Understanding Portion Sizes

Article written by Freshman SAND member, Lakin Steedly 

With busy schedules and all day/late night studying, trying to keep a healthy lifestyle can be a struggle. This stressful college life can influence poor sleeping, exercise and eating habits. One of the biggest factors in weight gain or loss (healthy or not), is eating habits. With buffet style dining at most colleges, it can be hard to know just how much to eat. Remember this little trick to make sure that you stay within the portions for the food you eat!

Protein (meat, poultry, fish, tofu) – size of your palm
Fruits and Veggies – Size of a baseball
Frozen Yogurt – size of a tennis ball
Breads – 1 Slice of bread
Cereal – Size of a baseball
Butter – Tip of your thumb
Pancake – Size of a CD

When you have rushed days, try purchasing premade food at a market so you’re not rushing and grabbing more/less than you should. If you are not rushed to eat, take time to sit down and eat your meal with no distractions. This trick makes sure that you’re taking your time to digest and eat your food. Most times in buffet style dining, when we are serving ourselves, we feel the need to finish everything on our plate. If we take the time to eat slowly and digest our food we are able to recognize our bodies feeling full and we can learn just how much our bodies need to satisfy our hunger.

Whether you’re in a college dining hall or your at home making yourself a bowl of cereal, try to remember the little tips that can help you keep a balance of what portion sizes are!


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Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th – April 13, 2018

Friday the 13th always seems to sneak up on us because it’s not an official holiday on most calendars. There isn’t a real, concrete answer as to where this non-traditional tradition originated, but many people still recognize the day. Some Nervous Nellies have attempted to create their own lucky practices to combat this day. Whether you’re superstitious or not, there’s no harm in being extra prepared! We’ve found some lucky foods from around the world and some foods to avoid to help you survive this Friday the 13th.

Grapes: Spanish New Year’s Eves are full of grapes! Not in wine, but whole grapes. Twelve of them, in fact. As the clock tolls to signal the beginning of a new year, it is tradition to eat one grape at each toll. This is supposed to bring good luck.

Fish: This is a popular lucky food for Germans. Some people even place a few scales from the fish that they eat into their wallet for good luck! Though I’m not sure I want to put fish scales in my wallet, this tradition probably originated because eating fish has a lot of health benefits.

Black-Eyed Peas: In the South, black-eyed peas are considered a “must-have” for luck. On New Year’s Day, Southerners say, you must eat black-eyed peas or else you will not have a lucky year. This could be a real superstition, but it could also be just a way to get children to eat their peas.

Lentils: Italians consider lentils to bring good luck. Probably because they are shaped like small gold coins, lentils are also rumored to bring good fortune. As a broke college student, I’m seriously considering starting to eat more lentils!

Noodles: Another New Year’s Day tradition comes from Asian cultures. The important part of this lucky meal is not to break the noodle before all of it is in your mouth! According to superstition, you won’t have a lucky year if the noodle breaks or is cut. Luckily, you can never have too much spaghetti!

Salt/Pepper: It is a popular belief that it is bad to spill salt. However in Azerbaijan, it is said that it will start a fight. The only way to combat this is to pour sugar on the spilled spice until it is cleaned. Keep some sugar around in the dining halls just in case! Or for another tradition, many Americans who spill salt throw some of it over their left shoulder with their right hand to ward off any bad luck.

Water: Full moons have often been considered bad luck, but Turkey takes it a step further. Turkish people believe that you should not drink water that has reflected the moonlight. If you do, you will have bad luck. So this Friday the 13th, keep your water away from windows at night!

Wishbones: You’ve probably heard of this one, but it is also popular in England. If two people pull on a wishbone, whoever ends up with the bigger part when it breaks gets to make a wish. Unfortunately, strength isn’t always a guarantee for a larger piece, so make sure you choose your opponent carefully.

Coffee: Next time you’re in Starbucks, you’ll have to keep this one in mind: It is often believed that if the bubbles on the top of coffee float toward you, you will come into wealth. Interestingly enough, this tradition comes from the land of tea: England. The superstition doesn’t say anything about stirring the coffee, so you may be able to control your fortune!
Want to test your knowledge on more superstitions? Follow this link to take a quiz on popular Friday the 13th frenzies: https://goo.gl/forms/8jfn3slsLn9IkicB3.


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Strawberry Benefits

Strawberries are April’s superfood of the month! This following article will talk about the health benefits and facts about this powerful little fruit.

Berries are generally known for containing a high nutrition content.  When it comes to fighting off an array of diseases and health problems, few berries can compete with the antioxidant-rich strawberry.  Strawberries are one of the most popular berries in the world and are grown primarily in the U.S., New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Italy, and Canada. There are over six hundred varieties of strawberry, and all of them have the unique appearance of seeds on the outside.  Indulge your taste buds with the sweet taste of strawberries and reap the health benefits. These small, delicious red berries are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, folates, and are low in calories.

Berry Nice Benefits

  • helps strengthen immune system
  • fights free radicals in the body
  • anti-cancer properties
  • boosts bone health
  • lowers blood pressure
  • high in dietary fiber
  • contain ample amount of vitamin B2, B5, B6, K, copper, omega fatty acids, essential fibers and magnesium
  • three or more servings of strawberries decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases.
  • Studies have proven that the acids present in strawberries may whiten teeth

How to Pick the Perfect Strawberry

  • Seek out a bright-red color when looking for strawberries
  • Avoid any dull colors or strawberries that have yellow or green patches, strawberries don’t ripen any further once they have been picked  
  • Your sense of smell will come in handy, when strawberries are ready to eat they give off a flavorful “strawberry” scent 
  • Smaller strawberries are known to have an optimal flavor
  • Ripe strawberries are firm, avoid mushy or soft strawberries
  • If you’re selecting pre-packed strawberries, make sure they aren’t packed too tightly to avoid buying damaged fruit

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Easy Dorm Recipes

Article Written by Emily Gabel, Sophomore and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

Living in a dorm creates many challenges, due to the minimal space and cooking resources available. In a dorm, you do not have the ability to cook a full meal. Although some dorms have kitchenettes in the common areas, is it extremely rare that students utilize them to cook meals more than once a week. With these challenges, it becomes necessary to get creative when wanting to make a meal from the dorm building late at night.

There are many options for dorm breakfast recipes. My personal favorite dorm breakfast meal is overnight oats. Overnight oats are the solution to having a breakfast meal ready for you when you wake up, and a nutritional and tasteful one at that.

Overnight oats require a jar or container with a lid, oats, milk and any sort of add ins you prefer, such as fruits, nut butters or seeds. All of these ingredients are sold at campus markets. To prepare overnight oats fill a glass jar or container with old fashioned oats, to the level of which you think you’ll eat the next morning. Next, fill the jar with milk so that the oats are covered. If you are needing a caffeine pick up, pour 1 cup of brewed coffee into the container with oats, instead of milk. Finally, add toppings to the oats and any sort of spices or flavorings you wish. Simply cover the container with a lid and place in the fridge overnight and you have yourself a nutritious breakfast ready when you wake up!

A dish I love to make in my dorm for lunch or dinner is a Mexican corn salad. For those who would never choose to eat a salad for a meal at the dining hall, this may just be your kind of salad. This salad, unlike what you’re offered at the dining hall, is not lettuce based. A Mexican corn salad has a corn base, which is made from cooking canned corn in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes. After cooking the corn, add black beans, peppers, onions, cilantro and cheese to the corn to make a complete salad. A yogurt based dressing is paired well with this salad. You can make a simple yogurt based salad dressing with products purchased from campus markets. The dressing consists of plain yogurt, lime juice, paprika and cumin.

Not only are these recipe suggestions easy to make in your dorm room, but they are great ideas to mix and match with items served in the dining halls!


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March Superfood: Kale

Kale, the dark green leafy cabbage is March’s featured superfood! Kale is a superfood because it is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet, carrying powerful antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.  Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is related to cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Curly kale, or Scots kale, is the most popular type of kale although there are a variety of kale to choose from.  Leaves can be purple or green in color with a curly or smooth shape.

Ways to Prep Kale

Although it may sound silly, there is serious science behind massaging your kale before you eat it.  Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens contain intense disease-fighting phytochemicals, or messengers that deliver antioxidants, hidden in the fibrous stems.   Massaging, chopping or blending kale will break the nutrient-dense cell walls and will release antioxidants that heat can’t perform alone.  Massaging your kale will also soften the fibers of the leaves.

Kale-Friendly Ideas:

  • Blend kale into a smoothie
  • Incorporate kale with your salad greens
  • Bake kale until crisp to make kale chips
  • Wilt kale into your favorite curry
  • Stir kale into your favorite soup

What are the Health Benefits?

A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) has 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.   

  • Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene).
  • Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA
  • Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDA
  • Calcium: 9% of the RDA
  • Copper: 10% of the RDA
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDA

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Sustainability and Food Waste

What is sustainability and food waste?

Sustainability is the study of how systems produce everything it needs for organisms (you and me) and the environment to remain in balance. Sustainability includes three pillars, which includes economic development, social development and environmental protection. The goals of sustainability include ending poverty and hunger, improved standards for education and healthcare, economic growth, and health of the land, air and sea. Food waste is the act of discarding or using food in a non-food that was safe and nutritious for consumption. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States estimates that each year one-third of all food produce is wasted.

How is Miami University Dining contributing to sustainability and reducing food waste?

  1. Miami University Dining utilizes recycling to help protect the environment.
  2. All trays were removed from buffet dining locations. Since our buffet locations are “all-you-can-eat” you have the ability to go back to buffet lines as many times as you like to get more food. By removing trays from all buffet locations, this encourages students and guests to fill up one plate at a time, instead of filling a whole tray.
  3. Dining staff utilizes batch cooking daily during service. This is where staff prep recipes and items prior to service, but do not cook them until they are needed. Once the food is cooked it is policy that it be thrown out after service has ended, regardless of how much is left. If it is not cooked then it can be frozen and saved for later use. By utilizing batch cooking, this allows staff to cook as needed and reduces the amount of produced food items that are thrown out, therefore reducing food waste.

How can you contribute to sustainability and reducing food waste in the dining halls?

  1. When you are dining at a buffet location try to only fill your plate with the amount you will eat. Start with small portions and if you are hungry after eating your first plate you have the ability to go back for seconds, and so on, until you are full and satisfied.
  2. When you are dining at an ala carte location save your leftovers for a later meal, instead of throwing them out.
  3. Be intentional with the items you purchase at markets or grocery stores so that you can help reduce food waste. When shopping at markets or grocery stores look at expiration dates on the items you purchase. Think about if you will be able to eat the products before the expiration date. If not, then reconsider why you want that item and what an alternative could be to reduce food waste.

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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.

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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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