Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dairy: Debunking the Myths

Like many foods, dairy has gotten a bad reputation and I'm not quite sure why. Students have been asking a lot of questions about the health benefits of milk so I thought I'd share some "food for thought".

MYTH #1:
"I can eat dairy? But it'll make me gain weight."

- Some research studies actually indicate the opposite, despite popular belief.
- By choosing low fat or skim dairy products, you'll be eating nutrient-dense foods to help build strong bones and muscles.

MYTH #2:
"I'm lactose intolerant and therefore should avoid all milk and dairy foods."

- Many people with lactose intolerance can actually comfortably digest about one cup of milk per meal without developing side effects.
- Choosing aged cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss, may help as they are lower in lactose.
- If you introduce dairy back into your diet after a hiatis, do so slowly to best gage tolerance.
- Buy lactose-free products and yogurts with pre and probiotics to help digest lactose.

MYTH #3:
"Organic milk is healthier than regular milk."

- There's no evidence to support that organic milk is better in regards to both food safety and nutrient quality.
- Both the organic and non-organic milks are complete proteins, containing all nine essential amino acids.
- All milk is tested for antibiotics to ensure safety.

The time to build up your bone density is now, not when you're old and grey. Remember to include low fat/non-fat dairy in your diet at least three times per day. For more information, or to setup a free nutrition counseling session, please email the campus dietitian at

Monday, March 17, 2014

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

Eating nutritiously is easy... and making it tasty can be pretty simple, too! Check out this video by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics for some healthy eating tips.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Nutrition on campus--share your thoughts!

Hi everyone!

National Nutrition Month begins tomorrow (I know I can't believe it's almost March, too)! As the dietitian, this is my opportunity to see how I can increase our services and visibility on campus. Would you like to provide feedback on our nutritious options? Have any ideas on what you're hoping to see for the future? Please take a moment to fill out this UH Dining Services Nutrition Survey. Your feedback is very valuable so spread the word! :-)

Have a great weekend, Coogs!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Whey Too Cool

As you may have heard, protein is essential for our every day functioning. Not only does protein help build and maintain muscle mass, but it also helps control metabolic processes in the body.

I’ve known many students who take some kind of protein supplement post workouts or in their morning smoothie, and my recommendations are usually the same. If you go for a protein powder, you should pick whey. Whey is a high-quality protein that’s naturally found in dairy. Whey protein is also one of the best sources of the amino acid leucine, which can really help build lean muscle. What makes this protein even better? It doesn’t have a taste! You can literally add it to a ton of different recipes, including whole wheat pancake batter, soups, casseroles, and more!

In review, whey is the protein of choice if you choose to take a protein supplement. Need a recipe idea for your morning smoothie? Try this easy recipe using mostly C-Store ingredients:
  •            1 6 oz cup of Strawberry Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • ½ (6 oz) of the Strawberry Banana Odwalla Juice (or other flavor of your choice)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  •  Crushed ice (optional)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Indulge... the healthy way!

While the weather has been gorgeous, we're still getting those chilly spells here in Houston. Many people turn to comforting foods when it's cold outside, and I don't blame them! One of the many dieting misconceptions is that you can never indulge when trying to be healthy... but that's not necessarily true!

For many of us, casseroles, creamy soups, and stews are especially tempting during the winter time. While your New Year's Resolution may have been to cut these types of foods, try to change your thinking a tad. Indulging in foods you like, while keeping moderation and portions in mind, is one key to dieting. My big saying is "deprivation can only last so long"--- so go ahead! Enjoy some of those comforting foods because you're in luck... Many of the casseroles/comforting dishes that we serve in the dining hall can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet.

Ideas for indulging:
- Ask for a smaller scoop of your favorite comfort food (for example, mac 'n cheese)
- Balance your plate with MyPlate... get the veggie side! We always have a hot veg at the Bistro Station (Fresh Food in Moody Towers) and Comfort Station (Cougar Woods). Not feeling like having cooked veggies? Visit our fully stocked salad bar and opt for oil & vinegar or light dressing.
- Add some fruit. Filling up on fresh produce is always a good idea. Fruits and veggies have fiber to fill us up faster, and keep us satisfied longer.

Need more ideas? Come to the "What's Cooking, Coogs" Cooking Tour tomorrow at 7 pm in the Moody Tower lobby. Executive Chef Michael Bargas and I will be cooking up some fettucine alfredo and I'll be sharing tips on making this staple dish healthier. This interactive cooking class is free to students (and there will be prizes!).