Health & Wellness

3 Healthy Habits for Life

By Amanda Schroeder Hege
June 25th, 2014

Amanda Schroeder Hege, Sodexo Mid-Atlantic Dietetic Intern

As one of three girls, my mom coached us to eat all of our fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep, and be physically active every day.  During my dietetic internship with Sodexo, I realized that this is much easier said than done.  According to the CDC, only 33% of us adults get the recommended servings of fruit in a day.[1] Only one in five meet the overall physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity a week[2] and less than 40% of adults get the recommended amount of sleep in a night.[3] The question remains, what is stopping us from living a healthy life?

The USDA’s MyPlate recommends enjoying half a plate of fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables will protect us against certain cancers, fill us up, reduce our risk of developing heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, lower our blood pressure, and help achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.  You can add leftover veggies to soups or stir-fries, top cereal with fruit, add extra veggies to your sandwiches, and make a smoothie with frozen fruit and yogurt. Try to eat breakfast with fruit every morning and keep fruits and veggies on hand for quick snacks.  For more tips, visit

Sleep is important for health and well-being throughout all stages of the lifecycle.  Sleep helps us perform well, work effectively and safely, fight off infection, maintain a healthy heart, prevent diabetes and obesity, and control emotions and behavior.  Having a regular bedtime each night will help to get enough sleep.  Bedtime routines such as reading or bathing before bed are also helpful in aiding sleep patterns.  We need 7-8 hours of sleep a night!

Physical activity does not have to be running a marathon or hitting the gym five times a week, start slow and look for simple ways to be active.  Add small amounts of activity into your day by parking farther away and taking the stairs.  Plan time to do activities you enjoy such as walking, riding a bike, playing basketball, hula-hooping or jumping rope.  Be active with a buddy and keep track of your activities to keep you motivated.  Daily physical activity will help you live longer, boost your mood, sleep better, keep your muscles and bones strong, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and enjoy yourself with friends.

What are three simple goals that will work for you? Personally, as a future registered dietitian, my vision is that health is about being the best version of myself. “Believe in yourself all that you are. Know there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

*Amanda Schroeder Hege is a cum laude graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition and a minor in Chemistry.  She previously was the Nutrition Services Coordinator at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC where she developed and led a nutrition program from its origin.  This work contributed to her selection as one of ten members on the Nutrition Solutions Working Group in the Future of Food partnership with Feeding America, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and The National Dairy Council.  Amanda is currently a dietetic intern in Sodexo’s Mid-Atlantic Dietetic Internship, Wellness Emphasis.

[1] State Report. Majority of Americans not Meeting Recommendations for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. CDC. September 29, 2009. Retrieved on April 30, 2014 at

[2] One in five adults meet overall physical activity guidelines. CDC. May 2, 2013. Retrieved on April 30, 2014 at

[3] Jones, J. U.S., 40% Get Less Than Recommended Amount of Sleep. Gallup Well-Being. December 19, 2013. Retrieved on April 30, 2014 at

Cook Time with Chef Remmi Recipe: Blueberry and Cucumber Salad

By Chef Remmi Smith
June 20th, 2014

Chef Remmi Smith

June is the month we celebrate “National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.” And it is no wonder because farmers’ markets all across the country are brimming with huge varieties of summer fruits and vegetables. This month in particular berries are in season and can be purchased at reasonable prices. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in abundance! This month I am sharing one of my favorite salad recipes “Cucumber and Blueberry Salad.” This is a great time to make this salad as all of the ingredients are in season and can be purchased at your farmer’s market.

This is a very quick and easy salad to make. Recently I was working with and filming with a chef who taught me about “canvas foods.” These are foods that can be paired with multiple other foods and prepared in a lot of unique ways. I would call the two main ingredients in this recipe “ canvas foods.” Cucumbers can be mixed with so many different foods because if its subtle flavor. Blueberries have this same quality and can be used in fruit and vegetable salads, they make a great sauce with white meats, and they offer a variety of options in baking. And, of course just a big bowl of fresh blueberries as a snack are pretty awesome too!

While this salad is delicious it is also a beautiful presentation! Berries make the world a more beautiful place and the blueberries and strawberries (yes I put these berries in everything) pop with color.  There is no way kids are not going to like this dish!

The US is the largest producer of blueberries in the world. It is the second most important berry crop in the US grossing over $850 million a year. The ‘Strawberry” is number 1-Yes I just had to put that in as strawberries are my most favorite food!

