Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tips to Consider as you Study for Finals

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | 12:09 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , No comments

Keep in mind that during finals, it is so very important to get enough sleep, fit in some form of physical activity, and make healthy food choices most of the time.

Many people find that when they are stressed they eat more than planned. Well there might be a reason for that- based on a study from the University of Michigan- when levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) increase, people tend to eat more snack foods (specifically carbohydrate based foods).

Something to consider: A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which can help you to be more efficient and can actually result in you completing your work in less time.

Take breaks when you think you need them
Too much stress can disrupt your efforts of being organized. Take a break when you think you need one! Even if it is taking a 10-minute walk or making a quick phone call to a friend.

Avoid too much caffeine
Caffeine may give you a quick boost- but don’t overdo it! If you drink too many caffeinated beverages it may increase dehydration as these beverages may end up taking the place of water or other hydrating beverages.  Avoid caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon as this could disrupt your sleep at night.

Eat small frequent meals throughout the day
Avoid long stretches between meals and snacks. If you go longer than 4 hours without eating you will begin to feel fatigued, which may result in decreased concentration.

Pre-plan meals and snacks
When you plan ahead it can help you cut down on making impulsive less healthy choices.

Limit consumption of high-fat and high sugar snacks
These foods can zap your energy level. It is important to keep your energy level up by choosing healthy snacks as often as possible.

High-energy snack options
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Apple or banana with peanut butter
  • Low-fat yogurt with fruit or whole grain crackers
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Low-fat pudding
  • Vegetable soup
  • A handful of trail mix 
  • A handful of nuts
  • A bowl of cereal
  • Oatmeal made with milk
  • A piece of fruit and a cheese stick
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole
  1. Stress Management: Stress Basics. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  2. Learn to Manage Stress.  Accessed April 18, 2017
  3. Emotional vs. Mindful Eating. Accessed April 17, 2017.
  4. Cortisol: The Stress Hormone. Accessed April 17, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Limiting Your Sugar Intake

Monday, April 10, 2017 | 10:00 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , No comments

Choosing beverages that contain lots of added sugar are not the best choice! Sugar-sweetened beverages contain a lot of extra calories and almost no nutrients. If you are consuming high-sugar drinks (e.g. soda, juice, etc.) regularly, over time it can lead to weight gain, which in turn will increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease as well as other medical issues.

As of now, there are no federal guidelines regarding the amount of sugar you should consume. However, the American Heart Association recommends that we consume less sugar- no more than 6 teaspoons (tsp.) or 100 calories a day of sugar for most women and no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for most men.

There is no nutritional need or benefit that comes from sugar that is added to beverages. Something to consider: a can of regular soda contains about 9-10 tsp. of sugar and a 12 oz. bottle of apple or cranberry juice contains about 10-11 tsp. of sugar, which provides about 150 calories (~40 gm. of sugar). Something to keep in mind is that you do not need to cut out all sugar, but limiting your intake is the key.
  • Try to limit your intake of flavored coffee. The calories from sugar added to these beverages will add up quickly.
  • Read food labels. Sometimes a bottled beverage will contain more than one serving
  • Choose a diet or low-calorie beverage, but take in to consideration that these beverages contain artificial sweeteners
Choose water for hydration
  • Water does not contain nutrients or calories
  • If you don’t like plain water try adding a very small amount of juice for flavor or add fruit to infuse the water with flavor
Choose milk as a nutrient dense option.
  • Low-fat milk (skim milk, 1% low-fat milk)
  • Milk provides important nutrients: protein, calcium and vitamin D
  • Choose a low-fat version to supply fewer calories and less fat
  • Flavored milk will provide about 5-6 tsp. of added sugar (per 8 oz. serving)
Choose beverages (and foods) that contain natural sugars:
  • Low-fat milk (skim or 1%)
  • Fresh and/or frozen fruits
  • Fresh and/or frozen vegetables
Note: you do not need to count the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and milk toward your daily intake of added sugar!

