Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Serving Less Red Meat, Less Often

Thursday, December 8, 2016 | 10:57 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

Red meat—beef, pork, and lamb—can be enjoyed occasionally, in small portions. The serving recommendation for red meat is two, 3-ounce servings per week. Keep in mind that a 3 oz. portion is the size of a deck of cards.

When replacing red meat in a meal, add poultry or fish (3-6 oz./day) and/or beans and nuts whenever possible. Another great strategy is to think of meat as a side dish verses the main dish or try having meatless meals a few times a week. This can not only offer health benefits, but it can also help save you money!

A plant-based diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes and nuts provides a great source of fiber as well as lots of vitamins and minerals. Individuals who eat only plant-based foods, such as vegetarians tend to eat less calories and fat overall, which in turn will likely result in a lower body weight. Another benefit of a vegetarian diet is a decreased risk of heart disease.

If you enjoy meat you do not need to become a vegetarian to gain health benefits. You can still enjoy meat, but just less often. Those who eat mostly plant-based foods, but still includes meat, poultry and fish occasionally are considered "flexible-vegetarians" or "flexitarians." This type of healthy eating is similar to the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

When your meals do include meat, choose lean cuts and watch your portions! Remember that a serving of meat should be no more than 3 ounces/meal. Your protein/meat source should take up a ¼ of your plate. Vegetables and fruits should cover ½ of your plate and whole grains should make up the rest.


  1. Meatless Meals Once or Twice a Week. Accessed on December 5, 2016.
  2. The flexitarian Diet. Accessed on December 5, 2016.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Superfood Sides

Whether planning quick mid-week dinners or elaborate weekend parties, side dishes are often an afterthought. With the growing trend towards plant-forward eating, it’s time to take a fresh look at side dishes.

What are Superfoods?
The term Superfood is used often, but not always with the same meaning. The simplest way to think of Superfoods is that they offer benefits above and beyond their basic nutrient content. For example, antioxidants make berries super, while nuts and avocados have good fats. We focus on Superfoods that are naturally super, but there are also foods that are called super or functional because of ingredients that have been added to them.

Why sides?
Years of nutrition research has consistently shown that eating more plant foods is a good thing. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are part of every well-balanced diet – often in the form of side dishes! Putting a little effort into the flavor and presentation of your side dishes can help these health promoting food groups become a bigger part of what you eat every day.

How to get started:
Follow the seasons. Choosing Superfoods while they are in season means fresher, tastier meals at the best prices. Eat like a vegetarian. Have you ever noticed what vegetarians do when there isn’t a vegetarian option? They eat the sides! You can make a really good meal of side dishes if you plan well. Turn your plate inside out. Make the sides your main feature and use meat and other traditional center-of-the-plate items as the smaller, accent items. Need some recipe inspiration? Check out where there is a feature on Superfood Sides with recipes to try at home.

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