Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Friday, December 1, 2017

Party like a Pro

With end of year holiday parties popping up all around you it may seem like sticking to your health goals will be impossible. We asked some of our Registered Dietitians (RDs) to share their tips for enjoying party season without sacrificing your well-being.

Before the Party
Set yourself up for success with good preparation. Don’t skip meals before the party. It might seem like a good idea to allow room for party food, but skipping meals could leave you hungry and more likely to overeat during the party. Bring something you will feel good about eating. Salads, veggie platters and other plant forward dishes are great options that fill you up without overdoing it.

During the Party
Focus on the fun. Engage in conversations and activities that keep you from mindlessly snacking. Step away from the table. After you have gotten your food, find a spot away from the buffet so that you aren’t tempted to eat things simply because they are in front of you. Watch the liquid calories. Try making every other drink a sparkling water to reduce sugary beverages and stay hydrated.

After the Party
Take a walk. Making time to exercise is well worth it. You can burn off some extra calories and help manage stress. Drop the guilt! Enjoying amazing food at a party should not mean feeling bad about your choices. If you overdid it, let it go and get back on track. Indulging at a party or two will likely have less impact on your health than worrying about it will. Your well-being is determined by what you do most of the time, not the occasional splurge.

Tips provided by Compass Group RDs:
Stephanie Bassett, Susan Cooper, Sarah Defreitas, Suzanne Landry, Lily Leung, Robyn Lorando, Tori Martinet, Sarah Nicklay, Andrea Ogden, Savina Sparker, Tracy Wilczek and Leigh-Anne Wooten.

December 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cut The Salt; Rethink Flavor Development From The Ground Up

Monday, November 13, 2017 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , No comments

with campus executive chef Tom Barton

As a chef, seasoning and flavoring of food is one of the most important things that we do.

What is the difference between seasoning and flavoring? 
Seasoning is enhancing the natural flavor of a particular product while flavoring is changing the natural flavor of that product.
For example: when roasting a chicken simply adding salt and pepper enhance the natural flavor of the chicken but if you were to enhance with a BBQ rub, that would change the natural flavor.

Knowing when and what to season and flavor foods with is a skill that I am constantly working on. Hopefully at this point everyone knows that excessive use of salt is a health issue that should be taken seriously. As someone who prepares food for others, we have an obligation to serve tasty food that is also good for you.

Here are a few ways to reduce the amount of your salt intake:

Read nutritional labels
You would be amazed at the amount of sodium in some of your favorite foods especially those that are pre-prepared. If you do buy pre-prepared foods compare a few different brands as they typically vary between brands

Prepare foods
Prepare foods yourself as much as possible that we you have direct control over seasoning and flavoring. Experiment with using fresh herbs to enhance flavors

Reconsider portion sizes of your food

Try making herb salt
  1. Take 2-3 cups loosely packed herbs such as parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, cilantro, rosemary or basil and combine with ½ cup coarse salt such as kosher salt. 
  2. Place in food processor and pulse until you have achieved a course grind being careful not to process into a paste. 
  3. You can spread evenly onto a baking sheet and leave at room temperature for several days until the mixture becomes dry or alternatively you can place in a 200 degree oven and for approx  one hour or until dry. 
  4. In either case place into an air tight container and can be stored for up to 6 months.
The most important thing is to experiment and see what tastes good and what flavor profiles you enjoy and have fun!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Substantially Reduce Sugary Beverages, Innovate Replacements

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | 2:44 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , , , , , No comments

Sugar-sweetened beverages contain lots of extra calories and almost no nutrients.  If you are consuming high-sugar drinks (i.e., soda or juice) 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. Therefore, it is important to limit your intake of beverages that contain lots of added sugar!

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.

Flavored coffee: Be aware that the calories from sugar or flavored syrups added to these beverages will add up quickly.

Flavored waters seem to be one of the latest trends. Always check the labels as these beverages often contain added sugars.

  • Add slices of fruit to your water- lemons, limes, oranges, cucumber, melons… or a combination of these or other fruits and veggies.
  • Add chopped fruit into ice cube trays with a little water- freeze. Throw those into your water to add some flavor.
Green Tea is another great alternative.  It contains lots of antioxidants, which is great! Drink it hot or cold if you want to sweeten your green tea try adding a little honey!

Seltzer water is a great option choose ones that are naturally flavored or you can add a splash of 100% fruit juice (such as Pomegranate, orange, grape…) to flavor a plain seltzer or just choose plain water it you don’t like the bubbles!

Milk is a great 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
  • Keep in mind that flavored milk will provide about 5-6 tsp. of added sugar (per 8 oz. serving)
Note: You do not need to count the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and milk toward your daily intake of added sugar.

Thirsty? Try One of these 9 Refreshing Alternatives to soda.

  • Public Health Newsletter, Healthy Drinks Accessed November 3, 2017
  • Water: How much should you drink every day? Accessed November 3, 2017
  • Sugar 101:  Accessed November 2, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

More than Just Sugar

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

Many people go to the doctor and hear that their “sugar is a little high” and wonder if that means diabetes. While many things can cause your blood sugar to be higher than it should, diabetes or being at risk for diabetes (sometimes called pre-diabetes) is a major reason. The good news is that for many people, diabetes* can be prevented by making a few healthy changes – the same changes that can also work to control diabetes if you already have it.

Eat Well
Eating well does not mean simply avoiding sugar. We need a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, instead of skipping some meals and going overboard on others can also work wonders on balancing your blood sugar. Be cautious of foods labeled “sugar-free.” They may seem like a smart choice, but calories are important and many sugar-free options are not any lower in calories.

