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Tara Sanders–Energy Balance  March 10th, 2010

Over the last month at the Wellness RoundTable Series in UHDS dining centers we have been talking about “energy balance” and choosing foods that are “nutrient dense”.

What does all of this mean?

Energy balance means balancing the calories you take in with the calories you burn.  In general, a moderately active male (age 18-25) needs about 2800 calories to maintain balance, and a moderately active female (age 19-25) needs 2200 calories.   Surprisingly, calories can add up quickly and although the lore of the “Freshman Fifteen” is more myth than fact, on average, college freshman gain 4 pounds during the first year due to “energy imbalance”….calories taken in are MORE than calories burned.

For some, this may be the first time you are completely responsible for your own meal planning and you may struggle navigating towards choices that meet your needs.  To help you to make balanced choices, UHDS has online menus available with nutrition information, ingredient and allergy information.  Additionally, calorie information is posted on Calabaloos menu boards and all soup labels in the dining centers.

UHDS dining centers have a myriad of “nutrient dense” options; that is, options that pack a lot of nutrition with fewer calories such as fruits and vegetables available on salad bars, fruit carts and grab and go areas.  There are many lean protein and dairy options such as grilled chicken, lean turkey, beans, and lowfat milk, cheeses and soy based products as well as whole grain options such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and rolls available in all dining centers.

Additionally, the dining centers have options that are “energy dense”; they pack a lot of calories and they may be “empty calories” such as sugary soda, candy bars and chips.  While these are often perceived as unhealthy options, it is about balance and these options should be considered a “sometimes choice” rather than a daily choice.

Curious about your energy needs and ways to make your diet more “nutrient dense”? Find out more at website.

We will be resuming the Wellness Rountable Series in the Dining Centers on April 13th!  We look forward to seeing you there!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding nutrition and wellness in our dining centers.

Best of luck on finals and have a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break.

Be Well,

Tara Sanders

Registered Dietitian

Oregon State University

University Housing and Dining

Office: 541-737-3915

Cell: 541-602-9736

Rich Turnbull–Soul Food Cafe 2010  March 5th, 2010

So, last Wednesday UHDS hosted Soul Food Café at McNary Dining for the 3rd year in a row.  Soul Food Café is one of several “Journeys through Culture and Cuisine” that UHDS has hosted over the last few years and last week’s event was designed to celebrate Black History month.  Each of these cultural events is an outgrowth of our Diversity Initiative which is a multi-faceted approach to creating communities that are open, caring and supportive of students from all cultures.  As a department, our Diversity Initiative is aspirational.  We know we have more work to do to creative inclusive environments, but we are dedicated and committed to the journey and we ask the rest of the campus community to join us and support us as we travel on our journey.

Working with our campus partners brings great energy to these events and I appreciate everyone’s involvement.  The Tye Curtis blues band also brought energy to last week’s event and they rocked the house.

The menu created by our culinary team was also truly exceptional and coming up real soon will be available daily at Cooper’s Creek BBQ which will open next month at Marketplace West.

Rich Turnbull

Just another person loving the Cooper's Creek ribs.

Just another person loving the Cooper's Creek ribs.

Roberto–Soul Food Cafe experience  March 3rd, 2010

I had a pretty busy week this time. I had two midterms already, one from chemistry and the other one from Math. I feel like I did well on those midterms, hopefully. You know sometimes we feel like we did 100% well on the exams, and at the end we get lower compared to what we expected. Like I said, I had a pretty busy weekend but it was good because I can say that really did something and not just being bored doing anything.

I want to talk about my experience at the Soul Food Café. My experience can be described in only one word, and that is amazing.  I went to the Soul food Café event after my CAMP class which ended at 6:00 pm. When I got out from the class, I was rushing to get the McNary dining. I was really tired and hungry that day, and I just wanted to get there to grab some food to eat. When I got there I was really surprised. As I was getting inside McNary I got the sense that that environment was so moving. I wanted to walk all around and see what was going on. I heard good music going on, people were walking around, and other people were eating, laughing and having a good time.  As I was getting in, I realized that a jazz band was playing live, and that got even more excited. I got really keyed up when I heard the keyboard solo as the band was playing. You know I love to play the piano, and seeing someone who plays the keyboard made feel really energized. That was one of my favorite parts of such event. Also, the food was great, and I loved those pieces of the meat, and the fried bananas. Many people were walking around McNary, and the environment was perfect as for someone who just wanted to have a good time, and forget about the stress from our classes, midterms, and just to have a good time, and get relaxed.


Tara Sanders–Healthy Habits…That May Ward Off the Flu!  February 5th, 2010

You may be noticing signs of spring as you walk along campus…the sweet smell of the daphne flower blooming and crocus flowers  bursting out of the ground….although spring is approaching, we are still in what we call “flu season”.  While the flu season varies from year to year, on average, it lasts through March.