And, did you know there are only 16 people in the US with the last name “Blueberry?” What a cool name!

Blueberries are one of the super foods that are foods you should try to eat everyday! They are low in calories and are packed with antioxidants. They are great for hearth health, reducing the risk of cancer, and they can also boost memory loss. They have a high degree of fiber and Vitamin C….WOW that’s a ton of big stuff from that little berry!

I hope you enjoy the recipe. June is “National Picnic Month” so please enjoy an outing with your family. I look forward to my next column when I will be presenting PEACHES in my “Peach Salad with Basil Vinaigrette.”

Hugs and Veggies! <3Remmi!

Don’t Sweat It: Staying Hydrated This Summer is Easy!

By Jillian Butt, RD, LD
June 11th, 2014

Jillian Butt, RD, LD

Summer is the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and get active!  Staying hydrated during fun activities and throughout the day is vital for optimal health.  This is because water is an essential nutrient that is responsible for controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, flushing the body of toxins, and controlling metabolism.  The body is 50-65% water, and even just 2% loss can lead to very serious health concerns.

Staying hydrated can be especially tricky with rising temperatures that can lead to additional losses, but don’t sweat it! Here are some tips to stay hydrated and healthy this summer:

1. Know your fluid goals! According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult male requires 3.7 liters while the average adult female requires 2.7 liters.    This includes content from both foods and liquids.  Shoot for 9-12 cups a day! Don’t worry about overdoing it; there is no upper limit for the average healthy individual.

2. It’s all about variety! Keep it interesting by drinking several different fluids throughout the day.  Stick to calorie-free options such as flavored water, unsweet tea, and coffee when possible.  In addition, you can infuse your water with cucumber, lemon, or strawberries!  Don’t count alcohol as this can actually dehydrate you!

2. Eat your water too! Include high moisture foods such as soups, fresh fruits and vegetables, popsicles, and yogurt in your diet.  These foods can contribute to about 20% of average daily water intake.

3. Listen to your body! If you are thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.  Make sure your urine color stays pale and clear and that you are going every two to four hours during the day.  In addition, watch for signs of dehydration such as cramping, head ache, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and dry cough.

5. Take it to-go! Invest in a reusable water bottle to keep your fluids with you on-the-go!  This is also a great way to measure how much fluid you are taking in.  Pick a bottle that is easy to carry with you and refill as needed.

6. Remind yourself!  Set “water alarms” on your phone, or put post-its throughout your home and car to remind yourself it’s time to rehydrate.

7. Are you an athlete? Athletes require additional fluid before, during, and after exercise, especially in the summer heat.  Even very small losses can have a big effect on performance.  Remember to drink plenty of fluid before your workout; this could mean the night before if you are an early morning starter.  Weigh yourself before and after to give yourself an idea on how much you should replace from sweat losses.  Save sports drinks for over 60 minute sessions, and shoot for a sports drink with 6-8% carbohydrate content.

It’s time to get out and soak in the sun!  Keep these tips in mind to stay healthy and hydrated all summer long!

Jillian Butt, RD, LD, lives and works in Charleston, SC as a Sodexo Registered Dietitian.  She is currently the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Trident Medical Center.

Mindful Eating – Providing Simplicity In Making Healthy Choices

By Crystal Cates, RD, LD, CDE
May 29th, 2014
Crystal Cates, RD, LD, CDE,

Crystal Cates, RD, LD, CDE,

Mindful by Sodexo helps consumers make healthier living an easy choice everyday. It is made up of 3 main components: Food, Consumer Education, Activities and Tools. Below, I discuss each of these components in more detail.


Begin by featuring the Mindful Heroes. These are the best sellers. At Georgetown Hospital System, we feature a Mindful Special each day of the week at a different station in our Café. For example, on Monday we feature Soup & Salad stations, on Wednesday we feature the Entrée station, on Fridays we feature the Deli or Grill stations, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we feature the Mindful Pizzettas. When the Pizzettas first came out, we offered a “Try It Before You Buy It” sample as a way to promote this new item. At that time, we featured the Pizzettas only on Thursdays. But due to its growing popularity, we now offer it twice each week.

There is a variety of Mindful recipes available to select from – complete meals, entrees, sides, soups, desserts and snacks. New Mindful Heroes are added every trimester.

