Gluten-Free Dining on Campus

October 28th, 2013 by sgilbert

Gluten-Free Diets on Campus

With all of the recent buzz in the news and social media about gluten, it may be confusing to find facts about gluten – what it is, where does it comes from and who should eat it – or avoid it?  Some sources will tell you that everyone should be avoiding gluten, and others will say that we should just limit the amount we eat.  Is this information really accurate?  Read on to clear up some common misconceptions about gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley as well as hybrid grains like spelt, kamut and triticale.  Oats may also contain gluten due to cross-contact unless otherwise labeled gluten-free.  Gluten is an important part of food chemistry. Gluten protein is one component that provides the structure in breads and baked goods.  It helps to “hold up” the bread as it rises similarly to the way support beams hold up the structure of a building.

Common sources of gluten include breads, cereals, pasta, baked goods, sauces, salad dressings and soups.  Foods that are acceptable for a gluten-free diet include naturally gluten-free whole foods including meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes and yams, dairy products and grains such as rice, quinoa, and corn.  Alternate food products labeled Certified Gluten-Free such as gluten-free breads, waffles, muffins and other baked products are also acceptable on a gluten free diet. Look for the certified gluten free label below when selecting gluten-free products:

A gluten-free diet is appropriate for those individuals who have Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Wheat Allergy.  It is estimated that approximately 1% of the population has Celiac Disease, and a gluten free diet is the only effective treatment in managing this auto-immune disease.  For those on the gluten spectrum with gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy, avoidance of gluten has been shown to effectively decrease symptoms.  For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free diets, check out the following link:

http://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2013/08/gluten-free-labeling-consumers-can-count-on/

It is important to note that it is always best to get a proper diagnosis by a board certified physician if you suspect you have gluten intolerance.  For those who do not have a diagnosis on the gluten spectrum, a gluten-free diet may not be appropriate.  There is no evidence that a gluten free diet is healthier than a regular diet (unless on the gluten spectrum), or that it is an effective way to lose weight.  Furthermore, many nutrients that are enriched in grain products such as B vitamins, folate and iron, may not be present in gluten-free products.  Foods containing gluten can be eaten within the dietary guidelines for whole grains to provide complex carbohydrates for energy, iron, B vitamins, folate and fiber for those who are not on the gluten spectrum as part of a healthy diet.

If you have been diagnosed on the gluten spectrum as a college student, it is very important to adhere to a gluten-free diet.  Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging enough at home, but it may be especially tricky as a college student living and eating on campus.  Rest assured, however, that the Dining Services Team at Messiah College has been paying special attention to ensure that gluten-free options are available on the menu.  In my experience in working with those students who follow a gluten-free diet, several issues are common concerns.  These concerns and solutions often include:

Concern Example Solution More Information
Are gluten free dietary alternatives provided at Lottie? I want to make a sandwich.  Where do I find the gluten-free bread? Find Gluten Free alternate products in the “Dietary Alternatives” section at Lottie. Examples of some of the GF alternate products Lottie carries include:

French Meadow Bakery, Udi’s, General Mills, Enjoy Life, Van’s, Earth Balance and Organicville.

Note: Brands subject to change.

How can I make sure that the gluten-free item has not come in contact with gluten-containing foods? You want a salad from the salad bar, but there are croutons right next to the lettuce. Contact a Dining staff member to make arrangements to prevent cross-contact. Ask a staff member for a gluten-free pre-made salad which is stored in a gluten-free refrigerator, and ask a staff member at the salad bar for the gluten-free salad dressing selections.
How do I check for hidden sources of gluten in recipes? Is the gravy for the roast beef made with corn starch or flour, and can I eat it? No, the gravy contains flour, and is not gluten-free. Meet with a Dining staff member to review ingredient lists of specific items which are questionable. Refer to the Dining Services website page at

http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/special-dietary/links.htm Go to the HELM page for reliable nutrition websites including the Celiac Disease Foundation – www.celiac.org for a list of hidden sources of gluten.

