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College Dining Has Changed & Preventing Weight Gain This Holiday Season

On this week's episode of the Harmony With Food Radio Show, we talk about exciting changes to on campus dining, and how you stay healthy this holiday season.

Kyle Suerth on Student Dining

Kyle works as the resident district manager for Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and was introduced to me by Jennifer Toone Corrigan of In Toone Communication! Today he'll be talking to us about eating on campus.

What is LMU doing to make the student dining experience easier?

Kyle says that they work closely with the orientation team at LMU to provide them dining information through handouts and online mediums. They also hold a dining 101 event where all of the key players speak on what they do so that students can ask questions.

How has campus dining changed?

Campus dining goes far beyond cafeteria food these days. For example, their resident dining program is called Modern Recipe, which is an elevated dining brand concept created by Sodexo for LMU. It features flavorful recipes and high-quality ingredients. They launched the brand back in 2022 and then made enhancements this fall after surveying the students.

One component of this 2.0 version is their Simply Station, which is allergen-friendly with many Paleo options. It is filled with lean proteins and vegetables that are cooked in olive oil and seasoning to order. They also have acai bowls, macro bowls, and a global station that highlights flavors from around the world. Their goal is to have a flavorful menu that is still healthy.

LMU also has a dining hall that works with local mom-and-pop restaurants to bring in lunch and dinner on a rotating basis. The students have loved the program and it has been a great way for them to showcase different cultural foods.

What trends are you seeing with students?

At LMU, the plant-forward piece is really big, and the students really gravitate toward healthier options. They had a salad bar in place already, but students wanted more plant-based and vegan items available that were more exciting.

How does LMU support student wellness outside of food?

Kyle says that they are looking at wellness from a 360 perspective and actively trying to engage students in mental and physical health. For example, they partner with local health groups on campus to do things like host weekly yoga sessions.

How does LMU handle dietary restrictions?

LMU has a wellness coordinator who has a dietetic background and can assist with any dietary needs whether students are vegan, celiac, diabetic, etc. They bring in students to meet with their executive chefs and operations team to discuss their needs. For students that have strict allergy needs, they go as far as creating custom menus for them.

The Holiday Season Doesn't Have To Mean Weight Gain

When it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving, many of us are going into a food coma then waking up feeling like we're hungover. When you go to bed super full with high blood sugar, you're going to wake up when it drops. That means that after you consume too much food, you wind up feeling sick, bloated, and tired.

Food is meant to give us energy, not the opposite of that. If food seems to be taking away your energy rather than giving you more, you may be eating too much, or eating the wrong things for your body.

Keep It At A 5: The Key to Healthier Holidays

With food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving, many people make the mistake of not eating all day leading up to the meal. That means you're going into the meal completely ravenous, which means you're far more likely to overeat.

That's why my mantra is to Keep It At A 5™. On a scale of 0 to 10 where zero is not hungry at all and 10 is starving, you want to stay at a 5. A 5 is perfectly satisfied. Not hungry, not overly-full. If you're not sure how full you're feeling, take a break, get up, and go wash your hands and try to assess how you're feeling.

In addition to not overeating, don't go to a holiday party hungry. Have a snack with protein and healthy fat ahead of time, like an apple and peanut butter for example, so you don't wind up overeating because you were so hungry.

Your Diet Do Over: Special Offer

One way you can stay on track this holiday season is with my program, Your Diet Do Over. This is my signature 8-week program where I teach you how to lose weight and start feeling better without dieting. I also include healthy meal plans, work outs, teach you how to read labels, and so much more.


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