Use the Mindful Icon on ID tags so customers can quickly find what they want as this icon helps identify healthier items. Draw attention to the MyFitnessPal barcodes printed on the Mindful Hero signs. We communicate this to our hospital employees at Lunch n Learns, meetings and we are available during café hours to demonstrate how to use the barcode scanner feature for a smart phone. At Georgetown Hospital System, we feature our daily Mindful specials using Sodexo Menu Graphics web-based interactive weekly menu posted to our hospital’s intranet.  This interactive menu includes nutrition information and can be customized for your facility.

Customer Education

Tools are available to post in your retail space such as Printed Rack Cards that feature helpful nutrition tips & also promote the Consumer Website . Here you will see social media integration (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), fitness & lifestyle tips, Mindful newsletters, & Mindful recipes to make at home.

Activities & Tools

On the Consumer Website, you will learn more about the interactive tools for wellness including:  

  • MyFitnessPal
  • Fitbit
  • BMI calculator
  • Ask Our Dietitians

Implementing Mindful recipes, education and tools in your retail space is not only exciting but is easy to do using these resources as a guide.

Crystal Cates, RD, LD, CDE,  is a Wellness Nutrition Manager, at Georgetown Hospital System along Coastal South Carolina

Cook Time with Remmi Recipe: Asian Lettuce Wraps with Orange Sauce

By Chef Remmi Smith
May 16th, 2014

Chef Remmi Smith

In May we are celebrating the winner of Sodexo’s Future Chef’s Contest. Each year Sodexo comes up with recipe theme and schools all across the country are involved. This year the theme was healthy sandwiches. Students compete with other students from their school and the winners compete at the city regional, and then national level. Congratulations to our national winner eight year old Mary Jane from Troy School District in Michigan! She made an awesome and delicious “Cucumber Sandwich.”

Speaking of “awesome” I love lettuce wraps. I don’t know who invented lettuce wraps but what a genius! They are fun to eat and you can get really creative. This month I am presenting my “Asian Lettuce Wraps with Orange Sauce.” This dish is quick to prepare and the flavors are kid friendly. This is another one of my dishes that combines vegetables with fruit giving the dish a natural sweet flavor.

Did you know the flavor of orange is the third most favorite flavor behind chocolate and vanilla? Oranges originated in Southeast Asia in 4000 BC.  There are over 600 varieties of oranges in the world, and Brazil is the largest producer. Most oranges have 10 segments, and the bigger the naval the sweeter the taste.

Oranges are very high in fiber. Just one orange gives you 130% of your daily requirement for Vitamin C. Other health benefits include stroke preventions, high blood pressure, cancer, and overall heart health. The Vitamin C is also a great benefit to healthy skin.

A great way to add more oranges in your diet is to add them to your salads. Slice them up for dessert and add a spice like cinnamon. I hope you enjoy this dish which serves up oranges in an unusual way. I don’t know who invented lettuce wraps but what a genius! I look forward to sharing my love of blueberries next month when I share my “Cucumber and Blueberry Salad!”

Again, Congratulations to Mary Jane for the 2014 winner of the Future Chef’s Contest. I cannot wait to meet you when I come to Troy, Michigan and celebrate your win!

Now…that’s a wrap!

Hugs and Veggies! <3 Remmi

The Mindful Mile

By Marianne Koch
May 13th, 2014

Marianne Koch

One day last fall, I was sitting in the Wellness Council meeting at our hospital when the reflection was read.  It was titled “Mindful”.  That got me thinking about Sodexo’s Mindful program and all the information I had read about it.  The one piece that jumped out at me was the Mindful Mile. I’ve been a runner since I was in high school and have many marathons under my belt, so I really love to see people out walking, jogging, running….MOVING. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are or what shape you’re in …just that you are out there.  At Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare- All Saints in Racine, Wisconsin (20 minutes south of Milwaukee), we have two different hospital campuses three miles apart.

Our larger campus would be perfect for the Mindful Mile, but we when we do events like this, we make sure we do them at both campuses.

So, I proposed the idea of doing the Mindful Mile to my counterparts on the Wellness Council and they were all for it.  Next, I enlisted the services of my friend who is the Facilities and Maintenance Director and out we went with a wheel measuring to measure off a mile.  We used a blueprint of the campus to mark where we would put signs and need sentries to make sure our associates safely cross walkways.  I’m sure people were looking out their windows wondering what we were doing.  I laminated the directional signs that came in the roll out packet and used snow plow guide rods to mount them for the big day.  We did the same for the smaller campus.