Is there specified gluten-free equipment such as a gluten-free toaster, microwave and waffle maker? You would like to toast your gluten free bread, but are concerned the toaster has been used for toasting regular bread. Use the gluten-free equipment such as a gluten-free toaster, microwave and waffle maker in the “Dietary Alternatives” area labeled for gluten-free use only. Make a homemade Belgium waffle with gluten free batter on the gluten free waffle maker!
Where do I find labels to identify gluten-free options on the Lottie menu? The Sofrito Chicken, Spanish Rice and Cilantro Slaw sound good for dinner.  Can I be sure these recipes are gluten-free? Yes, all of these menu items are labeled gluten-free. Look for the gluten-free Food Allergy and Intolerance Icon Label:

Gluten Free

Located on the menus outside Lottie, at the serving area, on the nutrition bulletin board and on the Dining webpage at: http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/menu-location-hours.html.

Gluten-free menu items are also located on the Dining HELM menus at: http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/residential-dining/documents/HELM

I want to eat at the Union Café or Falcon.  What gluten-free options are available? I would enjoy the loaded potato soup and apple harvest salad.  Are they safe for me to eat? Yes, the loaded potato soup is gluten-free along with a few other soups.  Customize the apple harvest salad without croutons or a roll and use gluten-free dressing. Look for the Gluten-Free symbol on the Union Café and Falcon menus for GF items including soups, eggs, and salads.  Order burgers, grilled chicken and cheesesteaks without a roll.  Customize or create your own gluten-free salads by omitting gluten-containing ingredients and choose a gluten-free salad dressing.  Order a side of gluten-free chips or fresh fruit as a side.

Not only have these issues been addressed here on campus, but the Dining Team is able to meet individually with students who may still have questions or concerns about their gluten-free diet.  It is the goal of the Dining Services Team to provide a safe and enjoyable dining experience to all our students, including those on a gluten-free diet.  Please refer to the Messiah College Dining Services home page at http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/dining-services-team.html to contact a staff member who can help you to navigate gluten-free dining at Messiah College.

Simple Swaps & Simple Solutions Yield Surprising Savings

May 8th, 2013 by sgilbert

Be Intentional at the Union and Falcon

As you punch your way through your Union and Falcon meal orders, think twice before allowing your fingertips to hit “order”.  When eating at the Union or Falcon, you have the power to control your choices just by a single touch. Be intentional about what you choose to nourish your body by checking out the NUTRITION FACTS.

Check out this link for nutrition information of menu items at the Union:

http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/retail-dining/documents/UnionNutritionalGuide2012-2013.pdf

Look at this link for nutrition information of menu items at the Falcon:

http://www.messiah.edu/offices/dining/retail-dining/documents/FalconNutritionalGuide2012-2013.pdf

Nutrition information can be confusing, especially if you do not know how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis.

MYPLATE’S SUPERTRACKER TOOL at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html is helpful in determining how many calories you need.  It also helps you to keep track of your daily food and nutrient consumption.

To get you started on making better choices at the Union or Falcon, follow the simple guidelines below:

Simple Swaps

  • Opt for grilled chicken instead of chicken salad – Save 425 calories!
  • Choose 2 slices of wheat bread instead of the wheat wrap – Save 140 calories!
  • Save half your Italian Stromboli for tomorrow’s lunch – Save 369 calories!
  • Resist ordering the double cheeseburger and stick to a traditional cheeseburger- Save 502 calories!
  • Grab a scone instead of a muffin – Save 220 calories!
  • Indulge in a fruit smoothie instead of a milkshake – Save 400 calories!
  • Pick up the zucchini sticks and leave the onion rings behind – Save 270 calories!

Simple Solutions

  • Add more vegetables to your pizza, sandwiches and wraps to help you stay fuller for longer
  • Order all sauces and dressings “on the side” to control how much you use
  • Get your favorite “sandwich stuffings” on a bed of lettuce instead of on bread
  • Split a meal with a friend or save the other half for another meal
  • Choose fruit over chips for your side option
  • Look for a clear-based soup over a cream-based soup
  • Save calories and money by choosing to drink water

Before you head to the Union or Falcon, check out the nutrition facts of the foods you are ordering and see what simple swaps or solutions you can make to whatever food you are craving.  Remember, if you are ordering online, you are just a click away from checking out that nutrition information.  Don’t let your fingers get ahead of your mind.  Be informed about available food selections and be intentional in making better choices.

