Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Gifts That Inspire Well-being

Sunday, December 1, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , , No comments

The season of gift giving is quickly followed by the season of health focused resolutions. Support your friends’ and family’s efforts by gifting them something that will support their goals.

Have you perfected a delicious and nutritious soup, sauce or snack? Make an extra batch to give as a gift. You can use holiday themed cookie cutters to make snack bars or even to chill pesto and other sauces in small portions with a festive look. If you think they won’t be able to enjoy what you have made within a few days, consider giving a ready to make gift that includes the dry ingredients and a recipe to follow. Mason jars make great containers for just about any food and can be easily decorated. Want to give something a little more flexible? Consider a subscription to a fruit and vegetable delivery service. New services that help to rescue produce that would other wise go to waste are available in many areas. Search for “imperfect produce delivery.”

It is easy to go overboard with kitchen gadgets, especially if kitchen space is tight, but some tools are well worth it. Consider a grater/zester. They don’t take up a lot of space and can be used to quickly zest citrus and to grate things like cheese, garlic or ginger. A good knife is a must too. If you know someone who is just getting started with cooking, a good chef knife is a must. Cooking magazine subscriptions can help inspire people who already have all the gadgets.

Do you have a playlist that keeps you motivated when exercising? Share it by printing it out and presenting it with a gift card to download the songs. Have a friend who travels a lot? Resistance bands are super packable and can be used for a variety of stretches and exercises. Wearable fitness tracking devices work for a variety of fitness levels and tend to require little tech knowledge to operate. Or, give the gift of an experience with a trip that includes things like hiking, biking or other activities that keep everyone moving.

Reference: These tips were provided by our team of nutrition and sustainability experts. Read more at

Friday, November 15, 2019

FYUL: Sustained Energy

Friday, November 15, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , No comments

FYUL is a program focused on making it easy for you to find foods that are embedded with health benefits also known as functional foods that are important to your personal lifestyle!

Sustained Energy: Foods that combine lean protein, good fats and fiber to create the right nutrient balance to sustain energy
When choosing cuisine consider foods that provide a feeling of fullness as well as satisfaction. Choose items with taste and that you feel good about eating. Feeling good about your choice(s) does not mean that you made the “healthy” choice or the “right” choice or the food you “should” choose.  It means that you picked the items that have flavor and provided a feeling of fullness in a comfortable way.

When we choose foods we enjoy and eat them until we are satisfied then we are more likely to provide ourselves with sustained energy throughout the day. This will help you continue on with your day by being productive in school, work, exercise or sports.

In order to provide yourself with sustained energy you should think about balance. It’s important to incorporate cuisine from various food groups - protein (plant or animal), whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fats. When you make balanced choices then you are more likely to feel satisfied with your meals and snacks.

Consider eating meals and snacks throughout the day (and avoid skipping) that incorporate at least 2-3 food groups listed:

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter or another nut butter
  • Chicken, turkey, ham, cheese, tuna, hummus
  • Whole grain bread
  • Pita bread or a wrap
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Crackers, pretzels, graham crackers, whole grain cereal
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Peaches
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Salad (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes)
Sample snacks
  • Apple with cheese or peanut butter
  • Cucumber and hummus
  • Cereal with milk
  • Graham crackers and peanut butter or almond butter
Sample meal
  •  Peanut butter, banana on 2 pieces of bread with a cup of milk
  • Turkey, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato on a wrap with an apple

Friday, November 1, 2019


Friday, November 1, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments

The average American generates a lot of trash, about 4.4 pounds per person according to the EPA. Recycling is a great way to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills, prevent pollution, and conserve resources.

Most of us were taught in elementary school to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but figuring out what items are actually recyclable can be daunting. Consumers want to do the right thing but often find it confusing. Variation in recycling programs across the country and unclear labeling make the task a challenge for the average person.

When we recycle correctly, we give products a new life and improve the environment. You can do your part to help keep the recycling system strong by keeping it clean and free of contaminants. Here are a few tips to remember when recycling at home.

Look into guidelines in your area and read up on what your town or city accepts for recycling. Doing a little bit of research will ensure that you don’t end up tossing something that will clog the system.

