Eat Your Breakfast, It’s Good for You!

This is a guest post by Cathy Lam, Nutrition Intern

Some people say they skip breakfast because they are trying to eat less, have no time, don’t feel like cooking, or don’t want to eat so early in the morning. Skipping breakfast though can actually counteract dieting efforts and even decrease energy levels throughout the day.

Here are a few reasons why breakfast is good for your body:

  1. Increases Metabolism: When you sleep, your metabolism slows down. To change your metabolism rate, you have to eat something to make it run actively again.
  2. Healthier Diet: When you eat breakfast, you better ensure that your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs every day.
  3. Increases your Fiber Intake: Many people opt for cereals for breakfast. This creates a perfect time for you to reach recommended levels of fiber in your diet. Try whole grain cereals such as Cheerios, Kashi’s Heart to Heart or oatmeal.
  4. Alertness and Concentration: Breakfast enhances memory, cognitive ability, and attention span. Our bodies need a little bit of sugar to reach our brains for it to work. Eating carbs at breakfast restore blood sugar levels so that our brains can absorb this energy and work properly.

Best Vegetarian Proteins

It’s Meatless Monday are you on board yet? There are a lot of reasons why you should join the movement. It’s better for your health and it can even reduce your risk of heart disease. Cutting out meat just one day a week also reduces your carbon footprint on the environment.  How do you go meatless though and what should you eat instead of meat? There are a lot of vegetarian protein sources such as eggs, beans and peas, dairy, nuts and seeds, tofu, tempeh and other soy products. Many of these items are offered daily at the Dining Centers. Look for green soybeans called edamame (pictured below) on the salad bar as well as hard boiled eggs, beans and tofu.

Try Greek yogurt, packed with 25 grams of protein in 1 cup, for a snack topped with our new delicious Organic granola. Make a sandwich at the deli bar with whole wheat bread for added protein and fiber and add hummus or meatless turkey and cheese. Choose some vegetarian proteins today and don’t forget to pack on the color with vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and peppers!

Why You’re Still Not Losing Weight

This is a guest post by Nutrition Intern, Cathy Lam

You may be looking to lose weight and have switched to eating healthy but you are still not losing weight or seeing any changes. This can be extremely frustrating! Here may be the reason why, although you are eating healthy foods, you may still be eating too much food without realizing it. When you do eat more than your body needs per day, your body will store the extra energy in the form of fat. To make sure you’re eating the amount you need, make sure you eat about this much everyday:

Women Ages 19-30:

Fruit: 2 Cups (1 cup = 1 small apple)

Vegetables: 2 1/2 Cup ( 1 cup = two medium carrots)

Grains: 6 Oz, at least half should be whole grain. (1 oz = 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup pasta or rice)

Protein: 5 Oz ( 1oz = 1 Egg, Half a chicken breast = 3 oz)

Dairy: 3 Cups (1 regular single serve container of yogurt)

Oils: 6 Teaspoons (1 teaspoon =1/2 medium avocado, 2 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil)

Men Ages 19-30:

Fruit: 2 Cups

Vegetable: 2 1/2 Cups  

Grain: 6 Oz

Protein: 6 1/2 Oz

Dairy: 3 Cups

Oils: 7 Teaspoons

In The Dining Hall: Pick a food from each food category at each meal and you will meet your daily needs at the end of each day. The dining halls serve appropriate portion sizes of each food item which also are consistent with nutrition facts posted online. So stick to eating what you’re served and avoid getting seconds!

Adapted from USDA

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.