Know what you eat

Have you ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Well, it turns out there is some truth behind it after all. The more nutritious foods you eat the better you will feel. Choose whole foods as much as possible with simple ingredients that you can pronounce. Some examples are fruits, vegetables, beans, chicken, fish and milk. These foods have essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help boost your immune system. To gain a better understanding of what you are eating Resident Dinning Services has made public all of the allergen and ingredient information for their menu items. You can find it online or through the mobile app listed just below the nutrition facts panel. The menu website has consistently been one of the top viewed website within the SUNY Oswego site. This new added information will enhance diner’s knowledge and will serve a tremendous benefit to those with special dietary needs. The choice is yours, chose wisely.

Mexican Themed Cooking Class

We held another successful Delicious Nutritious Cooking Class a few weeks ago. This year’s theme was Mexican food in preparation for Cinco de Mayo. The participants were able to learn some basic cooking skills and how to substitute healthier ingredients in ordinary recipes. Fat Free plain Greek yogurt has no fat and 20 grams of protein per cup. It works well in place of sour cream or cream cheese. Try whole wheat flour, bread, and pasta in place of their refined white counterpart. You will gain fiber and protein without sacrificing taste. Be creative when cooking and while looking at recipes don’t be afraid to try substitutions. A few of my favorite dishes we made were the Texas Cavia Bean Salad, Homemade Turkey Tacos, and Baked Churros for dessert. Below are the recipes for you to enjoy!

Texas Cavia Bean Salad Yield: 17


15.5 oz. can Black Beans, rinsed & drained

15.5 oz. can Black Eyed Peas, rinsed & drained

16 oz. frozen Corn, thawed

4 oz. Pimentos, chopped 

3 oz. Jalapeno Peppers, chopped

1 cup Celery, diced

1 cup Red Onion, diced

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


1.       Mix black beans, black eyed peas, corn, pimentos, jalapeno peppers, celery, and red onion together in a medium bowl.

2.       Prepare dressing by whisking together sugar, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

3.       Drizzle dressing over bean mixture, stir. Keep refrigerated. Serve with tortilla chips.

Homemade Turkey Tacos Yield: 32


¼ cup Olive Oil

2 Large Onions, chopped

6 Large Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ cup Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano

2 Tbsp. Ground Cumin

6 lbs. Lean Ground Turkey

2- 14.5 oz. Cans Petite Diced Tomatoes

Salt & Pepper to Taste

½ cup Cornmeal


1.       Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onions, garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Sauté about 5 minutes.

2.       Add turkey and cook stirring often and breaking it up into crumbles until cooked to 165 degrees.

3.       Stir in tomatoes, simmer about 5 minutes.

4.       Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cornmeal, cook, stirring constantly until it thickens, almost instantly.  Serve with taco shells, diced tomatoes, and leaf lettuce.

Baked Churros Yield: 30


3-1/2 cups Oat Flour

½ cup Sugar

2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed

4 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Salt

1 cup Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

¾ cup Butter Flavored Shortening

4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted


1.       Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare a pastry bag with a teeth like piping tip.

2.       In a small bowl, whisk together the oat flour, sugar, flaxseed, baking powder and salt.

3.       In a medium-sized pot, add the almond milk, shortening, and vanilla extract. Stir over medium/low heat until shortening is completely melted. Remove from the heat

4.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5.       Stir the dry ingredients into the pot with the almond milk/shortening mixture.

6.       Place the pot back over the heat and stir frequently until thick and it forms a dough ball (about 3-5 minutes)

7.       Scoop the dough into the prepared piping bag and pipe 5-6” long churros out onto the baking sheets. Use oven mit if the bag is too hot to handle.

8.       Baked the piped churros for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.

9.       Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave.

10.   When you take the churros out of the oven brush the liquid coconut oil onto the churros and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fresh fruit

Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fresh fruit

Expand Your Options

This is a guest Post by Nutrition Intern Natalie Sumski

Are you looking for some variety in your diet? Every dining center is required to have certain items out daily; things such as cereal, salad bar, deli bar, and breads. Use these items to make up a meal of your own. There are numerous ways to mix and match whatever you want to create a nutritious meal, just be creative!

One of my favorites is whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fresh fruit. It’s important to make half of the grains that you consume whole grains, so this is a great start. The peanut butter provides protein and from the fruit you get vitamins and minerals. Pair it with a glass of skim milk and you’ve hit almost all the major food groups.

Did you miss the popular trail mix bar this semester at your dining center? No worry! Various cereals, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are available daily. Trail mix makes a great snack that provides energy since it is packed with protein, fiber, healthy carbs and fats, and vitamins and minerals.

And don’t forget about the deli. You can get hummus there and use it as dip with vegetables from the salad bar. You could also get just a slice of cheese or turkey to put on a breakfast sandwich with whole wheat English muffins and egg whites. Whatever you’re craving you can probably find it at the SUNY Oswego dining centers. There are so many options; you just need to be creative to put together a new and nutritious meal!

