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 sarah.formoza@oswego.edu 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.

Fight the Cold & Flu

Does it seem like everyone around you is getting sick lately? Stomach bug, cough, fever, chills, cold… it’s that time of year! Avoid the bug by washing your hands frequently, getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and eating right. Boost your immune system by eating bright colorful fruits and vegetables. Aim for 5 servings a day. Eat a banana with oatmeal for breakfast. Snack on Greek yogurt and blueberries for a snack. Add a nice big salad to your lunch topped with spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, nuts, and dried fruit. When you’re feeling tired in the afternoon grab an apple and dip it in peanut butter. Try the fresh roasted cauliflower, squash and spinach on for dinner tonight at the dining centers. It’s tasty and packed with vitamins and antioxidants to help you beat the bug.

Green Tea

This is a guest post by Nutrition Intern Jessica Licciardi:

Green tea is becoming a widely known antioxidant-packed beverage that everyone should try. It’s rich in flavonoids and catechins. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant, and catechins have been found to be more potent than vitamins C & E in stopping damage to cells in the body and have many other disease-fighting qualities.

What kind of diseases and health conditions can green tea help prevent?

·         Atherosclerosis

·         High Cholesterol

·         Cancer (Bladder, Breast, Ovarian, Colorectal, Esophageal, Lung, Pancreatic, Prostate, Skin, & Stomach)

·         Inflammatory Disease

·         Diabetes

·         Liver Disease

There have also been studies done that propose green tea can help burn fat and boost metabolism, which in turn can aid in weight management.

In order to absorb all of the powerful properties of green tea, it’s important to drink a few cups of green tea a day. So, how long do you keep the tea bag in for? Easy, you want to allow the tea to steep for about 3-5 minutes so that the tea lets out all the catechins and flavonoids. If for some reason you don’t like the taste of green tea try adding lemon to it for a nice citrus flavor. The next time you’re in the dining center make a cup of green tea instead of choosing a different beverage!

Delicious Nutritious Cooking Class

This past Monday I collaborated with Campus Recreation to put on a Delicious Nutritious Cooking Class. We had about 20 enthusiastic participants. I supplied them with 9 healthy recipes to go along with Thanksgiving dinner: 3 appetizers, 4 side dishes, and 2 desserts. Each group got hands-on experience making 3 recipes. We experimented with some super vegetables such as Swiss chard, Brussels Sprouts, sweet potatoes, and radishes. The results were amazing and delicious. Everyone learned some ways to make recipes healthier such as substituting plain Greek yogurt for sour cream or cream cheese and whole wheat bread for white bread in stuffing. One of my favorite new items was the Smoked Salmon Salad in Cucumber Cups. Here’s the recipe for you to try at home:

Smoked Salmon Salad in Cucumber Cups

Total: 25 minutes

Serves 17 (2 each)


¼ cup finely chopped green onions

2 tablespoons plain non-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, divided

12 ounces packaged cold-smoked salmon, coarsely chopped

3 English cucumbers

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


1.       Combine green onions, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and capers in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons dill and chopped salmon.

2.       Peel cucumbers in alternating vertical stripes. Cut cucumbers into ¾-inch-thick slices, and scoop out seeds with a small spoon or melon baller, leaving bottom intact to form a cup.

3.       Spoon about 1 tablespoon salmon mixture into each cucumber. Sprinkle cups evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon dill and pepper.

Source: Cooking Light