Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Save The Date! Educate Your Palate 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 5:11 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , No comments
It is almost that time of year again. Educate Your Palate, our end-of-the-year culinary extravaganza, is now less than one week away!

On Thursday, April 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, International Village Dining will be transformed into a completely redesigned dining space for a culinary adventure circling the globe! We can't divulge too many details – we wouldn't want to ruin the surprise after all – but we hope that you'll be able to take some time on your reading day to join us for a dinner that you won't soon forget.

If you weren't able to come to last year's Educate Your Palate, dubbed A Spoonful of Spring (or just want to relive the event again), take a look at our photos from the event and check out the menu that was served, including locally harvested oysters, freshly pan-fried kimchi and tofu dumplings, and a carving station with grilled leg of lamb.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Don't Just Sit There!

Friday, April 10, 2015 | 9:17 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , No comments
We all know that getting more exercise is good for us, but that may not be enough. While moving more is good, being sedentary less often is also important. Some health experts are even calling sitting the new smoking. So, if you went to the gym this morning, don't use that as an excuse to sit around the rest of the day.

What's wrong with sitting?
New evidence suggests that too much sitting, such as working at a desk, watching television and  other low energy activities, is a risk factor by itself for poor health. While the research is still in the early phases and the exact reasons why sitting isn't good for us aren't fully known yet, there is almost no downside to moving more. So for now, even if the only benefit you get from sitting less is feeling less stiffness at the end of the day, it is worth giving it a try.

How much do we need to move?
Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Spending even more time being active can offer additional benefits. While 150 minutes may sound like a long time, you don’t have to do it all at once. Breaking it up over five days, you are only looking at 30 minutes per day. If that seems like too much at one time, you can break that down into smaller 10 minute time blocks.

Tricks to sitting less
Standing desks or workstations have become popular and are even available in adjustable versions that allow you to do some of your work seated and then pop the desk up for some standing time. Instead of sitting around a conference table, consider standing or walking meetings. They can get your whole team moving and may even spark some creativity. If you need to be reminded to get up and move, there are apps and activity trackers that will alert you when you have been still for too long. Or, you can keep it simple and set daily alarms to remind you to get up and move a little. Whichever option you choose, remember that a check in with your healthcare provider is always a good first step.

1. Dunstan DW, Howard B, Healy GN, Owen N. Too much sitting--a health hazard. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012 Sep;97(3):368-76.
2. van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Korda RJ, Banks E, Bauman A. Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222 497 Australian adults. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Mar 26;172(6):494-500.

3. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 2008. Available at
Written by Jennifer M. Ignacio, MS, RD.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Salt Controversy?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | 9:00 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , No comments
If you've heard the recommendation that we should eat less salt, then you've also probably heard the counter-argument that salt is not a problem. With conflicting reports, it may be hard to decide what you should do with the salt shaker.

Salt or Sodium
Salt and sodium are often used interchangeably, but they do in fact mean different things. When it comes to health, sodium is what we are concerned with. What we typically refer to as salt, is actually a mix of sodium and chloride. Sodium is found in a variety of the foods we eat, and even in some drinks both as part of the food’s natural make up or from salt that is added during preparation or processing.

How much is too much?
Despite the appearance of a controversy about sodium intake and health, there is strong evidence, with widespread agreement, that most of us are taking in too much sodium. The average American takes in about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The recommended limit for healthy adults is 2,300 mg per day. There is evidence to suggest that we may actually need to go lower, to 1,500 mg per day, but this is where it starts to get somewhat controversial. Some feel 1,500 is too low. Even if this is the case, it is important to remember that we have a lot of work to do to get to 2,300 before we should even start to worry if 1,500 is too low.

How to be salt smart:
Lowering sodium can be as simple as making a few small changes. A big chunk of the sodium we get comes from processed foods, so comparing labels and choosing products with lower sodium levels can help. When cooking at home or eating out, choosing foods flavored with herbs and spices instead of salt and other high sodium ingredients can also make a dent. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your drinks too. Sports drinks designed to replace electrolytes during exercise contain more sodium than you need if you aren't heavily sweating. While you are working on your sodium levels, don’t forget about another important mineral – potassium. Unlike sodium, this one we tend not to get enough of. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of potassium and naturally low in sodium – a win-win for your mineral balance!

1. Aaron KJ, Sanders PW. Role of Dietary Salt and Potassium Intake in Cardiovascular Health and Disease: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic 2013;88(9).
2. Institute of Medicine. 2013. “Sodium intake in populations: assessment of evidence.” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013.
Written by Jennifer M. Ignacio, MS, RD. April 2015