The good news?  Healthy habits can reduce your risk for getting sick.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention advises these good health habits for flu prevention

  • Practice good hygiene!
  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Be physically active
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Get plenty of sleep

There are some key nutrients that will give you an immunity boost.  Try some of the highlighted choices at our UHDS dining centers.  Not only do they taste great, but they may provide you with a little extra protection this flu season.

  • Beta Carotene, an antioxidant and source of Vitamin A, is found in dark leafy green or bright orange produce such as carrots, yams, cantaloupe and spinach.
  • Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, citrus fruits, mangoes.
  • Vitamin E, an antioxidant, is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds such as brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, flax seed and walnuts–all great sources.
  • Zinc, a mineral known for its cold fighting abilities, is found in most breakfast cereals, nuts, beans, poultry and red meat.

Be Well!

Tara Sanders

UHDS Dietitian

Roberto–First Blog from Our New Blogger! (1.22.10)  February 3rd, 2010

Its been a tired week like all of them because I have to do my homework, take care of my internship and try to stay on top of everything.   This coming Monday I’m having my first midterm for my chemistry class, and so I have to study a lot, and get ready for that test.  It’s my second term here at Oregon State University as a freshman student, and it has been two weeks since I just started my Winter term. Unfortunately, I didn’t begin the term the way I was expecting; however, I would say that I’ve learned my lesson. I think that even  though everybody makes mistakes; the good thing about it is that we can learn from them. I started to get behind on my math class for I did my math homework on the same day it was due. I didn’t have enough time to do it, and today I got the results which were not that satisfying. I think it happens, and I have to learn from this lesson.

These days, I’m starting to catch up on my homework. This experience totally woke me up and I will try not to procrastinate.

Now that I have a time to think about why I chose to live on campus, I would say that one of those reasons were because I wanted to live in place close to my classes so wouldn’t have to travel that much to get to my classrooms. Back when I lived in Hillsboro, I remember when my older brother Gregorio who goes to Portland Community college in Portland, traveled for about half an hour to get to school.

Traveling took a very huge part of his time. I saw how he struggled to woke up early in the morning to go to school and I realized that the best way to save time was by living on campus.

The first time I move to Corvallis, which was about 6 months ago, I remember I felt nervous, scared and excited at the same time. I didn’t know almost anybody, except my friends from the CAMP program.

Every place I went, I saw orange colors all around, and I realized that Oregon State colors were very popular. Also, I felt so keyed up to begin a new stage of my life, and knowing that I was going to meet a lot of people and take very hard classes. Today I can say that I was right, because in the Hall where I live which is Cahalan Hall, I have met a lot of nice people and especially my floor.  When my parents came to visit me during the second month after I moved, they were so surprised that almost everyone in my floor knew me. Even my mom told, ?Ya te volviste bien famoso?, ?You have become very famous?  Hearing that made me started to laugh, and I was happy to realize that I wasn’t a stranger here at OSU anymore.

I totally like the dining Halls, and my favorite place to eat is McNary Dining because the food there is good and above all, it is right in front of Callahan. That means that don’t have to walk very far to go to eat, because the food is right in front of me. As well, inside McNary I love to go to eat to the Boardwalk place, and my favorite food is Chinese food, especially Teriyaki beef with brown rice.   I love that plate and it makes me happy after eating it for like my grandpa says, “pansa llena, corazon contento”– “stomach full is a contented heart.”  One final thing, have you realized that the time is passing by so fast? The answer is yes, and we can’t waste our time doing nothing. That’s why my goals for this term are to stay on top of homework, and  enjoy life here at college in every way I can, like going to church, and get involved in school and do all the things that will shape my life.

Tara Sanders–“Social Networking” at the Wellness Round Table  January 26th, 2010

Interested In “Social Networking”? Check Out Dinner in UHDS Dining Centers!

We have begun the Wellness Roundtable Series and it has been a pleasure to meet you and observe the “dinner scene” in UHDS dining centers.  Dinner is a much more relaxed and social and lacks the busy, driven pace that the lunch hour takes on.  Dinner is definitely about slowing down sharing a great meal  (and laughter) with friends.

It is no surprise that we like to eat together and studies show that social eating can be good for us by improving our sense of “social connectedness” which contributes to our overall sense of well being.  Some studies show eating in a social environment can actually improve one’s overall nutritional status; this is particularly the case for those who are socially and physically isolated.

There also can be relationship between social eating and weight gain and we may eat more calories when we are with others than we do when we are eating alone.  We also tend to take in more calories when we eat at restaurants compared to when we prepare food for ourselves.

