By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, Sodexo makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.

Meet the Dietitian

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Cara Zechello, a Registered Dietitian for over 20 years, graduated from Framingham State University where she received a Bachelor's degree in Food & Nutrition and a Master's degree in Nutrition Education.

Cara has worked for Food Banks in Massachusetts, providing nutrition education services to hunger relief agencies in the community and nutrition counseling at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. 

Cara is an independent Dietitian working with Sodexo Independent Schools developing menu guidelines and standards. 

This section will be updated monthly with new nutritional tips and helpful hints to keep your body in tip - top shape.


 

Smart Snacking

 

Snacking is a typical part of the American diet.  When snacks are chosen wisely, they can be a part of a healthy diet plan.  The key to good, smart snacking is to choose nutrient-rich foods from a variety of the different food groups including grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods. 

 

Snacking can have many benefits.  Snacks can provide an extra fuel source when three meals a day just aren’t enough.  Growing kids and especially teens often need the extra calories to support the body’s growing needs.  Athletes that burn a higher amount of calories can supplement their diet with high energy snacks to provide the necessary fuel they need to get through a workout or sporting event.  Snacks also can give the body a boost of essential nutrients.  If done right, snacks can include calcium, protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and other minerals. 

 

As good as snacking can be, poor snacking habits can lead to excess unwanted calories, sugar, sodium and fat intakes, which over time can contribute to health concerns such as weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes, just to name a few.  In individuals already suffering from poor health conditions, unwise snack choices can cause complications of these health problems. 

 

Registered Dietitians recommend paying attention to hunger cues before deciding to snack.  Try to avoid snacking when bored or under stress.  Snacks should be small in size.  Practice proper portion control to avoid over-eating.  Remember, a snack should not be the same size as an entire meal.  Another helpful tip is to keep healthy snacks on hand to avoid making unhealthy snack choices.  Include a list of healthy snacks on your regular grocery list so your best prepared.  Pack healthy snacks for school or work so you are always in control throughout the day. 

 

Here are some good snack ideas to consider:

 Fruits - not only are fruits generally low in calories and fat, they are high in many nutrients such as vitamins A and C and also in fiber.  Dip cut fruits in non-fat yogurt or peanut butter to add even more nutrition to your snack

 Fortified cereals - a bowl of cereal and 1% or skim milk is a great snack.  With a large variety of cereals available, it is important to choose wisely.  Read the ingredient list and choose cereals whose first ingredient is 100% whole grain.  Beware of artificial ingredients especially artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.  Choose a cereal that has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and if possible, keep the sugar to less than 5 grams per serving.

 Yogurt - choose a low fat or non-fat yogurt and try to avoid those artificially sweetened.  Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium.  For even more nutrition, make a yogurt parfait by layering in fresh fruits, granola and nuts.

 Cheese & crackers - a few whole grain crackers and some reduced fat cheese can really satisfy hunger while also providing some bone-strengthening calcium and fiber.

 Smoothie - blend low fat yogurt with skim milk and frozen fruits for a great snack that is also great on the go.

 Hummus & whole wheat pita bread - cut 100% whole wheat pita bread into triangles and dip into your favorite hummus.  Hummus is a good source of vegetable protein and fiber.

 Popcorn - if made without oil or dripping with butter, popcorn is an excellent whole grain snack.  Beware of too much salt (sodium) in commercially prepared popcorns.  It is best to pop it yourself.

 Raw vegetables and low fat dip - when choosing to snack on veggies, try to include at least 3 different colored vegetables to get a good variety of powerful healthy phytonutrients including antioxidants, which are so important to good health.  Red peppers, carrots and broccoli florets are great examples.

 Low fat frozen yogurt - when craving ice cream, a good alternative is a low fat, low sugar frozen yogurt. 

 Nuts - a small handful of nuts adds protein and fiber and healthy fats to a diet.

 

Fast Food Video

Guidelines & Standards

It is with the Dietary Guidelines that we commit to the following best practices:

  • Foods from all food groups will be offered in nutrient-dense forms
  • Local foods will be offered as available
  • Foods low in fat, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol will be offered
  • Foods low in sodium will be offered
  • An increase in vegetables and fruits will be offered with an emphasis placed on variety
  • Whole grains will replace the majority of refined grains Fat-free and/or low-fat milk and dairy products will be offered
  • A decrease in sugar/sugary foods will be used/served 
  • Lower fat methods will be used in food preparation
  • A variety of seafood will be offered weekly
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages will not be available

Wellness Tip of the Month: Eat an Apple! A 3" Diameter Size is the Original 100 Calorie Snack!

The Hotchkiss School | Dining Services | 11 Interlaken Road | Lakeville, CT 06039 | tel. (860) 435-3754 | Contact Us