Boost or Ensure?

23 Apr

At our last meeting, a few dedicated SLUDA members had the opportunity to sample a few food products.  You can probably guess from the title that two of these items were Boost and Ensure.  These are two nutritional supplements that we are likely as RDs to recommend to patients during our career.  Should we know what these taste like if we are going to tell our patients to drink them?  You bet!

We also added in a bit of an odd ball pairing of hip food products, chia seeds and PB2.

Chia seeds are the latest super food.   These seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha linolenic acid (ALA).  How does chia compare to flax?  You do not need to grind the chia seeds, making it a bit easier to get those omega 3s.

As for the PB2,  I could not resist adding this to the list. PB2 is powdered peanut butter. Slow roasted peanuts are pressed to remove the oil.  The result is an all-natural powder with all of the delicious roasted peanut butter goodness but with nearly 85% less fat calories.  Crazy right?   For peanut butter addicts (you know who you are), this is a revelation.  PB2 can be eaten reconstituted in water (tastes a lot like peanut butter) or added to recipes, such as smoothies, which is what we did for the tasting.  We had a simple banana smoothie (supposedly the Best Chiquita Banana Smoothie recipe) so we could try both the PB2 and chia seed blended into it.   The smoothies were not a hit.  Perhaps it was the blending method (Robot coupe – see note about technical difficulties) or the recipe (sorry Chiquita) but quite a bit of the banana smoothie was discarded.

The highlight of the tasting was the comparison between Boost and Ensure.  Both nutritional supplements were chocolate flavored but not equal.  5 out of 6 SLUDA tasters * preferred Ensure.  Why?  Because Ensure tasted more like chocolate milk, of course!  Boost was described as chalky and malt-flavored.  The small number of tasters did allow for a bit of experimentation.  This included adding PB2 to the Ensure, resulting in peanut butter and chocolate together in a creamy drink.  Delicious.

Technical difficulties** aside, this was a fun activity.  We were a bit chaotic with our sampling but we had a small number of tasters.  With a larger group, it was suggested that we sample in an orderly fashion and discuss each item before moving on to the next.  This is a great idea!  Also, for simplicity, we kept the selection of food items small since it was our first SLUDA tasting.  However, with feedback like, “interesting”,  “fun” and “good idea”, this is an activity that should be repeated and with more variety!

Are there any new foods that you would like to try?  Send your suggestions so the SLUDA eboard can plan the next one.

*OK so we only had a total of 6 people tasting and it certainly was not a representative sample of SLUDA.

** The food lab blender is missing the rubber ring and, yeah, it is crucial that it be in place.  Instructions here:

Never seen PB2 or chia seeds?  Here they are.

PB2 Image


Chia seeds

Chia seeds


Empty Bowls Fundraiser

19 Mar

Empty Bowls Logo
“50.1 million Americans struggle to put food on the table”.

Be a hero.  Buy a bowl.  Save a life.

The St. Louis University Dietetic Association is conducting an Empty Bowls fundraiser March 19-21. Buy an empty bowl to fight hunger in America and receive a 50% voucher for delicious soup from Pickleman’s!

Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe Logo

Hand-painted bowls will be sold from 12-5 PM at the following locations:
March 19 – Busch Student Center
March 20/ 21 – Fresh Gatherings (Medical Campus)

Vouchers can be redeemed at Pickleman’s March 19-21.

Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt Company Logo

Do you want to do more?
Flying Cow will donate part of their proceeds to Empty Bowls on March 20 from 7 – 10 pm.

Stop by and enjoy frozen yogurt for a good cause!

All money raised will be donated to a local food bank.
Contact if you have any questions!

Bring on the Pig!

14 Feb

By Theresa Reynolds

Chef Mic and students display their pig

Last year, I took Advanced Meat Analysis and Knife Skills, Diet 414. This is a required class for my culinary arts emphasis that I am taking along with Nutrition and Dietetics. For those who do not know about this track, it simply means that I have to take a few culinary classes instead of other electives. I take all of the same Dietetic classes (except Clinical Practicum, unfortunately) and will be able to apply for the internship and take the RD exam afterwards.
For Diet 414, the lab sessions include “hands-on fabrication of beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry and fish. I could talk about our seafood day or I could talk about the different ways to cut up a chicken. However, I think that getting a whole pig in a class and then breaking him down into 5 primal cuts in less than six hours will make a pretty good topic. It also doesn’t hurt that we got some pretty great pictures of the process.

