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Monarch Dining Promotes Healthy Choices During National Nutrition Month

Students, staff and faculty who want to eat greasy junk food in peace - beware!

March is National Nutrition Month, and Old Dominion University Monarch Dining Services/Aramark has joined with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) to recognize this year's National Nutrition Month theme, "Get your plate in shape."

"National Nutrition Month is a wonderful opportunity to build awareness of the healthy meal options available on campus and encourage students to balance their plate with a variety of fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy and grain choices," said Janet McLaughlin, resident district manager for ODU Monarch Dining/Aramark.

Nutrition tips will be posted throughout residential dining facilities to help diners eat a more healthy, balanced meal. Among the tips are:

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
  • Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk: Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and fewer calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
  • Vary your protein choices: Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean. And be sure to choose seafood as the protein at least twice a week.
  • Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars: Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers, and season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert.
  • Enjoy your foods but eat less: Avoid oversized portions by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses.
  • Be physically active your way: Adults need at least 2 1/2 hours of physical activity every week. Choose activities that you enjoy, and start by doing as much as you can.

Also this month in the Monarch Dining cafeterias, there will be nutrition games and quizzes, with prize baskets filled with healthy options, to entice diners.

And at noon on Thursday, March 15, a cooking demonstration will be held in Café 1201, featuring ODU campus executive chef Jeffrey Fleischman and Aramark regional nutritionist Sherie Sheran.

Visit www.odu.edu/monarchdining for additional information about healthy meal choices available on campus.

This article was posted on: March 26, 2012

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