Chocolate milk is the power drink of choice for Kim Croteau, the nutrition counselor at GW’s Lerner Health and Wellness Center.
“I have this thing for bone density,” said Croteau, referring to the reason she said she always talks about calcium.
Croteau, 24, is currently getting her master’s degree in exercise science at GW with a focus on eating behavior. A graduate from Rutgers’ University with a bachelor’s in nutrition, Croteau said she has been interested in the science of food since before she even went away to college.
“I don’t know; it hit me. I was an athlete in high school and I just became very interested in how food affected my performance,” she said.
As part of her GW graduate program, Croteau was awarded an assistantship, which allows her to work in the Health and Wellness Center as GW’s nutritionist and on the gym’s floor as one of the personal trainers. As part of her program, Crocteau’s tuition is waved and she also receives an hourly wage for her work.
Croteau’s services are offered to anyone in the GW community, including students, faculty and staff. She said that most of the time, half of her clients are freshmen.
The fact that so many freshmen seek nutrition counseling is not surprising, Croteau said, because it is usually their first time taking care of themselves away from home.
Clients can sign up for one, three or six sessions at a time, and the first half hour is always free. Some of the things Croteau goes over with her clients during the hour-long sessions include analyzing a three-day diary of what they eat, grocery shopping tips and pointers on how to eat healthy on campus.
Although Croteau wouldn’t say which campus food vendors provide the least healthy meals, she said that the lack of a campus dining hall does not necessarily mean it’s more difficult to find nutritious food options on GWorld.
“In some ways it could be a good thing depending on the choices you make,” she said.
According to Croteau, any place where you can pick the items in your meal, like PitaPit, is a good option.
“In this (type of) atmosphere, we have a lot of options to put vegetables in (our) meals,” she said.
Students pay $45 for one hour-long session, $122 for three sessions and $230 for six sessions. Faculty and staff prices are about 10 percent higher.
“It’s definitely cheaper,” said Croteau of her rates compared to other nutrition services off campus. “Normally in a health club or something it’s much pricier than that.”
Sophomore Sarah Clancy said that last year when she took classes in the Health and Wellness Center, her instructors would promote the nutrition counseling.
“Nutrition is an important piece (of personal health), but it’s not the whole piece,” said Croteau, who added that her clients probably hear about her counseling services from the personal trainers or by seeing one of the flyers in the gym.
Croteau said that her nutrition clients often overlap with her personal training clients.
“I’ve turned a bunch of people to personal training after the nutrition,” she said.
Sophomore Bess Austin said that she is very familiar with the gym but did not know about a nutrition counselor. Austin, a member of the GW crew team said that she was not surprised to hear about the GW nutritionist.
She said, “I think that part of a healthy lifestyle is exercising and eating well.”