When we got the pig in he was already split in half. This disappointed our teacher because he had hoped for us students to take the band saw and split him down the middle. We all managed to get a lot of sawing in so I don’t feel that we missed out too much on that experience. With the encouraging advice of “just go for it and figure it out as you go along” and a guide book of butchery our teacher gave us permission to dismember Porky.
I guess I should mention that we were not completely thrown into this without guidance. Before this class we had a discussion about the 5 primal cuts found in a pig. A primal cut are the larger cuts made that are then fabricated or broken down into smaller more recognizable portions. These primal cuts are the Boston butt, Picnic shoulder, Loin, Belly and Ham. Here is a picture:

Pig Diagram

The Boston butt is meaty and tender with lean meat. It is used primarily in smoking and barbequing. The picnic shoulder is also used in similar methods but has more bone because it includes the leg. This leg or “hock” is smoked and added to dishes, like greens, for flavor. The belly (called side in the picture) is very fatty and that is where bacon and spare ribs are found. The loin contains the back ribs and pork tenderloin. The ribs are usually barbequed and the tenderloin can be roasted or sautéed. The fresh ham is the butt which is confusing because the front end is called the Boston butt. This is where your honey-baked ham or cured ham is made from.

It was very interesting to see the whole (200 pound) animal where my bacon or pork chops come from at Schnucks. It made me appreciate my food a little bit more and also the convenience that we have of being able to buy already cut up meat. It wasn’t impossible but butchering the pig was a hard and long process. It has given me perspective and the realization that my food is not just something that comes in a Styrofoam plastic wrapped case.

The pig's head
He wasn’t so bad. Definitely easy on the eyes!

Theresa carves her pig

Off with his head!

Theresa Reynolds is a Junior in Nutrition & Dietetics

The Milk Motto

31 Jan

During the Fall semester, the Community Nutrition class was assigned the task of creating marketing materials to deliver a nutrition message to a specific target audience.  Gabby Corvington, Linda Nguyen and Taranjeet Singh created this fun music video to encourage teen girls to drink milk.  Follow them on Facebook at:  and learn more about their creative process in the interview with the filmmakers below.

What gave you the idea to shoot a music video? 

Taranjeet: The idea to shoot a music video was a result of a lot of brainstorming. At first, we thought of ways to connect with preteens and teens.

Gabby:  We kept thinking okay what do teen girls like? Teens like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and music!

Linda: We stumbled upon a website that rapped about calcium, and it clicked with us that we should create our own.

Gabby: We decided to focus on making a song about teen girls and how they need to get more calcium in their diets.

What inspired you?

Gabby: I knew that the acronym “YOLO” (you only live once) was a popular saying among teens ever since the song “The Motto” by a rapper named Drake came out. Because this is so popular we decided to focus on making a remix out of the song, which was very fun! I like making remixes to songs. We knew we had to make it fun because if you are too serious, you won’t be able to get a message across to this group. Linda did an awesome job editing the video!

Taranjeet: In today’s world, hip-hop and fashion are “in” while things such as osteoporosis and other health problems don’t really cross a teenager’s mind. Overall, this idea of connecting with our audience and making it “cool” were the biggest inspirations to shoot this music video!

How did you choose the locations used to film it?

Gabby: Linda, Taranjeet and I were brainstorming locations of where teens would hang out. We thought about malls or the Delmar Loop but did not really want to film at either of those spots. Linda knew of a graffiti wall right here in St. Louis, which was huge and very colorful! It was perfect to go with our rap song.

Linda: I was inspired by my own hip-hop dance team, XQuizit (XQ), that I was a part of for the past 3 years at SLU.  “The Motto” was actually a song that we had danced to! While in my reminiscent state, I thought of the amazing mile-long graffiti wall, which was where XQ had done a photo shoot. I thought this seemed very appropriate for such a song–it is colorful, fun, youthful and very urban/hip.  I don’t know about everyone else, but when I see graffiti walls, I automatically think hip-hop/rap-scenes. Gabby decided to throw in the Schnucks location specifically because we had it in our lyrics and wanted visuals.

Did the project give you any insights into working with teens?  

Gabby: I realized that when working with teens you have to be updated on what is current.  I feel like my group had an advantage because we aren’t that many years away from the adolescent age.

Linda: I had to revert back 5 years and imagine what I cared most about. I was also able to observe how my teenage niece is now. Her life and friends revolve around “beauty” and “fashion”. These girls don’t really care about the future of their bones or even know what “osteoporosis” means.  They are all about the here and now. Working on this project, I was reminded how much, at this age, your friends and surroundings impact your development of self-identity. Teenage girls really care about their outward appearance and the habits/hobbies they pick up or how they think are highly influenced by friends, school and the media; thus, we wanted to focus on the fact that getting calcium now helps with their growth and supports the many changes they experience.

Did the project shape your view of dietetics?

Gabby: This did shape my view of dietetics because I started to see how creative you can be in this field! You can get an important message across but still make things fun at the same time. I am so thankful to have a major where I am able to create and turn ideas into realities.

