Yesterday, Julie Lampie, Tufts Dining’s nutritionist, led a group of interested students on a tour of Tufts Dining facilities. Truly an insightful experience it was, to say the least! We toured the central kitchen facilities located under the Dewick-Macphie Dining Hall where all of Tufts Dining’s food is made, stored, and loaded onto trucks for transportation across campus. A mind-boggling amount of effort goes into ensuring food safety and quality; Tufts Dining employs the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) approach to food safety, which includes, for instance, regulating temperatures of all prepared foods hourly and blast-freezing to limit possibilities for even mild spoilage.
Here are some interesting facts on the amount of food that goes through the central kitchen:
- 200-300 dozen cookies baked each day
- 300 pizza dough discs made each day
- 65 gallons of butternut squash bisque when it’s on the menu
- 2500 onions each week
Afterwards Julie gave us a primer on Tufts Dining history. Back in the 80s and early 90s, when Julie started working at Tufts, students had very limited food choice at meals. Back then, only two entrees and a single vegetable side was available, and dishes tended towards the stick-to-your-rids variety (think tuna casserole or beef stroganoff). It is impressive how much Dining Services has changed, and generates a new appreciation for all the work that goes into providing our food.
October 23rd, 2013
We already know veggies are good for us. First, vegetables are packed with fiber, which helps us stay regular and shuttle cholesterol out of our system. Secondly, veggies offer an array of essential vitamins and minerals; sweet potatoes have potassium, necessary for electrolyte balance while beets are rich in antioxidants, hence their purple color. Thirdly, eating vegetables is associated with decreased risk for chronic diseases. For example, increased intake of cruciferous veggies, like brussel sprouts and cauliflower, may be inversely related to the risk for lung cancer (Lam, et al 2009).
Okay, so what about frozen veggies- are they better than fresh? Ask Michael Pollan, author of the popular Omnivore’s Dilemma, and he’ll tell you that: “Frozen vegetables and fruits are a terrific and economical option when fresh is unavailable or too expensive. The nutritional quality is just as good — and sometimes even better, because the produce is often picked and frozen at its peak of quality.” (Pollan, 2011)
Eating veggies in college is hard. Those of us who live on campus only have a microwave or access to campus eateries. Sometimes, we don’t have options we enjoy, or we get tired of the offerings on campus. That is why learning to cook veggies in the microwave is a great idea. If you get one trip to the grocery store each month, you can stock up on some frozen veggies. Steam, and then enjoy with hummus or white bean dip for a snack. And, if you have a kitchen in an off-campus apartment, you still may not have the time to steam veggies on the stove or have adequate pots and pans. By using the microwave method for steaming, you can save time, money, and lock in the nutrients available from the veggies!
Spice up your vegetables with these easy tips:
Add cinnamon, cloves and ginger to vegetables. While these spices are typically reserved for sweet foods, these spices can enhance the flavor of carrots, squash and sweet potatoes.
- Spice up steamed broccoli with lemon, olive oil and a pinch of salt. If you prefer eating broccoli raw, add paprika, yogurt, garlic and chives to enhance its flavor.
- Add a little olive oil, garlic powder and lemon to asparagus, peas or spinach to add some flavor.
- Looking for some real spice? Try adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the mix!
By: Kate Sweeney
Editor: Toby Beckelman
Lam, T.K., Gallachio, L., Lindsley, K., Sheils, M., Hammond, E., Tao, X., Chen, L., Robinson, K., Caulfield, L., Herman, J., Guallar, E., and Alberg, A. 2009. Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Lung Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review. 2009. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 18; 184
Pollan, Michael. Oct 2, 2011. The Food and Drink Issue: Mysteries Solved, Riddles Explained and Readers’ Questions Answered. New York Times. New York, NY.
October 30th, 2012
It’s almost April! While this means that National Nutrition Month (March) is winding down, it doesn’t mean that you should stop focusing on ways to eat better. At Tufts, the “I heart Veggies” campaign took place, putting focus on adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Most of you know that fruits and vegetables are good for you. And many of you know that you don’t eat enough of them. But how do you get enough? And what is enough?
If you feel overwhelmed by trying to eat the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, don’t fret – you’re not alone. Here is a simple explanation of what a serving of fruits and vegetables is, as well as 10 simple ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet without extra time, effort, or cost. Whether you’re eating in the dining hall, cooking your own meal, or going out to eat, you can still get what you need by incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine.
5 or more servings
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day for overall health. The simplest technique for determining serving size is by remembering that one serving of fruits and vegetables is approximately the size of your fist. Half a banana, a small apple, a handful of grapes or carrots, a tennis-ball-sized spoonful of peas or corn – these are all about a serving. Don’t stress about exact size – just remember the fist rule and approximate.