The Wellness Council picked a day in October.  We sent out communication to all associates to have them join us in the Mindful Mile. Unfortunately, it was gray and in the 40s.  We anxiously awaited to see how many associates would show up.  We ended up with about 25 people at the larger campus and 7 at the smaller campus. Not a huge number, but there was great energy and they really seemed to enjoy getting out for 15 minutes at lunch time to get a walk in.

Mindful Mile

The Wellness Council decided to do an organized Mindful Mile a 3-4 times a year.  The maps have been posted on our intranet site and we even rolled them out recently for the hospital’s virtual walk from training camp to Miller Park.

Identifying Malnutrition in Acute Care Patients: Nutrition Focused Physical Assessment

By Jessica R. Perez, RD, LD
April 24th, 2014
Jessica R Perez, RD, LD

Jessica R Perez, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian II

Malnutrition develops when the body does not get the right amount of micronutrients, vitamins, and or minerals it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics it is estimated that 30-50% of hospitalized patients can be considered malnourished. Malnutrition can be identified by percentage of weigh lost over a given time, documented low nutrition consumption, and/ or low BMI. However, this information is not always available. Thus, it is also important to recognize the physical signs that a patient is malnourished.

The Sodexo Nutrition Team is strengthening their skills with emphasis on malnutrition diagnosis and care by using nutrition focused physical examinations. These exams are an essential component of practice and provide the opportunity for early identification and treatment of patients that are malnourished upon admit or are at risk for becoming malnourished during their hospitalization.

A few of the physical signs of malnutrition are:

Muscle wasting- which is defined as a decrease in the mass of the muscle; it can be a partial or complete wasting away. Muscle atrophy results from a co-morbidity of several common diseases, including cancer, AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal failure, anorexia and severe burns. Muscle waiting can be present in many areas including the temporal region, clavicle, deltoid, biceps, quadriceps, and chest.

Reduced grip strength- measurement of hand grip strength has gained attention as a simple, non-invasive way to test muscle strength using a tool known as a dynamometer. Impaired grip strength is an indicator of increased postoperative complications, increased length of hospitalization, and higher re-hospitalization rate. In the elderly, loss of grip strength can mean loss of independence.

Low percent body fat – Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat is about 2–5% in men, and 10–13% in women. A number of methods are available for determining body fat percentage, such as measurement with calipers or through the use of bioelectrical impedance analysis.

Other signs physical signs of malnutrition include edema, poor skin turgor, poor dentition, and poor appearance of skin, hair or nails. For more specifics on malnutrition and nutrition focused physical exams visit the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition or Sodexo Nutrition Team at

Cook Time with Remmi Recipe: Green Bean and Potato Curry

By Chef Remmi Smith
April 22nd, 2014

Chef Remmi Smith

Happy Easter! It is just around the corner and I am already planning our Easter Feast with my mother. We are pretty traditional serving the ham as the main fare and the ever popular deviled eggs. When it comes to the other dishes for the Easter meal, I am given a lot of latitude allowing me to bring new dishes to the lineup.  As with most holidays, food is a focal point to the celebration, and always gives me happiness.

Now let’s get cooking with the wonderful and versatile bean……..

For this month’s recipe I selected the “green bean” and created “Green Beans and Potato Curry.”  What I love about vegetables is the pairing combinations are endless and when you combine one or more together unique favor profiles are created. This is a simple dish to prepare and it is hearty enough to make as a meatless main dish.  I really love the addition of the curry and it takes this dish to the top of one of my favorites. The recipe calls for just 3/4th teaspoon of curry, but if you really love the taste of curry you really need to add more!

The really cool thing about beans is they are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Another cool thing is there are so many different kinds of beans it gives a lot of variety, different flavors and textures to choose from.  In common all beans provide protein, fiber and calcium which are important nutrients. Beans can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.

While Easter egg hunts, candy baskets, and Sunday brunches are some of our traditions in the US, Easter is celebrated all over the world and there are a lot of fun traditions. Peru takes on a 10 day celebration with music, dancing, streets covered in flowers, bull running, nightly fireworks, and they have 12 traditional dishes they serve. Poland has a huge feast where people gather to wish health and happiness in the new year and they pass around eggs as tokens of blessings. In Haux, France the local chefs meet in the main square and prepare the world’s largest omelet for the townspeople consisting of over 5000 eggs, 20 quarts of oil, 100 pounds of bacon, onion and garlic. Now that has to be an amazing celebration! To read more traditions go to

Hi hope you enjoy this dish and I wish you a very Happy Easter celebration with family, fun and wonderful food!