For more information on this topic check out the resources (listed below) that were also used as references for this blog.
  1. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health Newsletter, Healthy Drinks. Accessed April 4, 2017.
  2. Sugar 101. Accessed April 5, 2017.
  3. Water: How much should you drink every day? Accessed April 4, 2017.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fun with Food

Thursday, April 6, 2017 | 10:00 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , No comments

with campus executive chef Tom Barton

Have you been to Xhibition Kitchen lately? Or have you ever been? Whenever I ask I am always amazed that there are many students who still do not know about the amazing Xhibition Kitchen, or "XK" as we like to call it. The XK is located at 11 Speare Place inside Stetson West Eatery and is a state of the art demonstration kitchen - which is currently in full swing!

We host many cookbook authors, and local and nationally acclaimed chefs. Sometimes our guests stop by because they are in the area and they have heard about what an amazing space it is. Inside the kitchen itself we can seat approximately 60 people with additional seating in the outside room. How cool is it to be watching a demonstration up close and personal to many of the areas most recognized chefs?

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to meet these chefs and authors as we prepare their mise en place (all their prep). I cannot even begin to tell you how many wonderful people I have been able to meet and not to mention the education I have received by seeing all of their demonstrations. Many cool tips and tricks.

I particularly enjoy the planning process of these event. It is very interesting to learn how each guest like their mise en place organized. Often times the planning process begins months in advance. Our marketing team is responsible for programming the space and then from there the entire team meets to discuss all of the details. I almost forgot to mention that we also prepare samples of what is being demonstrated so you can not only watch but taste as well! I am also lucky enough to conduct some demonstrations in the XK myself. No two events are the same so it is always fun to see what will be next. None of these events would be possible without the help and expertise of our Marketing team and team at Stetson Dining.

I encourage you all of you to stop by to catch an event or two before the end of the semester. We all really enjoy bringing these events to you and look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Eating Right on a Budget

Getting the most nutrition for your food budget starts with a little extra planning before you shop. There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. Here are some budget-friendly tips for eating right.

Plan what you’re going to eat
Before you head for the grocery store, plan your meals and snacks for the week. Review recipes for what ingredients are needed. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy extra items that are not on it.

Decide how much to make
Making a large batch by doubling a recipe will save time in the kitchen later on. Extra portions can be used for lunches or meals later in the week, or freeze leftovers in individual containers for future use. Plus, foods purchased in bulk are almost always cheaper.

Determine where to shop
Check the local newspaper, online and at the store for sales and coupons, especially when it comes to more expensive ingredients, such as meat and seafood. While at the store, compare prices of different brands and different sizes of the same brand to see which has a lower unit price. The unit price is usually located on the shelf directly below the product.

Shop for foods that are in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to get and may be a lot less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is also a great source of seasonal produce. Just remember that some fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last long. Buy small amounts at a time to avoid having to throw away spoiled produce.

Try canned or frozen produce
At certain times of the year, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables may be less expensive than fresh. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.

Focus on nutritious, low-cost foods
Certain foods tend to be less expensive, so you can make the most of your food dollars by finding recipes that use the following ingredients: beans, peas, and lentils; sweet or white potatoes; eggs; peanut butter; canned salmon, tuna or crabmeat; grains such as oats, brown rice, barley or quinoa; and frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.

Watch portion sizes
Eating too much of even lower cost foods and beverages can add up to extra dollars and calories. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses to help keep portions under control. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with whole grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. This is an easy way to eat a balanced meal while controlling portions and cost. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert.

Make your own healthy snacks
Convenience costs money, so many snacks, even healthy ones, usually cost more when sold individually. Make your own snacks by purchasing large tubs of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and dividing them into one-cup containers. For trail mix, combine nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or cereal; store small portions in airtight containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less compared to pre-packaged items.

Cook more, eat out less
Many foods prepared at home are cheaper and more nutritious. Also, convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant rice or oatmeal will cost you more than if you make them from scratch. Go back to basics and find a few simple and healthy recipes that your family enjoys.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Eating on the Move

The end of the semester is approaching.  Which means more time studying and the need for quick food options.  Here are some easy convenient meal and snack ideas to ensure you are continuing to eat healthy while you finish out the semester. Some of these can be made in your dorm room- so there is no need for a full kitchen.  All you need is a refrigerator and maybe a microwave! 