A little bit of food residue is okay, but everything should be as clean and dry as possible to avoid contaminating the rest of the materials.

Plastic bags and plastic wrap are recyclable, but not through your curbside pick-up. These items get tangled in the equipment at the recycling facility and cause issues. Recyclables should be loose in the bin and not in plastic bags.

If you are not sure if something is recyclable, the safest thing to do is throw it in the trash, so you don’t contaminate the recycling.

Don’t forget you can recycle other items throughout your home, such as bathroom items like soap containers, shampoo, and conditioner bottles.

Written by Julia Jordan

Friday, October 4, 2019

FYUL: Protein Packed

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

FYUL is a program focused on making it easy for you to find foods that are embedded with health benefits also known as functional foods that are important to your personal lifestyle!

Protein Packed: Foods that include carbohydrates and protein that give muscles the fuel they need to recover after working hard.
To achieve peak performance during a workout it is important to consume a healthy well-balanced diet most days. A diet that provides a variety of foods can provide you with all of the necessary nutrients your body needs. Something very important when it comes to working out and building lean body mass is replenishing the fuel you used during the workout.

Consider this, protein is not a major fuel source during physical activity (carbohydrates are the major fuel source during a workout), however, protein is extremely important for recovery and is needed for muscle growth and repair! Most active individuals need slightly more protein than a less active person.
When you are training be sure to consume adequate protein, but always back it up with adequate carbohydrates to ensure adequate muscle repair.

After workout/recovery snacks are extremely important and these snacks should be consumed within about 30 minutes after an intense workout. Recovery snacks should contain about 45- 50 g of carbohydrates and 10-15 g of protein to promote muscle protein synthesis (i.e., repair and build up muscles).

Here are a few examples to meet your carbohydrate and protein needs:
  • Milkshake or yogurt/fruit smoothie (1 cup)
  • A large bowl of cereal with milk (~ 1- 2 cups)
  • 2 small cereal bars + fruited yogurt
  • 2 cups flavored milk (chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry)
  • 2 slices of toast with 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of toast/bread with 2 ½ Tbsp peanut butter or lean turkey or ham
  • 1 large banana and 2 ½ TBSP peanut butter
  • 2- 4 full graham cracker sheets with Greek yogurt or 1 cup of milk
Convenience vs. Whole Foods:
  • Energy bars are great when you are on the go!
  • Choose energy bars that contain carbohydrates, protein and fat.
    • Look for high-quality protein sources- from milk (casein and whey), egg, or soy.
    • Limit intake of bars with trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) or saturated fat (palm oil)
  • Keep in mind that It is important to choose whole foods before supplements whenever possible
  • Compare the cost of supplements (protein powders) with the cost of foods (protein-rich foods) with similar nutritional value
When it comes to working out, think of food as fuel and aiding in building and repairing muscles.  Make it a goal to consume meals and snacks containing a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats throughout the day!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

October is National Seafood Month and a great time to clear up some confusion about fish. On one hand, thanks in part to their omega-3 fatty acids, fish has been credited with everything from making us smarter to decreasing heart disease risk. On the other hand, we see warnings about avoiding fish because of mercury and other toxins. Add sustainability factors like over-fishing and by-catch and it can be difficult to decide if fish should have a place on our plates.

The most recent Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults eat fish twice per week. Fish offer a unique combination of protein and beneficial fats that has been linked with lower risk of heart disease and improved brain development in babies. Certain fish, however, have been found to contain higher than recommended levels of the toxic metal methyl mercury, and shouldn’t be eaten frequently. Varying the type of seafood you eat can help reduce your chances of taking in too much mercury.

The oceans may seem to have an endless supply of fish, but that may not be the case. Advances in how we fish have had unintended consequences for the overall health of ocean life. Issues such as over-fishing and by-catch have taken a toll and are threatening the sustainability of our seafood supply. Many fish, however are raised and caught in a way that helps maintain the health of the oceans overall. If you want to consider the sustainability of ocean life when choosing your fish, you can consult guides such as those available through Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Current research suggests that the benefit of eating fish in recommended amounts outweighs the potential risks. Being selective in your fish choices can help you maximize the health benefits while reducing potential exposure to toxins and negative impacts on ocean life. The Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector offers suggestions for fish that are both good for you and good for the ocean.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at
  2. EDF Seafood Selector. Available at
Written by Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD

Friday, September 13, 2019

FYUL: Heart Health

FYUL is a program focused on making it easy for you to find foods that are embedded with health benefits also known as functional foods that are important to your personal lifestyle!

