Dishing Up Healthy Meals

A healthy and balanced meal is crucial no matter the time. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, are equally important to focus on. Everything you eat and drink over time matters. Making good decisions each time you eat can will make you healthier now and in the future. Start with small changes that work for you and make healthy eating enjoyable.

Try these tips: 

  • Make 50% of your plate a combination of fruits and vegetables.
  • Vary your veggies
  • Make 50% of your grains whole grainslike brown rice and oats
  • Switch to low-fat or fat-free yogurt and dairy
  • Vary your protein choices (poultry, lean beef, fish)
  • Reduce your sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar intakes

Support from the USDA

MyPlate is an online nutritional resource curated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Their main goal is to educate Americas on building a balanced meal, which means including nutrients from every food group. To better communicate the recommended serving sizes, the USDA developed a plate graphic divided into four approximate sections— 40% vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein, 10% fruits and dairy.

The MyPlate website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, gives additional health tips such as making half of all grains whole grains, varying protein choices, and switching from whole milk to skim milk.

Choose Colorful Foods

We can all agree that taste, cost, and convenience are important factors when picking a meal or snack. There are endless food options that fulfill these three criteria, however, many of them are devoid of the vitamins and minerals our body needs. Crackers, cereals, chips, cookies, and fried foods all fit the bill. Another similarity? They’re all beige, brown and boring. A quick, visual tip for building a healthier meal is to vary the colors you consume. Natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, are often most colorful when they are at their ripest. This is also the point when they have developed the highest nutrient concentrate. So, the brighter the better!

Recommended Serving Sizes

These servings are based on a 2,000 calorie based diet and may vary depending on age, gender, and whether or not you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight.

  • Grains: 6–8 servings per day
  • Vegetables: 4–5 servings per day
  • Fruits: 4–5 servings per day
  • Fat-Free or Low-Fat Dairy Products: 2–3 servings per day
  • Lean Meats, Poultry, and Seafood: less than 6 oz. per day
  • Fats and Oils: 2–3 servings per day

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Staff Spotlight – Corinne Gilardi

Registered Dietitian Corinne Gilardi is a Miami alum who has recently joined the Dining Services staff. She helps students who have dietary restrictions (allergies, intolerances, preferences, etc.) determine what they can safely eat on campus.

Q: When you were at Miami, what was your major?

A: I was a double major in Dietetics and Health Promotion.

Q: How did you pick your major?

A: I chose my major randomly. My mom’s a nurse practitioner, so I’ve always grown up around the medical/health field. I knew I wanted to do something like that, but I quickly found out I cannot do “nurse things,” so I was trying to find alternate options. When I was applying for Miami, I didn’t want to apply undecided on the application. I just scrolled through the options and nutrition popped out. So I said, “Okay, I’ll click that for now and we’ll see how it goes.” Then my first class freshman year was Intro to Nutrition and I fell in love ever since.

Q: How did you get in to food services? What was your experience?
A: After I graduated from Miami in 2016, I had to do a dietetic internship. All registered dietitians have to do this internship before they can take their boards to be a registered dietitian. During my internship, I had to do rotations in clinical, community, and food service. When I did my food service rotation, I was in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I did my rotation with Cincinnati Public Schools and Norwood City Schools. Through that, I found that I really enjoyed working with students and educating and making sure that they were aware of the foods that they could eat.

Q: What would you say is the most exciting part of your job?

A: The most exciting part of my job is working with the students and them seeing that they’re able to eat a lot of the foods that we have on campus, being a nut friendly facility, the allergen station at Western, and the gluten friendly station at Maplestreet Commons. Some students who have a lot of allergies are very concerned about what they can and can’t eat. Once they meet with me, it’s fun to see them be excited about the options.

Q: How would you describe yourself personally? What are your hobbies?

A: I’m outgoing. I like to talk a lot and make new friends. I like to hang out with my sister; she’s my best friend. I like to cook, exercise and go try new restaurants. I’m a total foodie. My friends and family are important to me!

Q: What is your favorite dish to prepare?