Meal and Snack Ideas

Grains: Great source of B vitamins, fiber and important minerals (iron, magnesium..)
  • Hot oatmeal – Microwave ½ c. oats, 2/3 c. water (or with milk to add protein, calcium and vitamin D) for 2 minutes. Top with granola and some blueberries or raisins. You can also add a scoop of Greek Yogurt for added protein. 
  • Overnight oats – Mix oats, milk, fruit, chia seeds and nut butter. Let sit overnight. Grab & go in the morning.
  • Whole grain bread – Make sandwiches with sliced turkey or tuna salad or toast (try topped with peanut butter & banana).
  • Whole grain wraps/pitas – Use these to make hummus & veggie wraps or burritos.
  • Whole grain cereal – Enjoy with milk for breakfast and snacks.
Protein: Important for muscle repair, immune function as well as increasing feelings of fullness during meals and snacks
  • Hummus – Flavored or plain- your choice! Enjoy with veggies, crackers, or add it to a sandwich.
  • Nut butter – Add them to a smoothie with yogurt and banana or you can add to crackers, toast, or for dipping with apples…
  • Tuna/chicken salad – Use low-sodium canned tuna or chicken packed in water. Mix in a small bowl with mashed avocado, hummus, or Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Add your favorite spices (try curry powder or cayenne pepper) and some chopped vegetables- onions and peppers, to bulk it up!
  • Deli meat/rotisserie chicken/pre-baked tofu – These are easy to add to wraps and sandwiches.
  • Scrambled eggs – In the microwave, cook for 2 minutes, stir, and cook another 2 minutes.
Veggies: Contain lots of great vitamins and minerals.  Choose a variety everyday to be sure you are getting all the important nutrients each day. The more colorful you meals and snacks the better!
  • Salad in a jar – Portion out enough lettuce/spinach/mixed greens, complete with chopped veggies and a protein source, for the week and store them in mason jars or Tupperware. Add the dressing to the bottom first to keep everything else from getting soggy (or on the side if you rather). When you’re ready to eat, just shake it up and dig in!
  • Microwave a potato or sweet potato – Poke the potato with a fork or knife all over, microwave for 5-6 minutes- top with shredded cheese, beans and veggies and turn it into a meal.
  • Raw veggies – Try dipping in hummus, guacamole or low-fat dressing!
Fruit: Great for taking on-the-go to class or in between classes.  Choose a variety each day!
  • Bananas – Buy in a variety of stages of ripeness to enjoy throughout the week.
  • Apples & oranges – These make easy grab & go snacks.
  • Berries – Top your oatmeal bowls with them or mix them into Greek yogurt for some natural sweetness.  Buy them frozen to add to smoothies
Dairy: Great source of vitamin D and calcium as well as protein.  
  • Milk – Choose dairy or non-dairy substitutes.
  • Greek yogurt – Enjoy with fruit & granola. 
  • Cheese – Put on top of salads and sandwiches or eat plain with crackers or veggies. Cheese sticks are a great grab and go food item.
Fats: Important  for absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
  • Salad Dressing – Make your own dressings with oil, vinegar, and spices to add flavor and healthy fats.
  • Nuts – These are full of protein and healthy fats! Enjoy a handful each day at snack time.
  • Avocado – This makes a great topping for salads and sandwiches. Also, mix it into smoothies for added creaminess.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget to carry snacks in your bag so you don’t go too long without eating during the day.  Small snacks during the day can help avoid overeating at a meals.
  • Nuts & seeds – Use these for added flavor, nutrition, and texture in granola bars and trail mix.
  • Flax seeds and chia seeds – Sprinkle these on oatmeal or yogurt for added omega 3’s and protein.
  • Store bought bars – KIND bars, Luna bars, Lara bars are some good options.
  • Homemade fruit & nut bars – Make your own at home!
Information gathered from Lindsay Livingston Accessed March 20, 2017.