1. Throw some fruit on your cereal
Banana slices, strawberries and blueberries all make for an easy and delicious addition to your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal. Bananas are generally the least expensive, but supermarkets often have 2-for-1 sales on berries that make them an affordable option
2. Try fruit with yogurt for a quick breakfast or snack
Anything you can add to cereal is also delicious with yogurt. Fresh fruit sweetens up plain yogurt, but without added sugar. Adding frozen fruit (go for the ones without added sugar) makes for a cool treat, and it lasts in your freezer for a long time. Chopped melon, which is often available in the dining hall, is also great with yogurt.
3. Add veggies to your eggs
Spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, and artichoke hearts all add great flavor to scrambled eggs or an omelet.
4. Grab a piece of fruit as you run out the door
Fruit makes a great snack in class, on the subway, or at work. It’s easy to throw in your pack and it fills you up.
5. Add veggies and fruits to your sandwich
Love your daily sandwich? Add some cucumber slices for a crunch, tomato slices for taste, sprouts for texture, and lettuce or spinach for some color. Pepperoncinis and hot peppers add a delicious kick if you’re in an adventurous mood. Fruit is also great in sandwiches – try apple slices with cheese and honey mustard or pear slices with turkey and pesto.
6. Pack veggies as a snack
Carrots and snap peas are two great options to satisfy a hunger urge in the middle of the day. Cucumber and zucchini slices and cherry tomatoes are also good. Pack a little fat-free ranch dressing or hummus for dipping if that makes raw veggies more appealing.
7. Add vegetables to pasta
If you use red sauce, you’re off to a good start. You can boost your veggie count and the flavor by adding fresh tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, peppers, artichoke hearts, eggplant, or anything else you can think of. If you’re in the dining hall, microwave veggies from the salad bar for a minute and stir them in with pasta. Edamame adds some color as well, and is a great source of protein. If you’re a mac and cheese lover, try adding green peas or a can of diced tomatoes with chilies. You can’t go wrong!
8. Top pizza with vegetables or fruit
Anything you add to pasta, you can also put on top of pizza. Even if you’re just pulling a store-bought pizza out of the freezer, you can spruce it up by adding any type of vegetable. In addition to veggies, you can also add pineapple if you’re having ham on pizza, or try pear slices with goat cheese. Sweet potato is also surprisingly good on pizza. Be creative!
9. Try a stir-fry for dinner
The best thing about stir-fry is that it tastes delicious no matter what’s in it. Carrots, bok choy, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini or squash slices, snap peas, and baby corn are common options to throw in the frying pan with a little stir-fry sauce and serve over rice. Or try some different veggies like kale, sweet potato, turnip, beets, or edamame.
10. Have fruit for dessert
Before you stop reading, hear me out – fruit doesn’t have to spoil the fun of dessert! Add fresh or frozen berries to mousse or ice cream. Sear bananas in a splash of canola oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and add a dollop of whipped cream. Try poached or baked apples or pears with some cinnamon sugar and lemon. A wedge of ripe melon, half a grapefruit, or apple slices drizzled with honey are all great lighter options for a sweet after-dinner treat that add to your 5-a-day and don’t leave you feeling stuffed.
Hopefully now you’re feeling empowered to eat your fruits and veggies! The key is to think about adding color anywhere you can. Challenge yourself to see how many different colors or different fruits and vegetables you can eat in one meal. And remember to start with small changes that fit your college lifestyle, habits, and personal preferences. There are hundreds of fruits and vegetables out there – be creative, be brave, try some new things, and figure out what you like.
By: Ashley Carter
Editor: Kate Sweeney
March 31st, 2012
You are what you eat. So, eating healthful foods will definitely lead to you feeling better mentally, physically, and emotionally. This month, March, is National Nutrition Month..and BYL is teaming up with Dining Services for “I heart veggies”.
When it comes to eating vegetables (and fruits) at Tufts, it can be difficult. Prices of these items can be high, some may not taste great to you, they may not be easy to find outside of the dining halls, you may not know how to prepare them, and more. Thinking about eating more and finding ways to do so, however, will increase your intake. By eating more veggies and fruits, you’ll eat less of other foods that may not be as healthful and have a better overall diet.
Here are some ways to get more fruits and veggies in your diet:
- Try adding a variety of fruits and vegetables as pizza toppings (broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and pineapples, just to name a few).
- Come to a BYL cooking class and learn how to prepare fruits and veggies.
- Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
- Instead of having two cups of ice-cream, have one cup of frozen fruits mixed with one cup of ice-cream to make it just as satisfying and a lot healthier.
- Add veggies to pasta and rice dishes.
Other things to keep in mind during National Nutrition Month are:
More whole grains!
- Try replacing your white rice with brown rice or even black, purple, red rice.
- Try whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
- Choose cereals with a whole wheat stamp on it, and a lot of them are tasty.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Fat-free milk and yogurt is more desirable than whole milk versions.
- Low-fat version of frozen desserts could be as enjoyable as ice cream.
Be physically active your own way
By: Xuan Qin
Editor: Kate Sweeney
March 14th, 2012