Hugs and Veggies

<3 Remmi

Don’t Let Flaring Up Burn You Out: Anti-Inflammatory Foods

By Heather Cunningham, RD, CNSC
April 15th, 2014
Heather Cunningham, MS, RD, CNSC

Heather Cunningham, MS, RD, CNSC – Registered Dietitian, Raritan Bay Physicians Group, South Amboy, NJ

Did you start the New Year off by trying a new diet and/or exercise regimens?  Whether you have started going to a hot yoga or kickboxing class, working different muscles and parts of your body can be painful (in a strengthening kind of way of course!).  By waking up muscle groups that haven’t been exercised before, sometimes you can experience soreness or tightness in that area that you haven’t felt previously.  In addition to proper warm up’s and cool down’s during your workouts, there may be some foods that have anti-inflammatory benefits that may be beneficial to incorporate into your meals.  Aches and pains, heart disease and also diabetes may also be related to the body being in an inflammatory state.  Sugar and saturated fat may actually trigger the body’s inflammatory response.  On the other hand, there are some foods that are higher in anti-inflammatory nutrients that may help ease post-workout aches and pains.

  1. Whole grains, in contrast to refined grains, are high in fiber.  Fiber has been studied for its effect on C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker in the blood.   When choosing a product made with whole grains, check the ingredient list to assure that it is first in the list (versus refined grain or flour) and that the item has no added sugar.
  2. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3’s have been shown in research to decrease inflammation although to reap this benefit, fish needs to be consumed several times per week.  Fish-oil supplements may be considered if increased consumption of fish is not achievable.
  3. Dark green leafy greens contain high amounts of vitamin E ~ a nutrient that may have a role protecting the body from cytokines (pro-inflammatory molecules).   Kale, spinach, broccoli and collard greens are all good sources of vitamin E.
  4. Nuts are another good food source of vitamin E, antioxidants and fiber.   Walnuts are specifically high alpha linolenic acid, a type of Omega 3 fat.  These nutrients can help the body fight the repair caused by inflammation.
  5. Beets contain high amounts of antioxidants ~ their bright, beautiful color should tip you off on some powerful plant pigments!  Betalains, a pigment found in beets, have been found to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support to the body.

These are just some examples of foods to “work in” to your diets due to their potential anti-inflammatory qualities.   With the New Year just starting, and for many, new workout routines, incorporating these foods into meal plans may help ease post-exercise aches.  Not only do many of these foods provide anti-inflammatory nutrients, but also contain other health supportive qualities too.

Nutrition Resources for Immigrants and Refugees

By Allison Koch, MA, RD/LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Caldwell UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, NC
March 27th, 2014
Allison Koch, MA, RD/LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Caldwell UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, NC

Allison Koch, MA RD/LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Caldwell UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, NC

When I first moved from Michigan to North Carolina for my first job as a Registered Dietitian out of my Internship program, I had a lot of acclimating to do.  The over-abundance of delicious Southern cooking, the different dialects that almost seemed to change county to county, as well as actually having a steady dose of sunshine on a daily basis.  It has been a heavenly challenge.

During my first position at a small hospital in Hickory, NC, I was introduced to some local culture that was not prominent in my home community in Michigan, the Hmong.  In order to respectfully comply with and preserve their dietary habits, I needed some quick education on what their dietary preferences was, and how to obtain nutrition education in their native language.  Thankfully, I found the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Food & Nutrition Outreach Toolkit.  The nutrition outreach toolkit provides nutrition educational materials for the Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, English, Farsi (Persian), French, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Karen, Kirundi, Nepali, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese cultures.  The handouts help to provide basic nutrition education, and are great resources for patients who may have limited accessibility to nutrition education opportunities.

Immigrants are people who leave their country willingly to settle in another country.  Refugees are people who are forced to relocate to another place due to fear of persecution due to war, religious beliefs, political opinion, and other reasons that make it nearly impossible for them to ever return to their native country.  As nutrition professionals, we can help these people preserve their heritage by identifying local resources that encourage native cooking, such as local farmers markets or community gardens.

Resources for Nutrition for Immigrants and Refugees:

US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants:

UNHCR UN Refugee Agency: (see Nutrition & Food Security)