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Nutrition Resources and Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Where can I see nutrition information for University Housing dining venues?
Anyone can go online or download a mobile app for detailed nutritional, ingredient and allergen information for foods served in the dining venues of University Housing: Carson Dining, Barnhart Dining, Fire ‘N’ Spice Grill, Big Mouth Burrito, Grab ‘N’ Go Marketplace, Common Grounds Café and DUX Bistro. The site uoregon.MyNutritionCalculator.net allows users to select the type of meal, restaurant location and a host of food options to see nutritional content like calories, fat grams, sodium, vitamins, and nutritional allowances. Users can also search for food allergens (dairy, nuts, soy, etc.) or for vegan and vegetarian foods, and look for foods within certain ranges of nutritional content (i.e. low in sugar, high in protein, high in iron, etc.). A free mobile app of the service for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is available from Apple by looking up “Oregon nutrition” in the App Store. University Housing expects to develop versions for other mobile platforms in the future.
2. What are "Superfoods"?
"Superfoods" refer to a variety of different foods that are nutritional powerhouses high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals while still being low in calories and fat. They are also known as nutrient dense foods. The claims about these foods made by food marketing professionals and in popular books tend to create the impression that if you eat these foods, you will be spared cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. The truth to the matter is, they are healthy for you, and you should consume them regularly, but just by eating those foods doesn't mean you are immune to disease, or that you should ignore other foods. The key here is to consume "whole foods" that deliver many nutrients. Some examples of superfoods include; beans, blueberries, dark chocolate, oats, yogurt, walnuts, yams and sweet potatoes, spinach, kiwis, apples, avocados, turkey, salmon, broccoli, and tomatoes. Many of these foods are offered regularly at the dining venues here on campus.
3. What are Trans fats?
Trans fats are formed when liquid vegetable oils are artificially processed (hydrogenation) into solid or semi-solid form, such as margarine. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods, yet you have to remember these fats were created as a benefit to the food manufacturers, not the health of consumers. Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. A small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods. We have learned over the years that trans fat raises LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lowers the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) which in turn increases your risk for coronary heart disease. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and eat as little saturated fat as possible.
4. What is the Freshmen 15?
The freshmen 15 refers to the notorious weight gain that often occurs within the first year of college. Making the transition from home to college is a dramatic shift of environment and circumstances. Dining hall food alone is never the cause of weight gain for the majority of people. All you can eat dining venues (and you regularly take all you can eat), late night eating, alcohol intake, meal skipping, sleep deprivation, and inconsistent exercise are most certainly to blame. Try to eat every 3-4 hours, pay strict attention to portion control, don't engage in mindless eating, and limit the amount of sweets you eat. When you think you are hungry, ask yourself if your tummy is rumbling or your head just wants chips. It is about the "how much how often". Base your diet on whole fruit and vegetables, lean proteins like chicken breast and beans, low fat dairy, whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread, and limit soda, candy and desserts. Stock your dorm room with healthy snacks such as fruit and string cheese, veggies, small portions of nuts, yogurt, and lots of water. The truth is that most people don't gain the freshmen 15. But the possibility does exist if you eat mindlessly and don't take care of yourself.
Wraps available at multiple dining venues.
5. Is food preoccupation different than an eating disorder?
Yes and no. Most individuals with disordered eating are preoccupied with food thoughts, but just because someone is preoccupied with food thoughts doesn't mean s/he has an eating disorder. On any given day, one out of every two students is on a diet, and an estimated 20-30% of students have some type of diagnosable eating disorder. A survey of college-age women found 75% classify themselves as overweight, even though most are within a healthy weight range. Weight, body image, and food preoccupation have unfortunately become a way of life for this generation. Full blown eating disorders ranging from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive exercise, and binge eating disorder are serious disorders for one's physical and mental health. The University Health, Counseling and Testing Center offers group and individual counseling for disordered eating, medical exams, and nutritional education to deal with these issues.
6. How do I navigate the food line when eating at Carson or Barnhart?
Great question! Ask yourself this... if you were at home or had your own apartment, what would you eat and/or how much food would you prepare yourself? I recommend students take only one plate through the food line, period. No seconds, no separate plate for fruit, dessert or grains. Portion control is the key when traveling through the buffet line. Secondly, I recommend you have some empty space on your plate between food choices. Also, try to get 3-4 different food groups at your meal if possible, which it is at Carson and Barnhart. The more colorful the plate, the better.

