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.


Fueling the Body for Exercise


Committing to a regular exercise routine is one of the best things you can do to achieve and maintain good health.  Properly fueling your body will not only provide adequate energy needed but also help replace lost nutrients and repair damage done to the body.  Combining carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the right amounts is key to providing longer-lasting fuel that the body needs. 


Carbohydrates provide the body with energy while proteins build and repair muscle tissues.  A balanced diet with adequate amounts of all the different vitamins and minerals is also important for good health. 


The recommended nutrition guidelines before exercise differ from the guidelines after exercise.  The body needs special nutrition before an activity to provide the energy and strength required to perform consistently and finish strong.  A meal should be planned 3 to 4 hours before working out.  This should be high in carbohydrate, contain adequate protein and be low in fat and fiber for optimal digestion. 


Some examples of a pre-exercise meal are:


Peanut butter on toast plus an instant breakfast drink

Fruit & yogurt smoothie plus low fat granola

Oatmeal with brown sugar & almonds plus skim milk plus a banana

Low fat cottage cheese with apple butter plus crackers plus grapes

Lean hamburger on a bun with lettuce and tomato plus a side salad plus a yogurt and fruit parfait

Turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich plus fruit plus a sports drink

Low fat tuna melt sandwich plus fruit cup plus nonfat yogurt


A small snack should be eaten 30 to 60 minutes before exercise.  Examples include:

Sports drink or water

Sports bar

Jam sandwich or fruit


Some exercise events require more endurance and therefore may require some nutrition intervention during the actual event.  A long distance running event such as a marathon is a perfect example.  An easily digestible carbohydrate along with replacement fluids and electrolytes (potassium and sodium) will be helpful to the athlete in this situation. 



A banana

Bread with jam

A bite of a sports bar


Be sure to drink fluids with this snack to help speed the fuel transport. 


Some of the most important sports nutrition takes place after exercise.  During recovery the body needs more energy and nutrients.  Carbohydrates, sodium and potassium need to be replenished.  Protein is needed for muscle repair.  It is recommended that a nutrient-rich snack be consumed 15 to 60 minutes after a hard workout or competition.  Examples include:

Yogurt & fruit smoothie

Sports drink plus sports bar high in carbohydrate and protein

Graham crackers and peanut butter plus low fat chocolate milk plus a banana


Since fluids and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) have been lost from sweat, it is important to restore them by drinking 100% fruit juice or a sports drink.


And finally, a recovery meal is recommended to replace muscle fuel with carbohydrates.  Be sure to include protein to aid in muscle repair. 



Whole wheat pita bread with turkey and vegetables plus pretzels plus low fat milk

Rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa and avocado plus whole grain tortilla

Stir fry with lean steak, broccoli, red peppers and carrots plus brown rice


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