My Favorite Foods in the Dining Hall

Working in the dining hall as well as living on campus for two years and eating there daily, has allowed me to try almost every food the dining hall has to offer. The great thing about the resident dining centers on campus, is that the menu is on a five week cycle. This means that if your favorite food is on the menu, you don’t have to wonder if you will ever have the chance to eat it again, just give it five weeks and that meal can be enjoyed again! The dining hall also has many options that are available daily no matter the cycle.

One of my favorite foods the dining hall offers every weekday morning, is the steel cut oats. These oats are a complex carbohydrate, meaning that they are filling and provide your body with lots of energy, making it a great food to have in the morning, before taking on the rest of your day. Many people may find steel cut oats bland, but the upside to this is that it offers you an opportunity to customize it to your liking! One of my favorite combinations is adding a little brown sugar, sliced almonds from the salad bar, strawberries, and blueberries. Adding any fruit to steel cut oats will provide you with a natural, healthy sweetener and adding sliced nuts, adds a healthy fat to the meal. You can also add granola for a little crunch, chocolate chips or maple syrup for something on the sweeter side, or some of the dried fruits offered on the salad bar like raisins, cranberries, and cherries.

My favorite food that appears in the five week cycle, is the teriyaki salmon. Salmon is a food that offers so many excellent health benefits. For protein, this salmon offers 22g per filet, which is comparable to chicken or beef. Salmon is also a great source of omega fatty acids. These omega fatty acids, are essential fatty acids, meaning that the body cannot make them itself and therefore needs to be eaten by food sources. The teriyaki salmon on the dining center menus, provides all the health benefits above, as well as tastes delicious and has sweetness from the teriyaki sauce.

These are just a few of my favorite items from the resident dining halls on campus. I hope next time you see them on the menu, you’ll give them a try and like them as much as I do!

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition and education campaign created by the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. This campaign aims to bring awareness on the importance of healthy eating practices. Every March, the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics launches the campaign offering free tips and promotional items to help spread the word.

Each March, when the campaign begins, it is paired with a theme that will set the stage for what the academy is trying to promote that particular year. This year the chosen theme is Go Further With Food. The theme aims to educate the public on healthful eating practices throughout their day. Whether it be starting the day with a nutritious breakfast, or fueling up for a specific sporting event, eating the right foods will give you the optimal energy to take on whatever your day brings.

All March long here at SUNY Oswego, we will be celebrating National Nutrition Month! The campus’ registered dietitian and her interns will be in various dining halls throughout the month where you can come up to our table and ask questions, play games, win prizes, and try new foods! We hope to see you there!

Healthy Snacking

As college kids, snacking is something many of us do often, sometimes excessively, and rarely healthy. When our schedules change constantly and workload builds up, we can tend to neglect our health and opt out for convenience and low cost. Snacking can be a great way to hold you over until your next meal and if you’re eating healthy snacks, they can contribute essential nutrients to your diet. Here are some suggestions on what to reach for the next time you feel yourself needing a snack.

Hummus– Hummus is a great dip because you can pair it with vegetables, whole grain chips, or use it as a spread on a sandwich. Hummus is a great source of healthy fats.

Fruits and vegetables- Preparing fruits and vegetables ahead of time will mean you have a healthy snack ready to go at all times. Both fruits and vegetables will provide good sources of fiber, as well as many vitamins and minerals to fuel your body.

Nuts– Like hummus, nuts also provide your diet with lots of healthy fat. Snacking on almonds, peanuts, cashews raw or in butters mix well with virtually any whole grain. They are filling and also a good source of protein.

Plain Greek Yogurt- Yogurt is packed with protein and calcium. To reduce the amount of added sugar that can come inside many yogurts, purchase plain yogurt and customize it by adding toppings like berries, granola, or honey.

Air popped popcorn- Popcorn is the perfect snack for when you just want to eat something, but you may not even be that hungry. Popcorn is a whole grain and because it is air popped, there is only about 30 calories per cup. If you’re looking to add some flavor, sprinkle some salt and pepper on top, or if you’re craving something sweeter try a drizzle of dark chocolate and peanut butter.


Don’t forget you can take one snack to go from the dining center! Fill your cup with yogurt, fruit and granola, or grab some hummus from the deli and veggies from the salad station!




Healthy Eating on Valentine’s Day

On a holiday notorious for chocolate, candy, and all things sweet, it can seem hard to eat healthy on Valentine’s Day, but here are some tips to help make it easier to make the right choices on date night.

While going out to eat is always fun, it can sometimes be hard to decipher what’s healthy and what’s not just by looking at the menu. One way to ensure you’re getting food cooked in the best way possible, is to avoid any menu item that is fried. Instead, ask your server if it is possible to have the item grilled, or baked instead. This change alone will reduce the calories and fat content of the food.

Vegetables are always your best option when trying to eat healthy, so make sure whatever you order, there are some greens. Many dishes may offer unhealthy sides such as fries or chips, but typically these can be substituted at little to no cost with a salad or steamed vegetables. Similarly to substituting fried foods, this switch will also save you some calories and fat. In addition, compared to the unhealthy side dish, there will be more vitamins, nutrients, and fiber when vegetables are substituted.

Lastly, always choose a whole grain if the option is available. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and will keep you fuller for longer when compared to simple carbohydrates (ex. white bread, white pasta, white rice) and provide more fiber. Ask your server if there is either a whole grain or whole wheat substitute for the carbohydrate in your order. Many restaurants may offer substitutes such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or other grains such as quinoas, farro, or wheatberry.

When it comes to dessert, order one and split it with your Valentine, you’ll still get to try that delicious sounding item, but this will help to prevent overeating.

It may seem impossible to eat healthy on Valentine’s Day, but if you follow the tips above, dining out at a restaurant will still leave you with plenty of options that are both nutritious and delicious!

Meet nutrition intern Alessia

Blogger holding a painting of a whale

     Hi everyone! I’m Alessia Pizzino and I am one of the Nutrition Education interns working with the campus’ Registered Dietitian, Kathryn Szklany this spring. I’m really excited to work as one of the nutrition interns because I have a passion for educating people on eating and healthy lifestyles. My major is Wellness Management, and my minors are Nutrition and Health Science. The classes I have taken here at SUNY Oswego, furthered my knowledge and desire to enter the health field, and educate people on how to make healthy lifestyle changes.

     In addition to being one of the nutrition interns, I also intern as a personal trainer at the fitness centers and work at the Pathfinder dining center. Working at Pathfinder is where I learned that we have a Registered  Dietitian on campus, something that many other schools may not have. I am a senior this semester and will be graduating this May, I am sad to leave Oswego, but excited to join the “real world.”  After graduation, I will try to find a job and eventually go on to graduate school to hopefully become a registered dietitian myself!