A: I’m Italian, so I like to make my great-grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs. It’s just a good comfort food. Maybe not the most healthy… but that’s alright. Moderation! Moderation is my key to life.

Q: What is your favorite dish to eat?

A: It’s not a dish, but my favorite food is ice cream. Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip all the way.

Q: What is your favorite TV show?

A: Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve become very addicted to it. I started watching it when I was a freshman in college and I think I’ve watched it all the way through two or three times.

Q: Cat or dog person?

A: Dog. I have two dogs actually: Cookie and Faith.

Q: What have you learned so far in your position?

A: I’ve learned that communication is key. You learn communication when you’re in school about making sure you email, but it’s not just email communication. It’s the face-to-face communication and making sure that everyone is on the same page. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned throughout this process. Not only making sure that you’re saying the right things, but that you’re also telling it effectively to everyone who needs to know. 

Q: What is your advice for a student applying to work in Miami University Dining?

A: Just do it! When I went to school here, I worked in a dining hall for two years. I did that because I needed money as a college student, but I also did it because it gave me something else to do. I wasn’t just sitting in my room or sitting in an academic building doing homework all the time. It took up a couple hours out of my day. But just do it. And if you have questions, reach out. Ask the managers. Ask the student managers. Get involved!

____________

Schedule a meeting with the Corinne to get answers to your questions about eating healthy or eating on campus with food allergies. She can speak with you about many nutrition topics. Here are some of the most frequent topics students ask about:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Weight Loss
  • Special Diets, like food allergies, medical conditions, and lifestyle restrictions
  • Healthy Cooking
  • And more!

Email: gilardcr@miamioh.edu

Phone: 513-529-5552


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Caffeine Fixes ______.

It’s super early in the morning, your alarm goes off and you reluctantly drag yourself out of bed. The first thing you gravitate toward? Coffee. For a lot of us, coffee before anything is a must. Why is caffeine the thing that wakes us up and keeps us up? A lot of us believe that caffeine fixes various things – headaches, morning grogginess, energy, moods, etc. Let’s dive in a little on what effects caffeine has on the body, training performance, and which drinks other than coffee contain caffeine that give you the same kick?

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a phytochemical (a big word), which is seen largely inside the beans of the coffee plant and in the leaves of the tea among some other plants. Caffeine is made in the leaves through photosynthesis. Caffeine holds a generally bitter taste, which is often disguised in drinks by a lot of sugar or sweetener.

How does caffeine work?

The effects of caffeine can vary. In particular, the heart and nervous system are stimulated by the sharp effect of caffeine. Not in a good mood? Caffeine is a mood booster with a great impact on the mood and spirit. It improves awareness, concentration and prevents drowsiness. To an extent, it also grows your memory span. As caffeine has such positive results on your mental performance it works against every energy slump.

Caffeine doesn’t just present mental benefits, it’s also pretty helpful for your body. Drinking caffeine in big doses (but not too big) increases the heartbeat, the heart beats faster and stronger resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead us to feel fit and energetic.

Does caffeine impact athletic performance?

Caffeine also has advantages in sports. It can improve attention and concentration, for example, your reactions. Fatigue and tiredness are also pushed back by the results of caffeine. It gets circulation going and makes you more alert. It can boost your performance and give you the needed energy kick at the critical point of your workout. Read more here about caffeine and athletic performance.

The right amount?

If you consume caffeine too frequently, you won’t feel the positive effects. Why? Because your body gets used to the caffeine dose. When you consume caffeine in high doses it can also cause insomnia, nervousness, and stomach issues. Also, your fine motor skills can worsen with too much caffeine – not the best news. Even a single cup of coffee can lead a person to encounter an increase in their heart rate, while someone else might not feel anything. The effect of the body may change and is varied from person to person. One major point to learn is that caffeine should be consumed in moderation. Too much caffeine of any kind can become addicting and very difficult to withdraw from. If you think that caffeine is the solution to a less groggy morning, you might be right, but a healthier alternative might be a good nights rest. 