On a bright note, we can also positively influence on each other….studies show that people with strong social ties (couples, friends, family members) that exercise and engage in healthy eating together have improved success in weight loss and overall health outcomes.

So by choosing a nice crisp apple for a side or a snack you may improve your health and you may be a positive influence on your friends!  Give it a try!

I’m looking forward to meeting more of you at the Wellness Roundtable, a fun “discussion over dinner” group in the UHDS dining centers for any and all that would like to join.  Look for the Wellness Table Talk sign in the dining centers; that is where we will be meeting. Scroll down my January 5th blog to view timeframes and topics of discussion.

See you soon!  Be Well!

Tara Sanders

UHDS Registered Dietitian

Rich Turnbull–From Farm to the Table  November 19th, 2009

On Tuesday, Jeff La Magra and I were invited by Stahlbush Farms to tour their processing plant and biogas energy plant.  Stahlbush farms which is located just the other side of the Willamette River is the national leader in sustainable agriculture and food production.  Their biogas plant is the first of its kind in North America and generates enough electricity to provide service to 1100 homes by digesting the vegetable waste from its processing plant to create gas used to heat their plant and power generators to generate electricity.  We had a very interesting tour and as we continue to reach out to local farmers and ranchers to supply food for the 9500+ meals we prepare and serve every day, it made me think about a question we received the other day about how we go about purchasing the foods we use.

A few years ago we made a conscious decision to build our meal plan program around culinary excellence.  We recruited and eventually were successful in hiring Jeff La Magra who serves as our Director of Culinary Development.  Jeff heads a culinary faculty made up of our registered dietician, Tara Sanders; David Lewis and Dale Lawson at McNary Dining; Shakoda Hill at Marketplace West; and Bruce Hoerauf and Nathan McClure of Arnold Center and OSU Catering.  This creative team of culinarians works with local brokers, vendors, farmers, and ranchers to product test, evaluate and purchase the highest quality ingredients available.  We have an inventory of 7000-8000 food items in stock at any one time and over 450 items on our menus available on any given day.  It takes several vendors to supply all of our needs in order for us to provide our residents with the wide variety of choices available each day.

We buy locally when possible because we believe this is in alignment with the land grant mission of OSU.  We also know locally grown foods are generally fresher, of higher quality, last longer, support the local farm economy, and help in reducing our carbon footprint.  Our apples and pears come from Riverwood Orchard and Farms, much of our beef comes from Country Natural Beef, pork from local farms, lamb from Rainsheep Farms, berries from Willamette Fruit, bread from Williams Bakery, milk and dairy products from Spring Valley Dairy, cheeses from Tillamook and Rogue Valley and other local creameries, gelato from a gelaterria in Eugene, and a wide variety of other wonderful products from local businesses.

We use the power of a national Group Purchasing Organization, HPSI/CURB to ensure that we get the best pricing for the products we specify and we negotiate directly with national manufacturers to provide deviated pricing and marketing allowances which help reduce the cost of food to the students we serve by tens of thousands of dollars each year.  Our grocery bill is roughly $5 million per year and we serve approximately 2 million meals per year.  To prepare and serve those meals we employ nearly 100 full time staff members and about 600 part-time student employees.

Your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and questions are always welcome.  Please don’t hesitate to call me or email me.

Best regards,

Rich Turnbull

Associate Director

University Housing And Dining Services


Rich Turnbull–Issues of Sustainability  November 11th, 2009

I receive many inquiries about sustainability and our sustainable practices at Dining Services.  Sustainability has a variety of meanings.  Sometimes it’s used to refer to environmental concerns.  Sometimes it’s used to refer to nutrition and healthy food choices.  Sometimes it’s used to refer to social and ethical concerns around food production.  I tend to look at it from the perspective of, “What do I have control over and how can Dining Services purchasing and menu decisions impact the overall health of the OSU community while at the same time not becoming the Food Dictator?”

Fortunately OSU has taken a strong lead in sustainability issues and I’ve had the opportunity to speak in a variety of forums on sustainable practices in college food service.  While I’m flattered to be asked to speak, that doesn’t make me an expert.  It is something that I care about and continue to learn about and my opinions and beliefs have changed over time.

But let me share with you some of the things we are doing.  For the past several years we have been involved in composting pre-consumer waste.  This is food waste like damaged lettuce leaves that are removed prior to cleaning and chopping lettuce for the salad bars.  It includes carrot peels and all vegetable waste that occurs during the production of the over 2 million meals we prepare and serve each year.  For several years we have been requesting the opportunity to compost post-consumer waste which involves composting food and bio-degradeable food containers.  The regulations governing post-consumer waste are very strict.  The concern has to do with introducing human pathogens back into the soil and potentially resulting in contamination of food grown in that soil.  However, Allied Waste, our local garbage collector, has a composting program and we are working with them on a trial basis doing post-consumer waste composting at Marketplace West.  This has the potential of removing a significant amount of waste from the landfill as well as for providing local farmers with a nutrient rich source of compost for organic crops.

