Tag Archives: food

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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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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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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Rocking Around the Food Table

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make…holiday season the hardest time to eat well. If the plethora of food at holiday parties weren’t enough to disregard a diet at all, there are all those tempting holiday songs. From decking the halls and rockin’ around the tree, it’s a safe bet that whatever you do this holiday season, there will be plenty of food and drink involved. So toss on a Santa hat and dive into the spirit of the season with these food-mentioning classics. Just click the food in the lyrics to get the recipe if you want to make some holiday foods!

The Christmas Song – “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – “Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie and we’ll do some caroling”

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Sleigh Ride – “There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy when they pass around the coffee and the.. pumpkin pie

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Let It Snow – “It doesn’t show signs of stopping, and I’ve brought some corn for popping”
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We Wish You a Merry Christmas – “Now bring us some figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer”

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You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – “You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel”

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There’s no recipe for this one unless you want a gross banana…but it mentioned food!

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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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