Heart Health: Foods that are packed with Fiber and Heart Healthy Fats

Choosing foods that will benefit your heart is always a good idea! If you choose foods that are in their whole form such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, beans, lean meats then you are taking the right steps. If you are not there yet it is not too late to make some small changes to make a positive impact. Keep in mind that while we can make choices about the foods we eat- we cannot choose or change our family health history or age, but that does not mean that you should not implement heart-healthy food choices!

Here are some tips to get you started!

  • Choose nutrient-dense foods that are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants that have a protective effect on cells in the body. Nutrient-dense foods will also provide many other vitamins and minerals. Including whole grains (cereals, rice, pasta, and oatmeal), fruits, and vegetables at meals and snacks will help accomplish this.
  • Choose foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids because that will help with reducing inflammation in the body. Consider incorporating foods such as wild salmon, tuna, flaxseeds/flax meal, and walnuts to have this benefit.
  • Choose oils that are high in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats as these are good for your heart. You can find the best sources among olive oil, nuts, avocados, sunflower and safflower oils. Limit your intake of trans fats and saturated fats that are found in many processed foods (crackers, cookies and other packaged baked goods). Also keep in mind that although coconut oil may taste good and add flavor, use this tropical oil in moderation as it is high in saturated fat. Saturated fats have been found to raise blood cholesterol levels, therefore this can be harmful over time. 
Making heart-healthy choices is important at any age. It does not mean you have to remove foods you love, it simply means adding nutrient-rich foods into your day! The good news is that it includes treats such as dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants!

Here is a recipe that is a great way to start your day with heart healthy option. This is also a great snack option!

Overnight Oats
  • ½ cup Quaker Oats
  • ½ cup lowfat milk or a milk substitute
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • ¼ cup blueberries, raspberries or peaches
  • 1 TBSP honey
Add Quaker Oats to your container, pour in milk, and add in fruit and Greek yogurt. Top with honey before refrigerating

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Sunday, September 1, 2019 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

September is Whole Grains Month and this year the Whole Grains Council is celebrating under the theme “Whole Grains: The World Tour.” Whole grains are an important part of some of the world’s healthiest diets. If you haven’t yet made half of your grains whole, now is a great time to start.

Whole grains have been tied to improved health in many studies and current recommendations suggest that we choose whole grains for at least half of the grains we eat. Whole grains are a part of the Mediterranean Diet, DASH diet and other healthy eating patterns across the world. Whole grains were also identified as part of a Planetary Health Diet in the recent EAT Lancet report. Whole grains could help us feed more people with less land through lower water requirements, improved soil fertility and reduced waste.

Sometimes whole grains are obvious, but other times it can be a little tricky to identify whether or not a food has whole grains. When shopping, looking for the Whole Grain Stamp can be a quick and easy way to identify whole grains. The stamp will also let you know how much whole grain is in the product. While all foods with the stamp have whole grains, not all whole grains will carry the stamp. Specific statements like “100% whole wheat” or “14g of whole grain” can also lead you to whole grain foods. Be cautious of vague use of the words “whole grain” like “made with whole grain” because you might only be getting a small amount of whole grains. The following words in the ingredient list also let you know there are whole grains present: whole grain [name of grain], whole wheat, whole [other grain], stoneground whole [grain], brown rice, oats, oatmeal (including old-fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal), wheatberries. Ingredients are listed in order, so the earlier in the list, the more the food contains.

Inspire others and get inspired by using and following #wholegrainsmonth on social media. If you tried a new whole grain recipe or dish and enjoyed it, post it. Looking for some menu inspiration for dinner? Search the hashtag for recipes and serving ideas.

  1. Whole Grains Council available at
  2. Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission available at
Written by Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD