Tag Archives: college

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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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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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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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)


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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


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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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Favorite Holiday Foods

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. to eat! Each year during the holiday time you plan what gifts you are getting others and of course the holiday foods that make the season truly bright. Families arrive from all around, inevitable conversations about college and how you don’t have a future planned out yet, and a lot of gift-giving happens during this time. This season is either peaceful and exciting, or hectic and full of anxiety. What a better way to top it all off with a holiday dinner?

We surveyed college students asking which holiday foods are their favorite and we listed the top 10 foods to get you into the holiday spirit:

(87%) Potatoes (Sweet, Mashed, etc.)

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(82%) Christmas Cookies

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(82%) Hot Chocolate

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(72%) Bread (Any kind)

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(57%) Fruit

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(57%) Vegetables

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(55%) Corn

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(54%) Stuffing

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(53%) Turkey

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(45%) Ham

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Food for Finals

After you crammed for those midterms, you promised the end of the semester would be different and you would NOT cram.  But somehow finals have crept up on you, and now you’re essentially preparing to live in King library for exam week…we’ve all been there. If you find that finals season means living on extra-large iced coffees and late-night pizza deliveries for days at a time, this blog is for you.

Healthy eating through exams is not impossible. In fact, preparing nutritious study snacks might be easier than you think. Below are some amazing food ideas to pack when migrating to the library. These options are mostly accessible on campus, easy to pack, and provide essential nutrients to fuel your body and your brain.

Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread – This simplistic sandwich provides protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Carrots and hummus – That crunch is oh so satisfying!  Other veggies like bell peppers and cucumber slices are great with hummus too.

Whole fruit – Some like to bring an apple or banana, but there are so many other portable fruit choices including peaches, oranges, grapes, strawberries, etc.

String cheese – Cheese can be a great source of calcium, protein, and additional vital nutrients. String cheese is made prepackaged, so no need to worry about portions.

Tips for studying and snacking:

Keepin’ it cool. Need to keep food cool but don’t have an insulated lunch box? Just freeze a water bottle the night before, insert it with your food, and things should stay cool for several hours.

Warm it up. Craving something warm like soup or fancy to heat up a cup of tea while studying? There is a microwave ready for students to use in King Library!

Take a break. When cramming for hours on end, try to stop and eat something every 3 to 4 hours. This can improve your energy level and give structure to your study sessions.

Keep your place well stocked. The answer to eating well when life gets disordered is to make it as simple and convenient as possible, which means having healthy foods nearby.

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Diverse Dining

Ready to travel the world now and try different food from different nations? Can’t afford the trip? Well, Miami University strives not only for various options in food but we add diversity in the food being presented. You might be hungry for stir fry one second, spicy food the next, and vegan options the following day. With over 15 dining locations, we provide over 12 different diverse food options such as Italian, Mongolian, Chinese, Greecian, Indian, and more!

There are la carte options that provide a variation in food selections for whatever you might be craving that day. For example, the delicious Mein Street is an Asian and Mongolian grill that will indulge your desire for stir-fry. Right next door to Mein Street is Haines Boulangerie, complete with Mediterranean-style food such as paninis and gyro flatbreads that allow for you to experience some unique flavors.IMG_4162 copy-min

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The most diverse locations include Bell Tower and Western Dining Commons with 9 different countries represented, so you can experience all the flavors around the globe in the small town of Oxford, Ohio. Bell offers American, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food in an all-you-can-eat buffet, so dive right in. Western Dining Commons is a buffet that has a designated international station that completes everyone’s needs for food diversity. You can choose from items inspired by the cuisines of India, Italy, Greece, France, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica and more. This concept also includes homestyle picks from the U.S. This station offers a mixture of customizable items and ready-made items

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Ready to taste the world right in your backyard? Miami Dining is the place to be.

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Eat Your Breakfast!

How important is breakfast?

Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. Without breakfast, your body could be without fuel for up to 16 hours from dinner to the next day’s lunch. Your body needs a consistent energy intake to maintain proper function and breakfast is also a great way to kick start your day.

Make your breakfast full of protein! This will help keep you full until lunchtime and prevent overeating due to excessive hunger.

Most people are busy bees and give the excuse of “I don’t have time to eat breakfast.” Even if a big breakfast isn’t possible, a quick bite can be beneficial. If you’re in need of some ideas for a quick, on the go breakfast, check out some ideas below, lots of the ideas can be found at to-go or market locations on campus!

We also have breakfast combos on campus that are an equivalent to a swipe!Breakfast swipe_TW

Easy on-the-go breakfast ideas:

  • Greek yogurt (found on campus)
  • Cereal bars
  • Peanut butter or avocado toast
  • Cup of fruit (found on campus)
  • Premier protein shake or Core Power pre made protein drinks (found on campus)
  • Banana or zucchini bread
  • Oatmeal or cereal cups (found on campus)

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