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February Superfood: Beets

Beets are February’s superfood of the month! What is a superfood you may ask? A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. This nutrient-dense root beatable is the perfect source for vitamins and health benefits. Their rich pop of color can brighten up your plate and your day with its deep red and purple zing. Beets are young, firm little red ball-shaped plants that are known to have a unique earthy sweetness. This earthy sweetness can deliciously be paired with shape flavors like goat cheese or lemon.

You Can’t Beet the Health Benefits

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boost stamina
  • Fight inflammation
  • Supports detoxification
  • Rich in folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects
  • Anti-cenver properties
  • Rich in vitamin C, fiber, iron, and essential minerals such as manganese and potassium
  • Supports brain and bone health

How to Eat Beets

Did you know that the leaf on the beat root is edible? The leaf is part of the healthiest part of the plant. Beet greens actually have more iron than spinach! Whether thinly sliced or grated, beets are perfect to eat fully raw or cooked. Before eating the beet root, be sure to peel its paper-thin skin off, which can be done when it’s raw. Beets are high in carbohydrates and have a high sugar content, so it is important to eat them in moderation.

Cooking Beets

Beets are phytonutrient, and high temperatures may diminish the many nutrients that beets contain. Be are to cook beets lightly–steaming vegetables is one of the top ways to cook vegetables to retain nutrients. When roasting beets, it is recommended to roast it with the peel and then rub the peel off afterwards.


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Top 5 Dining Changes – Spring 2018

1. Pulley Diner Candy Bar

Grab a bag and fill it with all your childhood favorites. Choose from throwback candies such as Root Beer Barrels, Caramel Squares and Atomic Fireballs.

2. Spring Menu Updates

Taken straight from student feedback, many venue offerings have been updated for Spring 2018:

  • Bulk coffee and bagel sales at The Toasted Bagel
  • Cincinnati Chili Dog (our Dueling Dogs contest winner!) at Red Zone
  • The “Q” Pulled Pork at Maple Grill
  • Mac and Cheese Bites at Maple Grill

3. More Healthy Options

This semester’s menu review was focused heavily on providing healthy foods on a daily basis. In general, we look at balancing our buffet options with all macronutrients. In addition to revamping our fresh fruit and salad bars at every location, we have taken a look at commonly fried foods and manipulated the cooking to reach a healthier alternative.  

4. More Vegan Options

Every buffet location will have a featured vegan entree of the meal as well as tasty vegan desserts and muffins.

 5. Spring Special Meals

  • Chinese New YearFebruary 14 (lunch at Western Commons – International Station)
  • Healthy MiamiFebruary 21 (dinner at Martin Commons)
  • Throwback ThursdayMarch 7 (lunch at Bell Tower Commons)
  • Healthy MiamiMarch 28 (lunch at Maplestreet Commons)
  • Food Truck CompetitionApril 9–13 (TBD)
  • Pulley PicnicMay 2 (lunch on the patio outside Pulley Diner)
 

*BONUS*

Commons Express at Maplestreet Station

No time to sit down at an all-you-care-to-eat location? Visit Commons Express (formerly The Q) to get Select menu items to-go! In exchange for one buffet swipe*, you will choose an entree, two sides, a salad, a fountain drink, a whole fruit and a dessert from a menu that mirrors the rotating offerings at Maplestreet Commons.

*Guest swipes are not available for use at this location. Declining balance plans are accepted and will be charged at the current door rate of $9.95 for lunch and $11.95 for dinner.


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Is Chocolate Healthy?

We bet you’ve heard of chocolate being healthy for you, right? Is there such a thing? Chocolate’s reputation is actually changing. There are a lot of studies that suggest it can be a healthy choice for your heart (in moderation). There are great health components found in cocoa like flavanols, theobromine, and antioxidants. To break it down, flavanols are found in cocoa and chocolate. Research shows that flavanols have influences on blood flow to the brain and heart. Theobromine is another heart-healthy compound found in chocolate and has been used to treat high blood pressure.

Prevent Heart Disease?

In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period – pretty crazy! Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolates flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.

Antioxidants in chocolate?

Antioxidants are known to support the body’s cells to resist damage. Antioxidants are actually located in a lot of foods! These include berries, nuts, grains, some meats, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and CHOCOLATE.