As part of this research we are converting our to-go containers to bio-degradeable products.  We are working with a local Corvallis company, Ecnow Tech, to provide and develop products for the food service industry.  This process of conversion will take place over a few years as there are still some product solutions that need to be developed.

Another area where I receive lots of questions has to do with shrinking our carbon footprint by buying locally.  We buy our beef from Country Natural Beef and other local ranches.  We also buy our pork and lamb from local ranchers.  The vast majority of our dairy products are Oregon products.  Our bread is local.  Much of our produce is grown locally, especially products we serve during the Oregon growing season.  Our first priority in purchasing is to buy local when possible, and organic when cost effective and practical.  Even if products like coffee are grown at significant distances from Corvallis we work with local roasters like Allann Brothers and Starbucks who utilize fair trade practices.

There’s lots of other stuff we are doing, so if you have questions don’t hesitate to shoot me and email or give me a call.

Best regards,

Rich Turnbull

Associate Director

University Housing And Dining Services


Rich Turnbull–Food for Thought  November 5th, 2009

Last week I talked about budget issues and the resulting change in hours.  After listening to a number of queries from customers we made some adjustments to those hours which were implemented on Monday.  In addition to customer feedback about dining hours, we also hear much feedback about the need for nutrition information in our dining centers.  This fall we have begun posting calorie information on menu boards, as well as posting full nutrition labels online for our regular menu items.  We are presently working on updating the nutritional information for all items on our menus, which are posted on the web at

Tara Sanders, the Registered Dietician for University Housing and Dining Services, will be working over the next several months to continue to update the nutrition information on the website.

I thought you might be interested in what we’ve seen in purchases this year compared to last.  While there are many factors that influence a purchasing decision, and I don’t pretend to claim that the posting of calories has impacted buying habits, it is possible that it has.  Here are last year’s top ten purchases compared to this year’s top ten purchases (in order of popularity):

Last year

  1. Deli Sandwiches
  2. Pizza
  3. Stir Fry
  4. Calzini’s
  5. Teriyaki Chicken
  6. Scrambled Eggs
  7. Cereal
  8. Chicken Strips
  9. Cheese burger
  10. Bacon Cheeseburger

This year

  1. Deli Sandwiches
  2. Pizza
  3. Calzini’s
  4. Breakfast Burrito
  5. Scrambled Eggs
  6. Stir Fry
  7. Cheeseburger
  8. Teriyaki Chicken
  9. Chicken Strips
  10. Bacon Cheeseburger

This also makes me wonder if there is some phenomenal item you’d like to see on the menu that we aren’t serving or if you have a recipe for something you would like for us to prepare.  Our culinary team meets twice a month and are continually working on new products, new recipes, watching trends in the restaurant industry, and trying to bring to campus the latest ideas in food trends.  If you have a recipe idea, please share that with us.  We are developing a Recipe From Home contest and any recipes you submit now, we’ll hang on to and enter into the contest later if you’d like us to.  Also, if you have thoughts on the posting of nutrition information, we’d like to hear that also.  It will help shape our decision making as we move forward to provide more information on the products we serve.

Best regards,

Rich Turnbull

Associate Director

University Housing And Dining Services


Javier–Difference Between Home and Corvallis  November 4th, 2009

I live on campus in Callahan Hall; I like that everybody is real social and friendly. Corvallis is way different than from where I grew up. The weather in Corvallis is different because it rains a lot. Where I come from, Nyssa, it is hot and dry in the summers and in the winter it is really cold. In Nyssa it doesn’t rain often, I guess rain in Nyssa is like snow here in Corvallis. When it snows here in Corvallis people’s reaction is like “Oh it’s snowing? WOW!” and rain in Nyssa is vice versa. I miss my mom’s cooking, Mexican food.  I found a good place that is on fourth street called “La Rockita,” I eat lunch there on Saturdays. I usually order a chicken Chimichanga, that place is good. If you’re feeling like eating Mexican food you should definitely consider going to La Rockita.

What excites me about being in this new place is that I’m setting myself up for a good future. I’m excited to get a degree and finish school so I can get a good job. I’m excited that I’m attending a university and not a college because there are so much more people I can meet here. Maybe the basketball players I meet today will be NBA superstars in five years. I’m not just excited for me, but also for the other students because later in the future I can say, “Oh I know that Doctor or I know that football player”. I’m excited to see what the outcome of my generation will be.