Risotto you’ll rave about

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

SC Carrot and Zucchini Risotto

The USDA recommends, “at least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains”(1). Whole grains are packed with nutrients such as folate, B vitamins and iron that are lost in the processing of refined grains. These nutrients from whole grains are extremely important in the diet and have even been proven to “prevent high blood pressure, heart disease diabetes and even cancer” (1).


Whole grains are generally heartier and more course than refined grains, which can make it difficult to transition from refined grain to whole grains.  The key to a smooth transition and delicious substitution is preparing whole grains properly to receive all the health benefits with a desirable texture.

The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center dietitians have expertly created SC Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto that has the same creamy and rich texture as standard risotto without the usual added butter and refined grains.


Dry farro rice

How did we make the risotto?

First, we combined our chopped onions, carrots, zucchini, oil and salt in a saucepan and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. To add depth and bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables we added thyme and garlic. The thyme and garlic were stirred into the vegetables until the delightful scent filled the test kitchen.


Before adding the risotto, the directions on the bag indicated to rinse it with cold water.

We added the farro and cooked it until toasty.


Next, water and broth were added and we brought the mixture to a simmer.

This was my first experience making whole wheat risotto and I doubted my ability to acquire the proper texture. As I watched over the simmering saucepan, the thin layer of liquid on top of the farro rice made it appear more like soup than risotto. After a slight moment of panic, I allowed the rice time to simmer and with a blink of an eye it became creamy and thick.


Sometimes the risotto needs more than 25 minutes to simmer. Don’t be worried if it looks soup-y, just let it keep simmering.

The risotto was rich, creamy and savory with the infusion of thyme and garlic. The zucchini and carrots were slightly crisp and served as a balanced contrast for the smooth yet slightly chewy farro.

Sargent Choice Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto

Yield: 6 servings

1 small onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini cut in ¼ -inch dice
1 ½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ cups pearled farro
2 cups all-natural vegetable broth, low sodium
1 ½ cup water
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
  4. Stir in the faro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes
  5. Stir in the broth and water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the faro softens but is still a bit chewy, about 25 minutes
  6. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste


By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Eat the Rainbow: Green



Green fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A, folate, potassium, vitamin K, and calcium; they are also packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Vitamin K is necessary for making proteins that cause your blood to clot when you bleed to stop the bleeding. It also plays a role in helping the body make other body proteins for your blood, bones, and kidneys. Folate’s primary role is aiding in the making of new body cells by helping produce DNA and RNA. It has also been linked to protecting against heart disease as well as helping control plasma homocystine levels, which are linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk.



  • Green apples
  • Green grapes
  • Green pears
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwifruit
  • Limes


  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados*
  • Basil
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Edamame
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Green olives
  • Green onion
  • Green peppers
  • Jalapeno
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Zucchini
  • Assorted green herbs


Record Breaking Temperatures: Recommendations for Marathon Runners

With temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 80’s, there are lots of concerns surrounding the health of the marathon runners on Monday. Laura Judd, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, has some recommendations for marathon runners in the heat:

As a marathon runner, you want your glycogen stores to be as high as possible and the best way to achieve that is to refuel with carbohydrates almost immediately after training runs. In the days leading up to a marathon, a runner can continue on a diet high in carbohydrates with moderate amounts of lean proteins and fats. Hydration is important throughout training but especially the few days before a race.

The morning of the marathon, runners should consume a breakfast consisting of mostly carbohydrates in an effort to top off their glycogen stores for the long race ahead; kind of like you would top off your gas tank before a road trip. The Boston Marathon presents some pre-race challenges as runners are bused out to the start line (Hopkinton, Mass) and often have to wait for a considerable amount of time before the race actually starts. Having a few snacks on hand such as small granola bars, Gatorade, or any other high carbohydrate snack that won’t bother your stomach may be good idea just in case you get hungry.

During the race the body pulls energy from those built up glycogen stores. It’s a good idea to drink a combination of both water and Gatorade throughout the race, making sure that you’re blood sugar never gets too low and you remain hydrated. This is especially important if it’s a hot day.

What sort of physical problems can a marathon runner experience during a race (vomiting, collapsing, etc.) and why do they happen? Are there ever health issues that require treatment after a race?

The biggest problems that can happen from a nutritional stand point are:

  1. “Hitting the wall” – hitting the wall is the point at which your glycogen stores have almost been exhausted and your body is starting to run on fumes. For many marathoners this can happen around mile 20 where the race can become most challenging. The easiest way to avoid “hitting the wall” is to make sure that you fuel properly with a high-carbohydrate diet leading up to the race, maximizing your glycogen stores. Also, taking in  Gatorade, sports gels, candy, etc. throughout the race helps keep your blood sugar stable.
  2. Dehydration – Dehydration is the major cause of muscle fatigue and muscle related injuries.
  3. Hyponatremia – Hyponatremia or low blood sodium levels can be extremely dangerous to a runner. Hyponatremia is caused by over- hydration which off-sets the sodium balance in the blood. In addition, you lose sodium when you sweat so not only is the sodium concentration diluted but there is less sodium in the blood to begin with. This is why it is so important to mix hydrating with water and Gatorade to help keep sodium levels from falling too low.

Thanks Laura!

A key take-home message: make sure to replenish fluids during the race! Drink plenty of water and Gatorade to keep your fluid and electrolyte status balanced.

In an interview on NPR this morning, the medical director for the marathon said that the best advice he can give runners for Monday is to slow down from their normal pace.

Good luck to anyone running Monday!

(Source: blogs.bu.edu)

Karen Jacobs’ Sushi Night

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This week we gathered at Karen Jacobs’ SC Test Kitchen for our biannual sushi night! SC Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi is one of the most beloved SC recipes. It gives us the opportunity to be creative with vegetable combinations, test new ingredients and create personalized dishes.