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars (no bake)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth) or sun nut butter
  • 1 cup honey 
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats 
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips. craisins, or raisins
  1. Mix ingredients together and then press into a pan to set. Cut into bars. 
Blueberry and Honey Overnight Oats
  • 1/2 Cup(s) Oats 
  • 1/2 Cup(s) Low-fat milk 
  • 1/4 Cup(s) Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 Cup(s) Blueberries 
  • 1 Tablespoon(s) Honey
  1. Add Oats to your container, pour in milk, and add in Greek yogurt and blueberries. 
  2. Top with honey before refrigerating.
Salad in a Jar
  • Choose the ingredients you like!
It is really convenient if you are packing a lunch to take with you to co-op or to class. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

3 Things We're Cooking Up for the End of the Semester

with campus executive chef Tom Barton

Hi all! It’s quite busy around here and I wanted to let you know about a few of the things we have going on around campus.

In January, we started doing Foodie Tours of each of our dining locations. These are in depth tours with our nutritionist Christine Clark and me. We select a dining location and go station-by-station talking about the back stories of how are menus are created, where we source many of our products from, and, in some cases, the science behind some of the things we do. We have received great feedback from the tours we have done and anticipate continuing this initiative next semester. They are open to all students, faculty, and staff and are – of course – free!

We have also been busy planning for our upcoming Lobstah Night. We are happy to say that we will be working with Red's Best to obtain the 1,000 lobsters needed for this event. It is certainly one of the highlights of the school year so be sure to get to Stetson West early on Tuesday night!

Our last event of the semester will be our 16th(!) annual Educate Your Palate. I wish I could tell you more about the theme of this year's event but then you wouldn't be surprised! Seeing how International Village has been transformed when you walk in on the night of the event is definitely a "wow" — if you have been to EYP in the past you know what I mean. This is a can't-miss event so please put Thursday, April 20 on your calendar. As chefs, we love this event because – as sort of a culmination of a year's worth of culinary trends – we get to create a menu that is unlike anything you've seen all year. Additionally important to us is that even though the event is held at International Village it is a collaborative effort with our culinary teams from International Village, Stetson, and Curry. Working together as one large team is always very exciting for us.

I hope to see you at these extraordinary upcoming events!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

National Nutrition Month 2017: Plant Power

If you follow food trends, you’ve surely noticed that plant-based foods, recipes and restaurants have been getting a larger share of the spotlight lately. Does this mean that more of us are becoming vegetarians? Should we be?

Why more plants?
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are key features of some of the healthiest diets in the world. Plant based foods are a common theme in the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and most dietary guidelines. The balance of health promoting nutrients with moderate calories and less of the stuff we should be limiting make plant based foods an easy fit for most people. Looking beyond personal health, to the health of our planet, plant based foods tend to more sustainable and less taxing on the environment.

What is a flexitarian? Or a pescatarian?
With the expansion of plant foods on our plates has come an expansion of how we refer to the way we eat. Vegetarian still refers to people who don’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but there are many other variations as well. Vegans are vegetarians who don’t eat any animal products at all, so they skip dairy, eggs and honey too. Pescatarians are typically vegetarians who include fish and seafood occasionally. Flexitarian has become a term associated with people who skip meat meals in favor of vegetarian ones periodically.

Bottom Line
If plant foods are so good for us, does this mean we should all become vegan? Not necessarily. We could, however, all benefit from incorporating more plant foods into our daily menus. Try to avoid seeing “meat eater” and “vegetarian” as the only two options. Plant foods can and should be a big part of all of our diets, with or without meat. Vegetarian meals have moved far beyond just a plate of steamed vegetables. Grilled cauliflower steaks, chick pea stews, mushroom Bolognese and other plant based dishes appeal to both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

1. Rizzo, Nico S. et al. Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Nonvegetarian Dietary Patterns. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , Volume 113 , Issue 12 , 1610 - 1619