Navigating the Dining Hall

When you are on campus to dine, whether it’s at the dining hall or a retail location it can be overwhelming at first trying to decide where to sit and what to eat. Orient yourself, read the menu and become familiar with the place. It’s going to be fun…a place to meet, eat and socialize with friends. There will be lots of options. Good nutrition is about the choices you make.

Use these quick tips for navigating the dining hall to help you make a Mindful choice:

  1. Take two trips through the line. Use the first trip to familiarize yourself with the options. Take the second trip to decide what you really want to eat. You will avoid overfilling your plate with foods you may not want.
  2. Try for a “real meal.” One chicken wing, one meatball, a few fries, a slice of pizza and a cookie is not a meal that will leave you feeling fit. Choose an “appetizer” like vegetable soup or salad, a lean protein with whole grain and vegetables, a fruit, water to drink, and a small glass of low-fat chocolate milk for dessert.
  3. Include a fruit and vegetable (or two). Fruits and vegetables are foods that fill you up without filling you out. These Mindful choices contain more water, fiber, vitamins and minerals with fewer calories than other types of foods. Combine with a lean source of protein such as chicken or fish and a whole grain such as pasta or rice and you have a satisfying meal!
  4. Share. College is about trying new things. See a dish you want to try but aren’t sure you’ll like it? Get your usual plate of food and sample the new entrée with a friend. You won’t feel the need to overeat.
  5. Don’t get too hungry. When we let ourselves get too hungry, we tend to overeat – usually on less than nutritious options. By eating breakfast and packing snacks, you can prevent that ravenous feeling. Try eating every 3-4 hours. You’ll make better choices at meal times!
  6. Slow down. Before you go for a second helping, take 15-20 minutes to let your body digest the food you’ve just eaten. It takes about that long before we can decide if our bodies are still hungry. Take your time; enjoy the conversation and your food!

Reel in the Benefits of Fish

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Nutritionally speaking, fish is one of the best protein sources available, but as an unsung hero, it‘s often overlooked in favor of proteins such as chicken and beef.  Maybe you hated fish as a child, don’t really know how to cook fish, are scared of bones, or concerned about mercury.  Don’t let these objections stop you from ‘reeling’ in the benefits; the health benefits of fish far outweigh any issues.  Plus, it’s really delicious!

Fish is a low-fat, nutrient dense food.  It’s a great source of vitamin B2, vitamin D, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Current research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids provide cardiovascular benefits including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, helping to drop triglyceride levels and preventing blood clots.  They may also have a role in alleviating symptoms of depression, inflammation and auto-immune disorders.

To get that omega-3, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating approximately two 3-ounce servings of oily fish per week for reduced risk of chronic diseases.  Typically, omega-3s are found in all fish, but are especially high in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring and sea bass.

The FDA has recently changed recommendations, encouraging everyone to consume 8-12 oz of a variety of fish weekly.  The health benefits of fish outweigh concerns about mercury, even for pregnant women and young children. Only a few larger predatory fish like swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel should be avoided.

Cooking fish can be easier than you think.  Fish is very versatile and can be paired with many flavors. The best and healthiest ways to consume fish are to steam, bake, broil or grill fish.   If you are looking for a challenge in the kitchen, try baking fish “en papiollote.”  Get creative by layering fish with mixed veggies and spices of your choice, wrap up in parchment paper and bake until tender!

Mindful Offerings

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Mindful offerings meet stringent nutritional criteria based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Each meal part is limited in calories, has fewer than 30% of calories as fat, fewer than 10 % of calories as saturated fat, and is restricted in sodium, and cholesterol. Chefs in our test kitchen develop recipes to meet these criteria in delicious fashion! Look for the Mindful icon to indulge in the healthy and delicious items offered at each meal.

Being well and eating well means becoming aware of choices and making the right decisions to achieve a better today and a better tomorrow. Your Sodexo dining team is committed to offering you a wide range of options for a healthy dining experience. From recipes that include the most nutritious mix of ingredients to offering educational resources for positive lifestyle habits, healthy options are the result of a team dedicated to advancing the well-being of the entire campus community.

Another important part of our focus on health and wellness is the use of seasonal menus, featuring fresh and healthy ingredients many of which are grown by local or regional farmers. Every season has its own unique produce that is showcased in delicious signature dishes to highlight the distinct flavors and natural appeal of seasonal items.

For students who have special dietary and nutritional needs we have informational resources and customized menus to address your needs. These menus meet the strictest compliance standards, without sacrificing flavor, texture or presentation.

Sodexo’s nutrition icons make it easy to identify healthy choices. Look for these nutrition icons on the foods being served on your campus to help you meet your dietary needs or desires. If you need assistance finding the right types of foods for you, please reach out to your on-campus Sodexo manager or chef.

If you have additional dietary questions, please contact us so we can help! Sodexo has registered dietitians ready to answer your questions and help you make healthy choices.

Sodexo’s nutrition icons make it easy to identify healthy choices

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Sodexo’s nutrition icons make it easy to identify healthy choices. Look for these nutrition icons on the foods being served on your campus to help you meet your dietary needs or desires. If you need assistance finding the right types of foods for you, please reach out to your on-campus Sodexo manager or chef.

If you have additional dietary questions, please contact us so we can help! Sodexo has registered dietitians ready to answer your questions and help you make healthy choices.

Food Allergy

Talk to Us about Your Food Allergies and Diet Needs!

We take pride in sourcing wholesome ingredients, preparing recipes accurately and providing nutritional analysis and ingredient statements through our online menus and nutrition calculator (please hyperlink this to the nutrition calculator that is currently on the website). We are all passionate about serving students.

From general manager to front line servers, we work diligently to address students’ specific needs, especially those with food allergies, Celiac disease, or special diet needs.

A team approach led by you, our educated consumer, is the best preparation for a safe school year free of allergic reactions. We want to meet one-on-one with all of our customers who have individual dining needs to ensure that your dining experience is safe, delicious, and social. If you have a food allergy/special diet concern, please call or email.

Lauren’s Pantry

Meet Lauren Withers, District Campus Dietitian

As the District Campus Dietitian for Dining Services, Lauren Withers is here to assist students in making better lifestyle choices both on and off campus. Working closely with students with known food allergies, intolerances, weight concerns and sports nutrition, Lauren is able to provide students on-going dietary guidance throughout their tenure at MECA. Students can also gain healthful knowledge by following her monthly newsletter with nutritious news.

For more information or if you have nutrition related questions, please feel free to contact Lauren at Lauren.

Lauren Withers, District Campus Dietitian
Withers@sodexo.com
207.602.2850

Resources

Meet the Dietitian –  Ask your health questions to one of our registered dietitians

Mindful – Learn more about making healthy choices second nature.

A Better Tomorrow Starts Today! – Learn more about making smart choices for your health, for your community and for your planet

Mindful Booklet

Healthy Dorm Cookbook

Nutrition Calculator

Nutrition Tracking – Use MyFitnessPal and the Nutrition Calculator to plan and track your meals

My Plate – Get healthy eating tips, create a personalized plan, and more with the latest information from the USDA