A Healthy Diet Starts Now!

Article Written by Erin Jung, Sophomore and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

College students are notorious for their not-so balanced diets. We tend to reach for fast food, take out, packaged snacks, and microwavable meals. While these items are wonderful for convenience and are found at a reasonable price point, our health can often suffer from our less-than-stellar lifestyle choices.

There are several reasons as to why we should start caring more about which foods we’re fueling up on at this time in our lives. Some choices will have an immediate impact, while others can change the course of our health for years to come. Eating healthy can provide sustained energy over each day, and it can also improve our mood. Farther down the line, the right diet can help prevent a number of different diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, Miami’s dining halls consistently have healthful options available at all times of the day. It can be tempting to fill up on calorie dense-nutrient poor foods, but with a little bit of self-discipline, every student has the potential to put the right foods on our plates for a delicious and balanced meal.

So what are some of these healthy habits that we should be implementing now? Here are some things that all college students should at the very least consider practicing at this stage of life.

Eat a filling breakfast

It’s very cliché, but breakfast indeed is the most important meal of the day. Our brains and bodies require energy in order to take on the day ahead, and the most promising way to supply this energy is by eating a hearty breakfast. Yes, it may be easier just to grab a granola bar on the way to class, but this alone will not keep most students full and focused for very long. An inexpensive yet filling choice is oatmeal, as it’s extremely versatile, and you can add toppings of your choice to make it even tastier.

Say “no” to fast, fried food

While everything is okay in moderation, fried foods do not offer us any substantial nutritional benefits. In fact, lots of people complain about feeling sick or sluggish after eating these kinds of foods. Every once in a while it’s okay, but as we get older, we really need to focus on fueling our bodies with whole, unprocessed foods.

Sticking to water

You’ve all heard it a million times, but there’s a reason why people push the importance of drinking water – our bodies love this stuff! Soda and juice are high in sugar and quite frankly a waste of calories. Get yourself a high-quality, reusable, insulated water bottle to keep your water cold all day. It’s definitely worth the investment—you’ll save so much money by choosing not to buy plastic water bottles each day before class! If you like a sweeter taste to your water, try adding fruits to your water for a healthy alternative. You can find infused waters in Commons locations all across campus.


The key is to start small, implementing one or two of these tips at a time. With consistency and persistence, every college student can start eating better now to set the stage for the future of our health.

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National Nutrition Month: College Eating Habits

Article Written by Sarah Erb. Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

     Making sure to eat breakfast before my 8:30am is always the last of my worries on a Monday morning.  My biggest concern? Making sure my pants aren’t inside out before I walk into a lecture hall. So why fuss about what I eat while I’m in college?  I need fast, easy, and filling food.

    Without eating before your 8:30am, your body goes all morning while your brain and stomach are searching for fuel! Your stomach is rumbling before class is even over and by ten o’clock you have a hunger headache. Sometimes are bodies are giving us warning signs to tell us something is up. Usually, when your body needs some nutrients to go about its day, it will tell you! It may just be screaming via tummy rumble. Your 10:00 am headache may also be disrupting your concentration because you are dehydrated. Not getting enough water can make our minds cranky and affect our mood. Being hungry and dehydrated can cut into our study time and hold us back from completing daily tasks.

     Fast and easy foods for us college students usually mean something hot and greasy, something uptown with friends or between classes. Being ‘full’ and being ‘stuffed’ are two different things. If you’re feeling stuffed after eating then you probably should try slowing down while you eat your next meal. Make sure you have a glass of water to sip on in between bites. Talk and enjoy what you’re eating. Make sure to note how what you ate makes you feel later. Are you feeling greasy, sluggish, and bogged down? Maybe it is because of the grilled cheese, fries, and soda combo you chose to splurge on. The simplest (and grossest) way to tell if you’re being healthy on a daily basis: check your bathroom schedule.  Drinking eight glasses of water a day will have you using the latrine frequently! After a few of these eight ounce glasses, urine will be the desired pale yellow color. Looking at your bowels is another way to access your health from the past few days. If you haven’t had one of these in awhile then maybe it might be time for some fiber! Try whole grain bread options, or experiment with eating dark green leafy veggies.

Being healthy doesn’t have to be a stress on top of all our schoolwork! Carving out time in our days to fuel our bodies (and minds) with food will go a long way. We all want to get A’s but our bodies are also telling us signs of how well we are treating them! Eat breakfast, drink water, and remember to listen to what your body is asking for.