Authored by:

Elizabeth Hackman, Messiah College Nutrition Major

Reviewed by:

Susan Gilbert, RD LDN
Messiah College Dietitian- Nutritionist

Catching up with your Calcium: Food options at Lottie

March 1st, 2013 by sgilbert

First of all, let’s talk about Calcium. What is it, where is it found in our body, and how much do we need?

Calcium is a mineral found in many foods, added to others and also available as a supplement. Our body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth for structural support. Even though Calcium is linked with bone health, our body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition to the above functions, calcium also helps in the release of certain key hormones and enzymes. The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your age. For an adult 19-50 years of age, the average daily recommended amount is 1,000 milligrams (mg). More information about Calcium rich foods and dietary supplements can be found on this website:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/#h2

Our bones need plenty of calcium and vitamin D throughout childhood and adolescence to reach their peak strength and calcium content by about age 30. After that, bones slowly lose calcium, but people can help reduce these losses by getting recommended amounts of calcium throughout adulthood and by having a healthy, active lifestyle that includes weight-bearing physical activity (such as walking and running). So, this is good news for everyone who did not turn 30 yet! For me this was not the case, being a Milk hater all my life I missed this opportunity of banking the Calcium before I turned 30. Now, at Lottie I found it very convenient for students to choose foods rich in calcium. Find calcium rich foods in Lottie at these stations:

  • Beverage Center – Low-fat or Non-fat Milk, Soy Milk, Yummy Chocolate Milk
  • Salad Bar – Yogurt with Tasty Toppings, Cheese, Nuts and Dark Leafy Greens
  • Deli – Cheese and Dark Leafy Greens to top your sandwich
  • Pizza Station – Cheese Pizza
  • Mongolian Grill – Calcium Fortified Tofu
  • Breakfast Area – Fortified Cereals
  • Main Entrees – Casseroles with cheese or milk base, Dark Leafy Green Vegetables Like Broccoli and Spinach, and Items with Cheese

Also, Calcium is added to some breakfast bars, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.

Adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes as well as regular exercise are essential to keep bones healthy throughout life. Otherwise the risk for Osteoporosis increases. Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones in older adults (especially women) in which the bones become porous, fragile, and more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis is a serious public health problem for more than 10 million adults in the United States. So girls be extra careful! Check out this informative website to track your daily intake: http://www.bestbonesforever.gov/parents/foods/calculator.cfm

In conclusion, I want to emphasize why it is so important to bank the calcium before you reach the age of 30. Take that extra step and make sure you consume the recommended amount of 1000 mg per day (19-50 years). Choose low fat options which are easily available to you at Lottie. Reading labels will help you find the serving sizes of the food product or you can check the website: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html

Take good care of your body and make informed food choices!

- Written By Safoora Azeem, Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Major, Messiah College

- Reviewed by Susan Gilbert, RD, LDN, Messiah College Nutritionist

Catching up with your Calcium: Food options at Lottie

First of all, let’s talk about Calcium. What is it, where is it found in our body, and how much do we need?

Calcium is a mineral found in many foods, added to others and also available as a supplement. Our body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth for structural support. Even though Calcium is linked with bone health, our body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition to the above functions, calcium also helps in the release of certain key hormones and enzymes. The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your age. For an adult 19-50 years of age, the average daily recommended amount is 1,000 milligrams (mg). More information about Calcium rich foods and dietary supplements can be found on this website:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/#h2

Our bones need plenty of calcium and vitamin D throughout childhood and adolescence to reach their peak strength and calcium content by about age 30. After that, bones slowly lose calcium, but people can help reduce these losses by getting recommended amounts of calcium throughout adulthood and by having a healthy, active lifestyle that includes weight-bearing physical activity (such as walking and running). So, this is good news for everyone who did not turn 30 yet! For me this was not the case, being a Milk hater all my life I missed this opportunity of banking the Calcium before I turned 30. Now, at Lottie I found it very convenient for students to choose foods rich in calcium. Find calcium rich foods in Lottie at these stations:

· Beverage Center – Low-fat or Non-fat Milk, Soy Milk, Yummy Chocolate Milk

· Salad Bar – Yogurt with Tasty Toppings, Cheese, Nuts and Dark Leafy Greens

· Deli – Cheese and Dark Leafy Greens to top your sandwich

· Pizza Station – Cheese Pizza

· Mongolian Grill – Calcium Fortified Tofu

· Breakfast Area – Fortified Cereals

· Main Entrees – Casseroles with cheese or milk base, Dark Leafy Green Vegetables Like Broccoli and Spinach, and Items with Cheese

Also, Calcium is added to some breakfast bars, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.

Adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes as well as regular exercise are essential to keep bones healthy throughout life. Otherwise the risk for Osteoporosis increases. Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones in older adults (especially women) in which the bones become porous, fragile, and more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis is a serious public health problem for more than 10 million adults in the United States. So girls be extra careful! Check out this informative website to track your daily intake: http://www.bestbonesforever.gov/parents/foods/calculator.cfm

In conclusion, I want to emphasize why it is so important to bank the calcium before you reach the age of 30. Take that extra step and make sure you consume the recommended amount of 1000 mg per day (19-50 years). Choose low fat options which are easily available to you at Lottie. Reading labels will help you find the serving sizes of the food product or you can check the website: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html

Take good care of your body and make informed food choices!

- Written By Safoora Azeem (Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Major, Messiah College)

- Reviewed by Susan Gilbert, RD, LDN (Messiah College Nutritionist)

Healthy Eating on Campus

September 3rd, 2012 by sgilbert

As a registered dietitian here at Messiah College, I occasionally hear students comment that there aren’t any healthy meal option on campus.  Others may be concerned about avoiding “the freshman fifteen.”  And still, others may crave the comfort foods of home cooking.  So these issues beg the question, “How do you go away to college, and stay on track with all of these nutritional concerns – eating a healthy diet that still tastes good while avoiding those extra pounds?”  It may sounds difficult, but by following these nutrition tips for a balanced, healthy diet, you are sure to meet your goals:

  • Make smart choices when eating at Lottie.   Choose healthy food options including loading your plate with vegetables, choosing whole grains, and selecting lean protein sources.  Remember, when you look at your plate, half of it should be filled with vegetables.  Check out the www.ChooseMyPlate.gov website for a visual display of other healthy plate ideas.
  • Enjoy the salad bar!  Fresh fruits and vegetables contain fiber and loads of vitamins and minerals which all play important roles in maintaining optimal health.  Fiber helps aid digestion and keep you feeling full longer, while vitamins and minerals are involved in many different body systems including immunity, healthy blood and bones, and may even help to prevent long term illness such as cancer and heart disease.  Be aware of some of the higher calorie items on the salad bar, however, including creamy dressings, croutons and higher fat cheeses.  These can be used in moderation, but if you are watching calories, excess amounts may tip the scales!
  • Use low-fat or non-fat dairy items to help meet your calcium, protein and vitamin D requirements.  Studies show that many teens and young adults are not getting enough of these nutrients, often due to choosing sugary beverages instead of milk.  When this happens, we not only consume empty calories, but we lose out on calcium and vitamin D.  Furthermore, sodas tend to contain a high amount of phosphorous which competes with calcium for absorption.  The result – our bones lose out!  Another benefit of low-fat or non-fat dairy is that studies show  people who consume about 3 servings of dairy per day tend to maintain healthier weights.  Try adding yogurt, low- or non-fat milk, and lower fat cheese such as Swiss cheese to your tray.  If you are unable to choose dairy products, select an alternate product such as almond milk or rice milk.
  • Watch your portion sizes.  We live in a society where bigger portion sizes in restaurants are often considered a better value.  This has caused many of us to lose focus of what a healthy portion size really is.  Use these guidelines to help visualize how much should be on your plate:

*3 oz. meat or fish = a deck of cards or a checkbook

*1 cup pasta, rice or couscous = a baseball

*1.5 oz. cheese = 3 dice

*1 cup raw or cooked vegetables = a baseball

Check out the http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate website for a great interactive tool to help visualize many other healthy portion sizes.

As you use these HELM nutrition tips on campus, you will navigate your way to healthy eating on campus!

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post them on this site.

Susan Gilbert, RD LDN

Messiah College Dietitian/Nutritionist

Hello world!

August 21st, 2012 by sgilbert

Welcome to Blogs at Messiah College. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!