What to Look for on Food Labels

You are what you eat…. so what exactly are you eating? Turn the package of food over and take a look at the nutrition facts label and ingredients. Start with the serving size to see how much the nutrition information is for- 1 cup, 8 chips, etc.  Next take a look at the calories. If it’s a snack aim for 100-250 calories, a meal 500-700 calories. Everyone’s calorie needs are different so adjust these according to your individual needs and physical activity level.

It’s important to know where the calories are coming from. Fat, carbohydrate and protein are the 3 basic macronutrients that make up calories. Underneath fat look to see how much trans and saturated fat. Look for zero grams trans fat and a low amount of saturated fat. The remaining total fat is the healthy unsaturated poly and mono unsaturated fats that help your skin, hair and nails. Next take a look at the percentage of sodium. A general guide to use is greater than 20% is high and 5% is low. Our bodies need some sodium but try not to exceed 100% in a day.

Underneath carbohydrate you will see fiber and sugar. Fiber helps with digestion and disease prevention. Aim for 20-30 grams a day. The new proposed nutrition facts label will list added sugars. Until the new labels come out you will have to look at the ingredients to figure out if the sugar is naturally occurring in the food or has been added. Added sugar will list sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or an –ose ending words. Try to limit added sugar as well as cholesterol. The ingredients can give you a lot of insight into what you are actually eating. They are listed in order of prominence with the most prominent ingredient listed first. All of the menu items served at the dining center have nutrition fact information online 
for your convenience. 

How to Deal with Food Cravings

This is a guest Post by Nutrition Intern Natalie Sumsk

Do you often feel that you’re always hungry? Well you may be! Everyone’s body is different and each person requires a tailored meal plan for their own nutritional requirements. Some people may only need three meals a day, while others do best on smaller meals with snacks throughout the day. What is most important is that you keep your meals healthy by including a variety of foods that are nutrient dense and are proportioned correctly for your calorie needs. If you decide to snack between meals, stay away from the chips and cookies; try having a piece of fruit or a slice of whole wheat bread with some peanut butter.

To know when you should eat, you should be aware of what your body is telling you. Take a second to reflect on whether or not you are actually hungry, or are you just bored, stressed, or trying to reward yourself. If it’s six o’clock and you usually eat at six, but you’re not hungry, don’t force yourself to eat. And if you are hungry when you don’t usually eat, have a small snack until you’re ready for a meal. While you actually eat your food, be mindful of it. Enjoy the look, smell, feel, taste of the food. This will allow you to enjoy it more, eat more slowly, and realize when you are full.

You can make an appointment with our Registered Dietitian by emailing to learn more about what and when to eat.  

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

Eating right has many benefits to your body and it can make you feel great too. This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is a perfect time to talk about healthy foods that taste great too. You don’t have to lose flavor when you start eating healthier. I like to think about great tasting foods we can add to our diets and not focus on the foods we should eat less of. Greek yogurt mixed with fresh or frozen fruit is an enjoyable snack or dessert option. Avocado is full of healthy unsaturated fats and can replace mayonnaise in sandwiches. Marinating poultry and meats in an oil, vinegar, herb blend overnight helps tenderize and add flavor. Add nuts and seeds to vegetables, salads or grain dishes to increase healthy fat and flavor. Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to white potatoes and they contain 400% of your daily requirement for Vitamin A which supports eye health.  Hummus comes in many flavor varieties from garlic to roasted red pepper and contains fiber and protein to keep us feeling fuller longer. Try this flavorful hummus pizza recipe for some added nutrition with whole grains, low-fat dairy and vegetables. Look for it next year on the Dining Center’s menu!

Hummus Pizza

1 Whole grain flatbread

1 cup Roasted red pepper hummus

1 cup Part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup Mixed chopped veggies- tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, black olives

1 tbsp. Fresh chopped basil

Spread hummus evenly over flatbread. Top with cheese, mixed veggies & basil. Place pizza in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until cheese melts. Pizza can be served hot or cold.

Hummus Pizza

Hummus Pizza

Healthy Fats

This is a guest post by Nutrition Intern, Natalie Sumski.

            Don’t let the word “fat” scare you so much! There are oils that are essential fats that your body needs to stay healthy. Unsaturated fats, fats that are liquid at room temperature and are found in some foods, are needed by your body, while saturated fats and trans fats are the ones you want to avoid. Monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omegas may help lower cholesterol levels, decrease your risk for heart disease, and are needed for healthy brains. The bad fats, saturated and trans fat, have the opposite effects. A fat that most people don’t get enough of is omega-3. Omega-3 is needed for brain health; it prevents depression and memory loss and also prevents heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Omega-6 is also important, but more people get way too much of it and need to work to get enough omerga-3.

            Cut the bad fats out of your diet by avoiding red meats, fried foods, snack foods, and choose skim milk, vegetable oils, and baked foods over their fatty counterparts. You can get healthy unsaturated fats from foods cooked in olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, and fish, which can all be found in Oswego’s dining halls.