There is no such thing as a typical day for Jocelyn (Jocie) Antonelli, nutrition and safety manager for Notre Dame Food Services.
A registered dietitian, Antonelli is responsible for nutritional programming for student dining as well as across campus. Additionally, she monitors food safety in all Food Services units, making sure federal and state food code guidelines are met.
Much of Antonelli’s time is taken up with education and counseling. She conducts campus workshops and lectures, and hosts a booth at the Irish Health Fair. Staffers at the Notre Dame Wellness Center frequently refer patients to her for help on issues such as weight loss, diabetes and cholesterol management. Students also initiate their own counseling sessions with Antonelli after seeing her name on posters placed in the dining halls.
The biggest dietary deficiency across the board is vegetables. “Vegetables are the most important food group, and everyone should have five to seven servings a day,” says Antonelli. Most vegetables, she notes, except starchy vegetables such as potatoes, have 25 calories per serving. “From a health and weight standpoint, there is nothing better.”
Another important part of her job is dietary management for students with food allergies and medical conditions, some of which are life-threatening.
“No parent has ever turned down Notre Dame based on their child’s dietary restrictions. In fact, they are actually swayed to come here,” says Antonelli. “I do everything reasonable to accommodate the students. It’s is very important that they can sit down and break bread with their friends.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the hugs and tears I get from parents when they learn their child’s dietary restrictions or medical issues will be addressed and taken care of at Notre Dame.”
Antonelli is also involved in meal planning for annual summer camp participants, some of whom require specialty meals, and works with Catering by Design when there are special requests from off-campus guests attending catered campus functions.
In addition, she serves as clinical dietitian for Holy Cross House, meeting with doctors and nurses as well as the residents once a week.
Last month, Notre Dame was invited to participate in a signature event at the UMass Amherst Dining Services’ Visiting College Chef Series, based on its ranking of 12th in the Princeton Review’s “Best Campus Food” category.
The University was represented by Antonelli, Executive Chef Don Miller and Production Manager Giuseppe Macerata.
“It was an honor to be featured as one of the great campus dining facilities from around the country,” says Antonelli.