This week we experimented with the following ingredients and received wonderful reviews.

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tofu
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Sesame seeds

Here’s how we made our sushi rolls.

Sticky Brown Rice

Before we could begin rolling our sushi, we prepared the sticky brown rice. First, we followed the cooking directions on the bag and added rice vinegar and soy sauce to while it cooked. Later, the brown rice was transferred to a bowl and was tossed with vinegar.

The proper amount of rice vinegar is important for the rice to be sticky enough to bind and hold together a roll. Last semester, Karen advised that 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar should be tossed with the every 2/3rds a cup of brown rice.

Rolling Away

1.                 We set the nori down with the shiny side face down.

2.                 Spread the brown rice evenly to create a 1 ¾ inch border.sushi2

3.                 Next, we chose our ingredients and neatly stacked them on top of the brown rice.sushi3

4.                 We gently, yet firmly tucked the edge of the roll in toward the bare side of the nori and continued to roll until it was tightly packaged.


5.                 We dabbed some water on the ends of the nori to help seal the roll

6.                 Finally, we cut our sushi into 6 pieces and enjoyed with soy sauce and wasabi.


Take a look at last semester’s sushi night for more inspiration for your own rolls!

Sargent Choice Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi

Yield 2 servings, 6 rolls each


2/3 cup dry short-grain brown rice
1-cup water
1-teaspoon water
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1-teaspoon wasabi powder
2 (8 ¼ by 7 ¼ -inch) sheets roasted nori (dried layer)
½ Kirby cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/16-inch thick matchsticks
½ medium carrot, cut into 1/16-inch-thick matchsticks
½ small California avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
¾ ounces radish sprouts, roots trimmed
6 ounces firm tofu, cut into several long pieces


1.         Prepare brown rice as directed with 1 teaspoon soy sauce

2.       While rice is standing, stir together vinegar and remaining teaspoon soy sauce

3.       Transfer rice to a wide, nonmetal bowl and sprinkle with vinegar mixture. Toss gently with      a large spoon to combine. Cool rice, tossing occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

4.       Stir together wasabi and teaspoon of water to form a stiff paste. Let stand for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

5.       Arrange 1 sheet of nori shiny-side down on a sushi mat lengthwise. With damp fingers, gently press half the rice onto the nori with a 1 ¾-inch border on the farthest edge.

6.       Starting 1-inch from the side nearest you, arrange half the cucumber matchsticks, carrot    matchsticks, avocado slices, and tofu pieces in an even strip horizontally across the rice (You may need to cut pieces to fit). Repeat with half the radish sprouts, letting some sprout tops to extend beyond the edge.

7.       Roll the bottom edge of mat toward the top edge while holding the filling in place and pressing firmly to seal roll. Let stand for 5 minutes with the seam down and cut crosswise into 6 pieces with a wet knife.

8.       Repeat steps 5-7 with the second sheet of nori.

1 Serving
Calories250Fat10 gSaturated Fat1.5 gProtein12 gCarbohydrates28 gFiber6 g

Eat Bright

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College


Picture Source

Eat the Rainbow: Orange and Yellow


The first nutrient that usually comes to mind with orange foods is beta carotene. More than just a pigment, beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage and my have a protective effect against some cancers. Beta carotene is also the precursor for Vitamin A, commonly known as the vitamin for good night vision. Vitamin A is important not only for eye health but is essential for immune strength. Many orange fruits and vegetables are also vitamin C powerhouses. As with vitamin A, vitamin C supports a strong immune system; it also helps rebuild collagen in the skin and protects against cardiovascular disease



  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lemon
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines
  • Yellow pears
  • Yellow watermelon


  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow potatoes
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Yellow tomatoes*
  • Yellow winter squash



Our Visiting Chef Series is here! Take a look at the menus..

Get a Taste of what’s coming to campus in the Fall…

A New Spin on an Italian Classic

By Lauren Kennedy, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center Dietetic Intern


Boston University’s Registered Dietitian Laura Judd cooked up Tofu Parmingiana during her “Healthy Cooking on a Budget” class last week. This dish is a perfect starter if you’ve never tried tofu before because it incorporates familiar ingredients, flavors and cooking methods. Master this method and you can use it for chicken or eggplant parmesan. We found a package of tofu for a mere $1.79- you can’t even find a cup of coffee that cheap anymore! Preparation from start to finish only takes about 20 or 30 minutes, depending on your experience and skill level. Breading the tofu was the most labor intensive part and it can get messy (which is part of the fun!). Leftovers? Make a Tofu Parm sandwich for lunch the next day. Pack a side salad and a fruit to round out your meal.


Makes 4 servings

14 oz package extra firm tofu
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning Mix (dried basil, oregano, thyme)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½-3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Drain the tofu and press to get out excess water. Slice tofu in ¼-1/2 inch thick slices widthwise. You should end up with 8-10 slices
  2. Measure flour onto a plate big enough to fit a tofu slice. Beat egg in a swallow dish. Mix all breadcrumbs, spices, salt, and parmesan cheese in another dish.
  3. Take one tofu slice and dip it into the flour. Coat tofu on all sides with flour. Next dip into the egg mixture. Finish with coating in the breadcrumbs, again on all sides. Repeat with remaining tofu.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. If your pan isn’t large enough for all slices, use only ½ the oil the first round. Gently place tofu slices into pan and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F. Place tofu slices on a cookie sheet or in a swallow baking dish, top each with a spoonful of marinara sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. (Make-ahead tip: prepare through step 5, refrigerate. Then add about 5-10 minutes to baking time to heat through).