Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Manage Stress

Thursday, September 6, 2018 | 9:44 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , No comments

Stress and finding balance!
Stress – we all have experienced it – probably more often than we would like to admit!  Managing stress is possible, and when done properly, can be healthy and beneficial to our bodies.  When we experience stress, we automatically initiate our stress response, better known as the “fight or flight” reaction. This process is our body’s natural way of dealing with any stress that we face in our daily lives.

We can experience stress about negative events such as traffic or school deadlines…  as well as experience stress about positive, life changing events such as moving into a new place, completing a major project, starting classes….  Whether negative or positive, all events trigger stress, and the reality is, without it, life would be dull and boring!  How we handle stress is important.

Stress Eating
Many of us are guilty of it – emotional eating.  We love our favorite comfort foods and make sure they are available when we are feeling “stressed out.” During these stressful moments there is an actual hormonal reaction that can triggers emotional eating – cortisol is released, which is an appetite stimulant.  Therefore triggering our desire to overeat in the moment of stress.  Eating can also serve as a distraction, allowing us to put aside our worries for the time being.  Unfortunately, we often feel guilty after an episode of overeating to deal with stress.

Tips to Control Stress Eating
  • Learn to distinguish between true hunger and purely emotional hunger
  • Know your triggers and recognize consistent negative eating patterns
  • Try comfort in another form, such as walking, watching a movie or talking to a friend
  • Avoid making unhealthy treats readily available
  • When you decide to snack, indulge in healthy choices such as fruit, vegetables or low fat snacks
  • Exercise regularly and get enough sleep
  • If you do find yourself emotionally eating – start fresh the next day! 
Helping Yourself
Managing stress starts within – only we know our bodies and our own personal limitations. It is important to schedule time for yourself and set reasonable standards for yourself and others.

Tips and Tricks to Manage Stress
  • Exercise
  • Stretch
  • Get a massage
  • Listen to good music
  • Talk to family and friends about your feelings
  • Get help when you need it
  • Be realistic and learn to say NO if you may become overwhelmed
  • Meditate or take a yoga class
  • Indulge in a favorite hobby or activity
If you have tried self-help options but you still can't control emotional eating, consider therapy with a mental health professional. Therapy can help you understand why you eat emotionally and learn coping skills.

  1. Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating: 
  2. Why stress causes people to overeat:

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Saturday, September 1, 2018 | 12:00 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments
You’ve probably heard the term “good fats” used to describe foods like avocado, nuts, seeds and certain oils. These good fats have been connected to improved heart health and other benefits. With so many different oils available, how do you know which ones are the right ones for you?

Oils play a key role in some of the healthiest diets in the world. The Mediterranean Diet, for example, features olive oil prominently. Olive oil provides beneficial nutrients on its own and also helps make important nutrients in other foods more available. Lightly sautéing your vegetables in olive oil, for example, might actually be better for you than boiling or steaming them – and they will probably taste better.

While oils, like other fats, are high in calories, they also offer some health benefits. To promote good health, focus on oils that offer more unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oil. Reduce your use of oils that are high in saturated fats such as tropical oils. Avoid oils that are partially hydrogenated or foods that are prepared with partially hydrogenated oils. As of June 2018, the
FDA no longer allows the use of partially hydrogenated oils due to health reasons, but some products received an extension so you may still see it around for a few more years. For now,
avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list.

Different oils will work better for different situations when cooking and preparing food. When sautéing, look for oils with higher smoke points like canola or peanut oil. Olive oil, with its lower smoke point is good for finishing a dish or in cold preparations like dressings and sauces because of the flavor and texture it adds. When baking, choose oils with neutral flavors. Regardless of which oil you use, remember to store it properly to prevent loss of quality. Keep oils away from heat and only buy as much as you will use in a couple months to reduce waste.

  1. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114:136-153.
  2. Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat). Available at:
Written by Julia Jordan and Jennifer M. Roberts, MS, RD.