Are all chocolates healthy?

Cocoa naturally has a very strong taste, which comes from the flavanols.  When cocoa is placed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through multiple steps to lessen this taste. The more chocolate is processed, the more flavanols are lost.  That’s why picking dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate is best.

How much is right for me?

There is currently no set healthy serving size for chocolate. However, you don’t need to feel guilty anymore if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate every now and then. If you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation.


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Cure Your Cold, Fight the Flu

For college students, it’s difficult to keep healthy and germ-free at school. The packed dorms and classrooms, stress, anxiety, an inadequate diet, and lack of sleep, can easily add up to a cold or flu. You can try to prevent it by taking the flu vaccine and excessive hand washing, but sometimes it’s not preventable.

There are a lot of great foods that can boost your immune system, but if you do develop a cold or get a bad case of the flu, there are also various healthy foods which can help reduce your symptoms and speed up recovery.

Feeling run down and sick can often ruin your appetite, but it really is necessary to stay well nourished and hydrated to help your body battle infections. So what should you eat?

Chicken Soup:

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-Keeps you hydrated

-Relieves congestion in nose and throat

-Reduces inflammation associated with a cold

-Soothes sore throat

Vegetable Soups and Stews:

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-Full of vegetables and lean meats

-Proteins and nutrients

-Boosts immune system

-Reduces inflammation associated with a cold

Spicy foods (chili pepper, wasabi, etc):

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-Open sinuses and eases congestion

-In small amounts it’s good for you (don’t eat too much)

Bananas:

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-Rich in potassium

-Easy to digest

-Helps lower body temperature

-Replenishes lost electrolytes


Foods with Vitamins A and C:

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-Vitamin A strengthens immune system and mucus membranes

-Vitamin C boosts immune system and gets rid of colds faster

  • Oranges, Strawberries, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots

Yogurt:

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-Live, friendly bacteria in yogurt that can aid your immune system

-Great source of protein

-Soothes your throat


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New Year, New Eating Habits

Try these healthy eating resolutions for a healthier you in the new year.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the “New Year, New You” phrase that comes with the change of the year. It’s even easier to let that phrase fizzle out by the third week of January or so. Why not attack the age-old “lose weight” and “eat healthier” resolutions from a different perspective and cut them into more manageable pieces? Knowing that you can manage an effective diet plan year-round, not just when the new year comes around, then life might be a little easier. These following steps can help even someone who is scared to take the leap into dieting.

  1. Up Your Fiber Intake Getting enough fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and may help you slim down. With all these benefits from fiber, the average American eats about 14 grams of day – the recommended daily intake is 21 to 38 grams. One of the easiest ways to up your fiber intake is to eat more whole grains. Quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur and polenta are all quick-cooking options to add to your weeknight repertoire. Solution: experiment with whole grains.
  2. Pile on the Veggies The majority of Americans don’t eat the daily recommended 3 or more servings of vegetables. If you’re of the mindset that “vegetables don’t taste good,” but know you should eat more of them since they’re packed full of healthy nutrients and fiber, get a roasting pan. Roasting vegetable caramelizes their natural sugars so they taste fantastic. It’s an easy way to cook veggies for dinner–pop a pan of them in the oven and make the rest of dinner while they roast.
  3. Cook at Home When you cook your own food, not only do you know exactly what goes into it, you appreciate your meals more. So, hop onto Pintrest and whip up something you have been craving! With all the food blogs out there, there is a healthy hack for about every recipe! Have fun with experimenting with new things!
  4. Reduce the Sugar Get your sweet fix with fruit or try other natural sweeteners such as honey or agave, steering away from refined, processed white sugar. Going on a 30 day sugar detox can help reset the body from craving the sticky stuff! Keeping sweet stuff out of reach can better help you control your sugar intake, so try to stay clear of the donut and candy aisle at the grocery store.
  5. Eat More Omeg-3s Upping the amount of omega-3s will help keep your blood pressure down and also has been studied to improve your mood. Omega-3’s can be found in seafood and have the good kind of fats! Try to eat two servings of fish per week. If you’re not into seafood add some flax into your smoothies.

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