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National Nutrition Month: Improve Your Immune System

Article Written by Sarah Hagedorn, Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

Improving your immune system can start with foods and vitamins you consume in your diet. This article will give you 5 steps in working toward the improvement of your immune system!

Step 1

Start every meal by loading your plate half full of fruits and vegetables.

Step 2

Choose whole grains. Pass up refined grains. What does this mean? Whole grain is 100% untreated grain. This includes foods such as 100% wheat bread, oats, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat tortillas.

These whole grains have more nutrients and vitamins. Plus they can help prevent weight gain because whole grains are digested slower than refined grains (white bread, white rice, bagels). This means less of the bread you love to eat will be stored as fat. Look for 100% whole grains on the label.

Step 3

Choose lots of Vitamin C. Foods high in vitamin C include lemons, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, broccoli, oranges and many more.

Step 4

Eat healthy fats. All fat is bad right? No! Bad fats include trans and saturated fats. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; they are found in olive oil, nuts/seeds, and avocados.  Bad fats would be fats found in hamburgers, fries, and other greasy food examples.

Step 5

Drink and eat your calcium. Choose yogurt, milk, almond milk, coconut milk, soymilk, or low fat cheese every day.  Calcium is essential for our bodies to consume while we are young. Right now, our diet and physical activity determines how healthy our bones will be in later life.  Think about your bones and pour yourself a glass of milk!

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What’s Wrong with My Typical College Diet?

Article Written by Abby Larson, Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

      The average college lifestyle is not conducive to healthful habits. Erratic schedules, inconsistent sleep, limited budgets, and constant temptations are characteristic of college life added to the already present challenges of a healthy diet.  In this blog I’ll detail some college staples and easy changes to flip the “freshman fifteen” to “freshman fit”.


Organization events, Uptown, delivery services… pizza is everywhere for college students.  It’s easy, fast, and delicious.  Pizza varieties tend to be carb- and fat-laden, and deficient in important nutrients. Rather than the greasy, processed variety, try making pizza using whole wheat tortilla or naan bread with tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese, spinach, chicken, and basil. Substitute any other toppings for a pizza that’s just as satisfying without the guilt.


Ramen is notoriously simple to make. The flavor pack for the chicken variety contains an alarming 1,820 mg of sodium, and the FDA recommends consuming at most 2,300 mg per day. With a lot of sodium and little other nutritional benefits, ditch the flavor pack for seasonings such as garlic, pepper, or fresh herbs along with vegetables and a protein, like chicken, beef, shrimp, or an egg.  

Ramen frequently takes the form of a midnight meal. The timing of meals is as important as the meal itself. Indulging late at night usually doesn’t involve nutrient-dense foods, and on top of this, these calories are more likely to be stored as fat in your body.

Dining Halls

In dining halls, it’s easy to fill your plate up (maybe two or three times) with all the mac and cheese, fries, and chicken strips that fit.  Doing so can result in overeating certain nutrients like trans-fat or carbohydrates and missing out on others like fiber or vitamins.  Instead, make the most of the meal plan swipe by going in with a plan and filling up on the healthy options. A balanced plate of vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy leads to a more satisfying, and nutritious, experience.

In college, and in life, unhealthy and healthy options are available. By thinking about what you chose to eat and making healthful food choices will help you begin to make lifestyle changes. Preparing food by oneself takes a little more preparation and work but improves the taste and nutritional quality. Ultimately, healthy choices involves lifestyle changes that promote balance and variety. Making small changes can lead to significant improvements.

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March National Nutrition Month

Happy March! And Happy National Nutrition Month!

Did you know the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics puts on a campaign to promote nutrition education and information annually in March? The campaign began in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, but due to popularity it became National Nutrition month in 1980. National Nutrition month promotes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its members, Registered Dietitians, to the public and media as the most credible sources of nutrition information.

Each year National Nutrition Month focuses on a theme to share the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. National Nutrition Month’s 2018 theme is: Go Further with Food! The foods you choose to eat make a difference, whether it is choosing healthy snacks or reducing your portion sizes, in your overall health.

Go Further with Food Tips!

  • Eat Breakfast: start your morning with lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables to jump start your day.
  • Make half your plate fruit and vegetables: they add color, flavor and texture to your plate, plus the added benefits of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.
  • Watch portion sizes: reducing your portion sizes and eating slowly will increase your satiety cues and allow you to not overeat. Follow the MyPlate guidelines when making your plate
  • Resolve to Reduce Waste
    • Plan meals and snacks based on the foods you have on hand.
    • Get creative with leftovers. Transform them into soups, salads or sandwiches.
    • Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid throwing out excess food.
    • Donate extra foods, that are still safe to eat, to a local food pantry or shelter.