Move More
Getting 30 minutes of physical activity, at least five days per week, has been shown to help prevent or delay diabetes*. Those 30 minutes don’t have to be spent doing unpleasant activities to see the benefits. Pick something you like, do it at a moderate intensity and stick with it. If your schedule is tight, you can even break it into three 10 minute blocks throughout the day.

Slide the Scale
If you have some weight to lose, every move you make in the right direction decreases the chances you will get diabetes* or makes the diabetes you already have easier to control.

*Please note that while healthy changes can help to prevent the most common kind of diabetes (type 2), type 1 diabetes is not at this time considered preventable. Eating well and moving more are important for controlling all types of diabetes.

November is National Diabetes Month. To learn more about diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Education Program at

  1. National Diabetes Education Program, a partnership of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public and private organizations. Accessed 9/6/17 at
  2. 2015 Diabetes Types 1 and 2 Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library®. Available at
Written by Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD.
November 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Move Legumes to the Center of the Plate

Legumes are a group of vegetables that includes peas, lentils and beans (black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, black beans, cannellini beans, and kidney), which are nutrient dense and provide a variety of health benefits.  They are low in calories, high in protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and provide beneficial vitamins and minerals including folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Research has indicated many health benefits associated with consuming legumes include- a reduced risk in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. Since legumes are high in complex carbohydrates, they have a low glycemic index making them a great choice for people with diabetes. Legumes are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is great because that means consuming them aids in binding to cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, preventing constipation, and increasing satiety- helping with weight management.

It is important to remember if using canned beans to choose the low sodium options. Draining and rinsing is also recommended which removes about 40% of the sodium as well as reduces flatulence.

The USDA recommends 2.5 to 3.5 cups of legumes per week- most Americans do not meet these guidelines. Here are some ways to incorporate legumes into your meals and snacks to help provides some essential nutrients for a delicious and healthful meal.
  • Add beans to stews, casseroles and homemade or prepared soups
  • Use pureed beans as the base for dips 
  • Use hummus as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise
  • Add chickpeas/garbanzo, lentils or black beans to salads
  • Add cooked beans to chili, meatballs or burgers
  • Grab a handful of soy nuts for a snack
Note: Make sure to include more water and incorporate exercise into your day to help your gastrointestinal system handle the increase in dietary fiber from legumes.

  1. Azadbakht L, Haghighatdoost F, Esmaillzadeh A. Legumes: A component of a healthy diet. J Res Med Sci. 2011; 16(2):121-122.
  2. Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter. Add These Lesser-Known Legumes to Your Healthy Pantry. 2015; 32(11):6(1)  Accessed October 26, 2017
  3. Mudryj AN, Yu N, Aukema HM. Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014; 39:1197-1204. doi:
  4. Beans and other legumes: cooking tips. Accessed October 26, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

National Seafood Month

Friday, October 20, 2017 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , , , No comments

with campus executive chef Tom Barton

Hi everyone! Did you know October is National Seafood Month? We will be celebrating on Tuesday the 24th at both International Village and Levine Marketplace (Stetson East) with delectable menus and  a display of fresh caught seafood. Get ready to see – and touch – the seafood display as well as enjoy some locally caught sustainable seafood!

All of the fish we serve daily is verified sustainable as well as the tuna is FAD free. We are proud to partner with companies like Red's Best, which is a local fish and seafood provider that focuses on working with local family fishermen. Red's Best guarantees they will buy the fishermen’s catch and get them a fair price, which is typically a concern for the fishermen. Another awesome thing about Red's Best is that they have a program that focuses on underutilized species.

I know here on the east coast we tend to love all of our traditional white fishes like cod, but unfortunately they have been over fished and the government has put many restrictions and quotas in both fishermen and traditional fishing areas. Red's Best is leading the way with colleges, universities and restaurants is serving many of the underutilized species such as haddock, Pollock, ocean perch and dog fish. Red's Best also focuses on locally raised shellfish such as oysters and mussels.

From a  chefs perspective, one of the cool things about working with Red's Best and their underutilized program is that often we do not know what they have until hours before our order arrives. Mostly because they do not know the catch of the day until the local boats unload at the pier. Our order comes with a QR code that specifies the particular species, name of the boat, captain and the fishing method used to catch the fish which is becoming more and more important.

Red's Best owner and founder Jared Auerbach will be on campus Tuesday at International Village and Levine Marketplace along with a few other staff members from Red's Best to help us celebrate National Seafood Month. Be sure and stop by and say "Hi" and get a taste of some of this awesome product, prepared into delicious dishes by our culinary team!

Friday, October 6, 2017

National Seafood Month: Eat More Kinds Of Seafood More Often

Eating patterns that consist of multiple foods is important to an overall healthy diet. Seafood should be part of that healthy eating pattern. Seafood includes fish and shellfish. 

Based on the Dietary Guidelines it is recommended that the general population consume about 8 oz. of seafood (two 3 ½ oz. servings) each week. There are a number of health benefits that go along with eating seafood.  Seafood consumption increases ones intake of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), which plays an important role in the anti-inflammatory process, reducing cardiovascular issues and has been associated with the reduction of cardiac deaths among those with existing Cardiovascular Disease. Seafood consumption has also been linked to boosting memory and reducing stress hormones- just another great reason to incorporate seafood into your healthy eating pattern! 

Something else to note about seafood is that it is a great source of high quality protein as well as many vitamins and minerals (including selenium and vitamin D).

Keep in mind that when choosing seafood- broiling or baking is a healthier option than deep-frying.

Note: mercury is a toxin that accumulates and for that reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that pregnant and lactating women and young children avoid eating certain fish: swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. The EPA has no health warning to limit seafood consumption for any other population group.

  1. Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020.  Chapter 1: Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns. Accessed October 5, 2017
  2. Fish Friend of Foe? Accessed October 5, 2017