healthy cooking, better body composition, brain and energy boost, stress management and active needs.
Lasky earned her bachelor’s degree at Cedar Crest College and her master’s degree at St. Elizabeth University. After graduation, she moved on to work in a local hospital and for a grocery store chain as a registered dietitian before coming to Lehigh.
Lasky said one of her most popular events is “Foodie Fridays,” a sampling and nutrition education event on the last Friday of every month, excluding November and December of this year. The goal of Foodie Friday is to give Lehigh students the opportunity to sample possible incoming snacks and food options in places such as Upper Cort and Market X.
“We have so many options (on campus) that things get confusing,” Lasky said. “This is taking the time out to really highlight a couple of our products that we offer … it helps students to find out what’s available.”
Lasky said she gave out 90 samples at the first event, and she expects the turnout to grow as the year progresses.
She said she considers herself both creative and intellectual, and her scientific background allows her to be successful in the role.
“I wear multiple hats,” Lasky said. “It’s management, it’s creating social media, it’s counseling, it’s operations. So, there are a lot of different hats that I wear, and switching off between them can be exhausting.”
Lasky offers nutrition counseling appointments at the Health and Wellness Center on Wednesdays and in Taylor Gym on Fridays.
Julia McDougall, ‘25, a member of the women’s rowing team, has Celiac Disease and met with Lasky last spring. McDougall said Lasky helped her find alternative options in the dining halls since her diet is gluten-free and vegetarian.
McDougall said she appreciates Lasky’s work and hopes that nutrition education becomes more prevalent in athletic programs.
“It’s really helpful to have her as a resource to go to, whether you have dietary restrictions or not,” McDougall said. “Just making sure you’re eating balanced foods and getting what your body needs is really helpful.”
Maria Urban, ‘25, a member of the women’s softball team, said Lasky’s being on campus will be beneficial to students.
Urban said having Lasky available within the athletic department for counseling will be helpful for athletes who struggle with nutrition.
“Sometimes it can be super hard to figure out the right balance of what you should be eating,” Urban said. “So I think there’s definitely room for improvement for sure.”
Lasky urges students to keep an eye out on Lehigh Dining’s social media and website for educational presentations and events that are coming up this academic year.
“I’m here as a support,” Lasky said. “If you need me, my doors are open.”