Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Friday, February 19, 2016

Healthy Alternatives While Celebrating Culinary Diversity

Friday, February 19, 2016 | 12:54 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

tom barton
with campus executive chef Tom Barton

Our latest Menus of Change principle is "Celebrating Cultural Diversity and Discovery" and over the next few weeks our residential dining halls will be featuring menu items that celebrate the cultural diversity of our associates. As I was reviewing recipes in preparation for these events at both International Village and Stetson, it occurred to me that some of the ingredients in the traditional recipes could be swapped out for healthier alternatives while also remaining faithful to tradition. Here are some examples of ways to make recipes even a little bit healthier (which means you can enjoy them even more often!):
  • Instead of using butter why not use a fat free margarine? Canola, safflower or olive oils could also be substituted
  • Rather than using whole milk try a skim, evaporated skim or even plain nonfat yogurt can be used
  • Instead of using whole milk cheeses, look for ones that are made with part skim
  • Low fat or fat free sour cream can be substituted for regular sour cream
  • 2 egg whites can replace 1 whole egg
  • Try simmering vegetables in a fat-free / low sodium chicken or vegetable stock instead of seasoning with many seasonings that have a high sodium content. Lightly tossing with freshly chopped herbs can also add plenty of flavor
  • Remove skin and fat from meats before cooking – or if the flavor of the skin is important to the dish try removing the skin before serving it
  • When using ground beef, look for a leaner grind such as a 90/10 blend
  • Instead of frying foods look for ways to bake, broil, or roast them
  • With stews and casseroles that are traditionally heavy on meat and light on vegetables, try changing up the recipe to incorporate more vegetables and less meat protein
  • When making salads use lighter vinegar-based dressings instead of the heavy mayonnaise- and dairy-based dressings
  • Using fruits that are packed in their own water or their own juice do not contain the added sugar that fruits packed in syrup do
  • Try serving half portions of traditional foods and desserts instead of full portions
  • Try using leaner cuts of meat such as turkey, chicken, and fish instead of red meats
Hopefully some of this will inspire you to go ahead and try some new ideas when approaching traditional foods!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Meeting on the Move

Monday, February 1, 2016 | 12:23 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

Finding time in our busy days to stay active can be difficult. What if there was an easy way to fit in exercise and be more productive with your time? Walking meetings may be the solution.

Why a walking meeting?
Physical activity has long proven benefits including helping to control your weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reduce your risk of some cancers, strengthen your bones and muscles and increase your chances of living longer overall. So what does this have to do with walking meetings? Physical activity can also help to improve your mental health and mood and can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp. Perfect for more productive meetings! Walking meetings are also less subject to distractions because it is hard to sneak in an email or text when you need to watch where you are going. Add in a little fresh air and change of scenery and walking meetings may even encourage more creative thought.

How to hold a walking meeting
Walking meetings will be new to a lot of people, so a little planning can go a long way. Give enough notice so that your participants can plan to have the right shoes. While walking is safe for most people, not everyone may be able to do a walking meeting. Giving notice allows people to express any concerns they may have. Consider walking the path you plan to take ahead of time to make sure there aren’t any unexpected surprises like missing or broken sidewalks or loud construction. Choose meetings where you don’t need to take or read a lot of notes and if you do, use the voice record function on your phone. Keep the group small or break into teams so people in the back or front aren’t left out. And of course, with weather being unpredictable, it is a good idea to have back up plan for bringing your walking meeting indoors.

Beyond work
The same benefits you get from taking your work meetings on the move can apply to almost any setting where you are chatting with someone. Want to catch up with a friend? Meet up and walk while you talk. Working on an event? Get the committee together and walk while you discuss ideas. Including people that you enjoy spending time with while you are being active can help to keep you on track, so give it a try in any setting.

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

Written by Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD.
February 2016