Linda: For me, this media project demonstrated the importance of personalizing dietary goals.  It is our job to identify our target audience (or in clinical settings: client/patient) and what they are concerned about, not what we think they are concerned about.  We want to be patient-centered! The most effective way to carry out a message for any behavior change is to increase perceived benefits and tailor the message to their interests.  Sometimes all it takes is a little research, and creativity.

Taranjeet: I think this was one of those experiences that really led me to believe that nutrition and dietetics is a fun, creative, and innovative field that can really reach out to various audiences. By knowing how to get across the message, everyone can be able to have the tools needed to implement a healthy lifestyle.

What was the most fun aspect?

Gabby: The most fun aspect was shooting the video. It was 70 degrees outside and beautiful! Linda brought her niece who brought along two other friends and they were all in high school so it was awesome to have actual teen girls in our video. I think what is even more fun now is the responses we are getting. People seem to really like our idea and the video itself. We have received a lot of positive comments. Even though this was just a project, I would like to keep the Facebook page up. I hope it actually does encourage teen girls to get more calcium!

Taranjeet: I think the entire process was an amazing experience but I love the actual shooting of the video the most. All of us, including the teenagers, had tons of fun with carrying dairy products around at odd places, walking by the graffiti wall, dancing and continuously having to re-shoot since we were all laughing. Our group can easily say that it was one of the best projects that we have created in our undergraduate years!

Linda:  Everything. I think we had a lot of fun with every process, from lyric-writing and brainstorming ideas on paper to actually bringing it to life. Creating fliers and editing videos are some things that I’ve always had the knack for; hence, my interest in marketing as a post-graduate study. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to put my creativity and marketing skills to the test. It definitely fuels my profound interest to invest in a nutrition and marketing degree in the future.

Gabby, Linda and Taranjeet are seniors in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Interview by Jessica Moeller-Gaa, SLUDA secretary

Tips for Working with the Media & Cookie Decorating

13 Jan
After decorating cookies, SLUDA members gathered in front of the tree for a festive photo!

After decorating cookies, SLUDA members gathered in front of the tree for a festive photo!

What do you think of when I say “Dietitians in the Media”? That was the question posed by Lauren Landfried to start her discussion about the role of the RD in communicating nutrition information through media channels.
Do we see enough RDs in this expert role? No. We do not see enough RDs, the nutrition experts, speaking in the media but we should!

Lauren has appeared on several local news channels:

  • Fox 2 News in the Morning with Tim Ezzel in a 3-part segment on the N&D Garden covering background on the garden, disability access and the chickens as well as a feature on local Let’s Move activities.
  • Channel 11, 2 and 5 to promote Food Day
  • Channel 9 discussing Food Security

Here are her tips for working with the media:

  1. Be prepared for EVERYTHING!  Do your research!
  2. Be confident! You are the expert!  Your lack of confidence will show.
  3. Smile and dress professional. Even for radio interviews!
  4. Have fun! You are entering a cool field.

Q&A with Lauren

Do you get nervous?
Yes. Every time. I freak out on the inside but I calm myself. I remind myself that I am the expert. I have never been asked anything I didn’t know but it is OK if it happens. Roll with it.

Looking back on your first interview, is there anything you wish you had done differently?

Hand motions don’t look so good on tv

What dietitian do you like to watch?
I just don’t see enough from the profession, so you should get inspired to lead the charge!!  Be proud of your profession.

The meeting was a joint session with the Culinary Club!  It is the first of many collaborations so be part of both!  Upcoming joint activities include swanky restaurant tours.  Stay tuned!  To learn more about the Culinary Club, search “SLU Culinary Club” on Facebook to locate their page.

We also voted on the new Service Committee leader and discussed a wish list for future meetings.

We topped it all off with icing, of course!  Check out some of the festive cookies (fashioned by Kimaya) and watch a clip of one of Lauren’s first on-camera interviews.

Have a wonderful holiday!
Holiday Cookies

Make a Difference Day 2012

1 Nov

Make a Difference Day at the Saint Louis Botanical Garden

What were you up to this weekend? Studying, baking, running, traveling? For over 3,000 SLU students the answer to this question is simple: participating in Make a Difference Day. For those who are Make A Difference Day (MADD) newbies, I will give you a quick rundown. One Saturday every October, thousands of SLU students rise early and come together to engage in service throughout the Saint Louis Community. Each year the event has a special theme. This year it was sustainability. Very fittingly, this year’s group of SLUDA volunteers was sent to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Though a bit chilly, the day was gorgeous (see picture above), fun, and rewarding.

This weekend was the last for the Children’s garden so many activities were set up as a final goodbye to the flower-friendly weather. Stations included bouquet making, planting daffodil bulbs, face painting and—my personal favorite—tasting fresh vegetables grown right in the Botanical Gardens. It was great to see so many children out, active and eating fresh veggies. Surprisingly beets were very popular among the 10 and under crowd!

