Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Food as Medicine

Sunday, October 1, 2017 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

It can be very tempting to follow the latest headlines claiming that certain foods will prevent disease, make you live longer or get you to your perfect pants size. Unfortunately the science of nutrition just doesn’t work that way. This October as pink pops up everywhere and talk focuses on prevention, treatment and finding a cure for breast cancer, what do we actually know about food and cancer?

Antioxidants: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are credited with many health benefits, including the possibility of reducing cancer risk. One possible reason is the presence of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidants have the ability to protect us from damage by free-radicals that could lead to cancer. Our bodies don’t produce enough antioxidants on their own, so we need to get them from food. The results around antioxidant supplements, however, are not so good. In some cases, risk of cancer actually increased with supplements. Eating more whole plant foods is a relatively safe and delicious approach that may help to reduce cancer risk.

Tea: Tea is one of the most popular drinks around the world, and also one of the most studied. Tea contains catechins, a type of polyphenols, which are thought to be responsible for tea’s health benefits. Catechins, like the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, have antioxidant activity. The evidence for tea’s role in cancer prevention isn’t strong enough to put it in the category of an official recommendation. The risks of drinking tea, especially green tea with its high catechin and low caffeine levels, however, are low. To keep the risks even lower, choose green or white teas more often and drink them between, instead of with, meals.

Garlic: Garlic belongs to the Allium family of plants, which also includes onions, chives, leeks, and scallions. Garlic contains a variety of bioactive compounds which may be beneficial to health. Like other foods, the evidence for garlic’s benefits in fighting cancer are inconclusive, but shows some potential. Eating garlic, as opposed to taking a supplement, has few risks beyond the telltale garlic breath.

While we may be able to improve our overall health and possibly help to reduce our risk of cancer with what we eat, it is important to remember that getting regular medical care with appropriate screening tests is still key.

RESOURCES: 1. Risk Factors – Diet. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Accessed July 28, 2017 at

Written by Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD.
October 2017