Here are a few smart-eating strategies to help you navigate the food line:
  • Plan Ahead. Plan a light dinner if you just ate a big lunch or decide ahead of time to skip dessert. Stick to your plan and select the kinds and amounts of food that best fit rather than succumb to temptations.
  • Think about your food choices over the whole day.
  • Avoid skipping breakfast or lunch to save up for a huge dinner. This strategy often backfires! It is easy to overindulge at any of the dining facilities when you're over-hungry. Eating small meals earlier in the day is a better approach. Get a string cheese and apple or yogurt with a small bagel for a mini meal or snack.
  • Get to know menu language. Primavera, béarnaise scalloped. What do all these menu terms mean? The answer is high fat content. Knowing menu terms and cooking basics makes food selection easier, especially if you need to watch your intake. Look for foods with simple preparation, such as steamed vegetables or broiled chicken because they are usually lower in fat and calories.
7. Which is healthier, a meat based or vegetarian diet?
Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that a plant based diet is preventative for various cancers, heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, diverticulosis, and aids in weight loss. Unfortunately, many people opt for a "meatless" diet which is different than one based on the principles of vegetarianism consisting of legumes, whole fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil and nuts. The sheer act of eliminating meat, fish, and chicken isn't necessarily health promoting if you don't replace those great sources of iron, protein, and B vitamins with meatless options such as tofu, tempeh, beans or legumes, eggs, yogurt and/or milk. If you eliminate meat, fish, and chicken and eat an abundance of cheese, chips, and snack crackers, you aren't any healthier either. Variety and balance are crucial when trying to get the most out of a vegetarian diet.
The Salad Bar at Carson Dining
8. Is it better to eat three meals or to snack throughout the day?
Healthful snacking can help you meet your body's needs, give you energy during the day, and help you maintain a desirable weight. For many college students, grazing throughout the day is the only way they can get in any food. If that works for you because of a busy schedule or because you simply don't like larger meals, it can be done healthfully. It depends on how many calories and what foods you eat. The way you approach snacking can make a difference, too. Here are some strategies:
  • Eat slowly and savor the taste.
    Pay attention to enjoying your snack. Are you snacking while watching TV, studying, or reading a book? If so, give yourself time to figure out if only a bite or two will satisfy your craving. The signal of feeling full takes a few minutes to reach the brain.
  • Don't eat from the package.
    If you go to the Grab 'n' Go, look at the nutrition label to find out how big the serving size is. How many calories are in a serving? How many servings can you eat based on your activity level? Serve yourself a reasonable portion in a bowl or on a plate.
  • Go for nutritional value.
    On packaged items from the Grab 'n' Go, compare nutrition labels to find lower calorie, fat, sugar and sodium content. Even nutritional bars that are marketed as nutritious can have a great deal of fat and sugar. Grab a bunch of grapes, carrots, string cheese with an apple, yogurt, dried fruit and nuts, or whole grain cereal to satisfy your appetite. Thoughtful snacking can be easy and nutritious.

9. With all the health and nutrition information that consumers continually get thrown at them, how is it possible to distinguish between accurate, factual information and the hype?
Many of the unbelievable claims are just that---unbelievable. Unfortunately, many people want the quick fix and are eager to buy into the idea that a particular product will give the very answer they are looking for. You can protect yourself by watching for these common characteristics of quackery:
  • A quick and painless cure.
  • A special, secret, formula, available only through the mail and only from one supplier.
  • Testimonials or case histories from satisfied users as the only proof that the product works.
  • A single product effective for a wide variety of ailments.
  • A scientific breakthrough or miracle cure that has been held back or overlooked by the medical community.
Also, invest your time before you invest your money. Before buying a suspect product or treatment, find out more about it. Check with one or more of the following: your doctor, pharmacist, or other credentialed health professional.
10. I crave food all the time, regardless of my hunger level. I don't have an eating disorder, just find I feel like eating all the time. Why does eating one cookie from Grab 'n' Go set off an incredible urge to finish an entire bag?
There are many possible reasons for food cravings, such as true hunger because you have skipped meals, boredom, habit, stress, sadness, happiness, social situations, or you may use food as a distraction. Food cravings are normal and experienced by most people at one time or another. Look at cravings as suggestions to eat, not overindulge, because you ultimately control how you will react. Practice moderation, not abstinence and restriction. If you never allow yourself to have foods you enjoy, you'll only crave them more. If you find that the idea of food cravings are interfering with your life or you find them troublesome, try to weaken them with the "five Ds":
  1. Delay at least 10 minutes before you eat so that your action is conscious, not impulsive.
  2. Distract yourself by engaging in an activity that requires concentration and is not compatible with eating.
  3. Distance yourself from the food (leave the room).
  4. Determine how important it is for you to eat the food you crave and how bad you really want it.
  5. Decide what amount is reasonable and appropriate and eat it slowly and enjoy.

11. What is the difference between the words "enriched" and "fortified"?
Both terms indicate that nutrients, usually vitamins and minerals, were added to make a food more nutritious. Enriched means adding back nutrients that were lost during food processing. For example, B vitamins, lost when wheat is refined, are added back to white flour. Fortified means adding nutrients that weren't present originally. For example, milk is fortified with Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps your body absorb the calcium and phosphorus in milk.
Healthy Fruit