Tag Archives: dining

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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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)


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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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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Staff Spotlight – Chef Casey Johnson

Executive Chef Casey Johnson is passionate not only about his craft, but about his job here at Miami and his family. He is one of five executive chefs on campus and he takes care of Armstrong Student Center,  Bell Tower Commons, and King Cafe – Armstrong being the place he spends most of his time. Update: As of Monday, November 20th, Casey Johnson was promoted into the Corporate Executive Chef role of dining services. We are excited about him being in this new position!

What is your background like? Personal/Professional?

I am from Sylvania, Ohio right outside of Toledo. I went right out of high school to culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. From there I did my externship at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, which is a big hunting/equestrian high-end style resort. After graduating, I did an MIT (manager in training) program at school and was a sous chef for a restaurant on campus. After moving back to Toledo with my wife, I held a sous chef position at a local country club and an Italian restaurant called Mancy’s for 3-4 years. After my time at Mancy’s, I accepted a food and beverage director/executive chef position at the Hilton Garden Inn in Findlay. My wife was then accepted into a position here at Miami, then I was lucky enough to accept a position here a year ago in October.

What is the most exciting part about the job?

Not just in this job, but in the industry in general, you learn something new every day. I am not a desk person and I don’t like sitting still, which is perfect for this industry.

What made you decide to be a chef?

I don’t really know. I am the only chef in the family other than a far extended cousin. I always grilled with my dad and baked with my mom, but neither of my parents are culinarians. I grew up on your basic mid-west style cooking with mayonnaise-based casseroles and flank steak (haha). I am not sure on what made me want to do it, but it is probably a love from the arts. I wanted to be a zoologist, then a photographer, then an architect, focusing my mind on the arts.

How would you describe your relationship with the guests?

Friendly! I love talking and working with the guests. Some people would be shocked to find out I’m introverted, but that’s because I’ve challenged myself to be extroverted to improve my overall communication. As a food and beverage director prior, I had to work directly with guests, which improved my customer service. I’m still getting used to seeing so many students, even though we have some regulars, it’s a joy to meet new people everyday.

What is your favorite thing about MU Dining?

I like the diversity of it! I think that working within the department and with the direction we are going, it’s going to get even more diverse. I know most dining has pizza or stir-fry, but we get to do new and exciting dishes here – with more to come! I helped collaborate with the opening of 4 new concepts in Armstrong – the Toasted Bagel, Cafe Lux, Red Zone, and Haines update.

How would you describe yourself personally?

I am passionate. If we talk food, I can talk all day due to my passion for the industry itself. I drive myself because of my passions and for the food industry. I definitely take my pride for work home and instill the idea of passion to my daughter as much as I can. Honestly, I genuinely love hanging out and cooking with my daughter because I’m a family man. I like to cook at home as well but not as high-end cuisine.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I really enjoy photography. Since the industry is so busy, it’s tough to have hobbies outside of work, but I’ve recently picked up photography again. I definitely want to start hiking and biking more because I really like spending time outside. Doing activities help me to clear my mind from the busy weeks I have.

What is your favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Parmesan Risotto. The simplicity comes with its ingredients, but it’s a dish that takes passion to execute properly. As far as a favorite dish to eat, that changes all the time. I prefer cooking Italian though. I was trained more in Italian-style of cooking. The French-style is to take the ingredients and make it their own, while the Italian-style is to take the ingredients and enhance the flavor that is naturally there.

What is your favorite TV show?

I’ve always watched House and can habitually watch it. The Office is also one of my favorites. I enjoy the comedy in both.

Cat or dog?

I am a dog person. I have a wheaten terrier at home. I am allergic to cats and dogs in a way.

Any advice for people applying/working for MU Dining?

This is a great place to work! You’re not going to find better benefits and community in this area. We want people to apply and want people here. It requires time on your feet and work ethic, but it pays well and has a welcoming feel to it.

Stay connected and follow @MiamiUDining on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!