What is Miami Dining doing for National Nutrition Month?

  1. When you are in the dining halls look out for nutrition facts posted near serving lines.
  2. Check out our Nutrition Walls in Garden Commons and Western Dining Commons for nutrition information and pamphlets.
  3. We will be focusing on our March Superfood: Kale! Find Kale at our dining locations and learn more about the benefits of this superfood and how to use it in many different ways!
  4. Follow us on social media! We will be posting nutrition tips, nutrition trivia questions, recipes, dining hall hacks, blog posts from our Registered Dietitians and Dietetic students, and more!
  5. Tag us in your #HealthySelfie Take a picture of your food or your food and you! Tag @MiamiUDining and use the #HealthySelfieMiami to be entered into our National Nutrition Month Raffle!

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Student Spotlight – Jenny Nieman

Q: What is your title/role?

A: I am a Student Manager at the Starbucks on Maple Street.

Q: So are you a “barista?”

A: Yes, I am a certified barista through Starbucks. But as a Student Manager, I’m also in charge of delegating tasks, pulling sandwiches and pastries, that kind of stuff.

Q: What is your background like? Major, tc.

A: I grew up in Urbana, Ohio, in a super small farm town. I’m a major in Communications and Photography so I’m a very visual person. Working at Starbucks has allowed me to use some of my visual and artistic skills to work with marketing and advertising for the store.

Q: How did you get into the food service? Did you have prior experience?

A: I had no prior experience before coming to college. I worked as a camp counselor and I worked picking berries but never actually in food service. Freshman year I worked at Garden Commons for a semester and then I came to Starbucks and have been here for the last year and a half.

Q: What is the most exciting part of the job?

A: The time goes very quickly when there’s a line out the door. It’s exciting to just be able to move from one cup to another, and once you get in a rhythm you can just go.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with the other student employees?

A: Working in such a stressful environment in such small quarters kind of forces us to get to know each other and learn how to work with each other. This has allowed me to not only meet incredible people, but also to form friendships that I wouldn’t have otherwise found.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with guests?

A: When guests are nice, it makes your day. When they come in, ask you how you are and are very friendly it makes your day. Sometimes, people can get frustrated when we’re busy, but we just offer the best customer support we can and keep the drinks moving.

Q: How would you describe yourself personally? Hobbies? Interests?

A: Well my roommate has a dog, so I love to play with her. I’m also super outdoorsy. I love to hike, camp, kayak, all that. I’m very artistic; I love to do photography, paint, do crafts. Mostly I just love to be outside.

Q: What is one thing not many people know about you?

A: People know this once they get to know me, but I’m wildly optimistic. I find the good in literally everything.

Q: What is your favorite drink to prepare? What is your favorite drink to drink?

A: My favorite drink to prepare is the Starbucks Double Shot. It’s just ice and espresso. You shake it up real well, pour it in a cup and top it with milk. Once you top it off with milk, it’s all swirly and really pretty, so it’s fun to make. My favorite drink to drink is the London Fog Latte, which is Earl Grey Tea, and I like to put soy milk in it. Some people say it tastes like Froot Loops, but I think it’s really good. It’s a nice comforting tea drink.

Q: Favorite TV show?

A: I love The Office and New Girl. Again, I’m incredibly optimistic, so anything that’s a happy sitcom. Any comedies are usually my cup of tea. …haha I didn’t mean to make that pun.

Q: Cat or dog?

A: Dog 100 percent.

Q: What have you learned so far from Starbucks?

A: I’ve learned how to be more patient and how to handle a lot of stress. We can have a lineup of probably fifty cups and I no longer get stressed about it. It just pushes me to go a little faster, so my time management has definitely been improved.

Q: Any advice for applying/working for Miami University Dining?

A: Since I’ve mostly worked in Starbucks, which kind of feels like it’s own separate branch, I can’t give a ton of advice, but I would recommend it. I’ve enjoyed my time here and I plan to work here until graduation. Once you start, you usually end up meeting some pretty cool customers and you work with some great people. So having that experience has been a good one that’s taught me a lot.

Q: Anything else?

A: We’d love for you to come to Starbucks, but be patient and friendly. You’ll get a great drink and a great interaction.

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Dishing Up Healthy Meals

A healthy and balanced meal is crucial no matter the time. Breakfast, lunch, and 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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