With the beautiful scenery, happy children and awesome volunteers, MADD at the Botanical Gardens was the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Hopefully I’ve enticed you to getting involved with this and other SLUDA community events. See you next year—bright and early—for MADD 2013!

Beth Grollmes is a sophomore majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics.  When she isn’t encouraging children to try new veggies, Beth can be found sipping cappuccinos or watching Friends.

A Rewarding Experience as a Campus Kitchen Intern

9 Oct

It is a brilliant idea. Industrial kitchens AND a large pool of potential volunteers (AKA students) itching to perform service hours make college campuses the ideal location to create a partnership in hunger relief. Thus, the Campus Kitchen project was born.

A national non-profit based out of Washington D.C., Campus Kitchens transform gleaned grocery store food or recovered cafeteria food and turn it into a well-rounded meal that meets nutrition criteria. The meals are then packaged and distributed to those in need within the surrounding community.

Hannah Sabella spent her summer as an Intern at SLU’s Campus Kitchen location. I sat down with her to learn more about this exciting and rewarding opportunity.

What can you tell me about the Campus Kitchen Project on SLU’s campus?

SLU’s Campus Kitchen, located in Reinert Hall, prepares 400 supplemental meals per week and hand delivers them to low income, disabled and elderly individuals located at Council Towers, Grand View Towers, Our Ladies Inn, the YWCA and Father Dempsey Charities.

The kitchen receives 8 tons of food per week from Trader Joe’s grocery stores. The food is expired or damaged food that is still edible but the grocery store can no longer sell. We then use this food to prepare the meals. We may purchase staples like cooking oil and sugar but the goal is to use as much of the gleaned food as possible, fresh food first, without purchasing anything additional. This makes meal prep Iron chef-like because we never know what ingredients we will have from week to week and there may be an odd combination of ingredients.

As the Campus Kitchen Intern, what were your duties?

During the summer, high school students participating in an urban plunge retreat rotated through Campus Kitchen as one of their work sites. I worked with these groups of high school students to cook 80-90 meals each day.

It was a lot of fun! We made a competition out of it and split into teams to see who could prepare the best meal using the ingredients on hand. Sometimes this included a mystery can as an ingredient. We then packaged the food and delivered it during that same shift.

The student groups rotated through every two days so there were a lot of new faces to manage. I was the only intern but I also had the opportunity to work with the Americorps volunteer assigned to the kitchen.

Were there additional learning activities associated with the role?

I received Servsafe certification and Campus Kitchens paid for it! Other than that, there weren’t specific learning projects or activities outside of the regular duties; however, the position itself offered a wealth of opportunities for personal growth. Time management skills were necessary to coordinate food preparation so that we finished each component of the meal at the same time. Plus, I gained experience people managing numerous groups of high school students.

Managing high school students is no easy task!

Had you volunteered with Campus Kitchen before applying?

No. I had not.

How did you find out about the position?

Someone mentioned the opening and I reached out to Jenny at Campus Kitchens, told her I was interested and sent her my resume.

Why did you want to participate with Campus Kitchens?

Initially, I saw it as an available internship and so I applied. Then, during the interview process, I learned more about what Jenny (Director of the Campus Kitchen at SLU) did and thought, this is the kind of career I want!

Was it what you expected?

Yes. The duties were spelled out rather well during the initial interview.
It was a great experience. I felt like I was doing something meaningful.

What aspect of the role made the most impact on you? How has the experience changed you?

I gained insight into urban poverty and food deserts. I would see the same people each week and developed a connection with them.

Also, I held a leadership role but at the end of the day, I was the one responsible for cleaning up the kitchen. I wielded the mop and bucket. It was humbling.

Do you have new insights into your future career in dietetics?

The experience with urban poverty solidified my desire to get my MPH and work in community nutrition. No one should be hungry in the USA.

It isn’t often that we are aware of the moments that define us. We don’t often get confirmation that we have chosen the right career path. Hannah’s experience as a Campus Kitchen Intern offered those moments of clarity. She was excited to go to work each day and thought “I am on the right path. I could do something like this one day.”

The only way YOU are going to gain this kind of insight is to get out there and get INVOLVED. It may be working in a campus kitchen, teaching kids to eat their vegetables or finding creative ways to channel your love of nutrition into an exciting NEW activity.

If you do want to try campus kitchen, you don’t have to wait for a summer internship. Sign-up for a volunteer shift and find out what it is all about. Who knows, you may have a meaningful experience like Hannah. Visit SLU’s campus kitchen webpage to learn more or complete the volunteer application form.

Hannah Sabella is a junior studying Nutrition and Dietetics. When she isn’t leading high school students in mock-Iron Chef competitions, she hits the airwaves on KSLU

By Jessica Moeller-Gaa, DPD Student in Nutrition and Dietetics