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.


 

 

 

Stay Warm and Healthy This Winter with Soup

 

 Canned soups are often loaded with unhealthy sodium and lack enough vegetables to even count as a single serving size.  Most don’t contain enough meat to offer any valuable protein source.  While opening a can is convenient and fast, making homemade soups is worth the effort.  They are satisfyingly warming and delicious but can also be a way to get some missing nutrients into your diet.

 

Broth-based soups are easy to make and don’t contain the high amounts of fat and cholesterol as cream soups do.  If using a soup base, choose one low in sodium.  Broths can otherwise be seasoned with a variety of spices such as Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley and pepper or with aromatics like garlic, lemon and onions. 

 

Soups with a lean protein component such as chicken, turkey, beans, lentils are healthy and economical.  Beans and lentils are also an excellent source of fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive system and a healthy heart.  Fiber also helps control blood sugars and make you feel fuller longer so they are an important part of a weight management program.  Shrimp, fish and other seafood's are other lean proteins that are a wonderful addition to soups.

 

Be sure to add plenty of vegetables to your homemade soups and choose a wide variety.  By choosing vegetables with differing colors you are ensuring a bigger assortment of vitamins, minerals and photochemicals.  Phytochemicals such as flavonoids, indoles, and carotenoids are natural components in plants that contain protective or disease-preventive properties. 

 

 When soup is intended to be the main course you want to be sure to make it hearty and satisfying.  Adding starch or carbohydrates will make your soup a good source of fuel or energy.  Potatoes, pasta and rice are good examples.  To boost the nutritional value, choose whole wheat pasta and brown rice varieties.  Barley, quinoa and kamut are other recommended grains that will enhance your favorite soup recipes and provide  even more nutrition for your family.

 

 So when it’s cold outside and you’re looking to stay healthy this winter get creative in the kitchen and make some homemade soups. 

 

 Hearty Vegetable Soup

· 1 tablespoon olive oil (or another cooking oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil)

· 1/2 large onion, chopped

· 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

· 2 ribs celery, chopped

· 2 carrots, sliced

· 2 cups mixed chopped vegetables, your choice (try cauliflower, zucchini, or green beans)

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

· 1 teaspoon thyme

· 1 teaspoon oregano

· 1 bay leaf

8 cups water and 2 cubes of vegetable bouillon OR 8 cups vegetable broth.

1 14-ounce can tomatoes

 

 How to Make It

 

 

1. Heat oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, the carrots, and the celery. Heat, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add the rest of the vegetables and heat for just another minute or two.

 

2. Add salt, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano, stirring to coat the vegetables well.

 

Add bay leaf, water or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. If using bouillon cubes, add and stir to make sure they dissolve.

 

1. Add the tomatoes, stir, and allow your vegetable soup to simmer until all the vegetables are cooked, about 8-12 minutes.

 

2. Adjust seasonings to taste.

 

Remove the bay leaf and serve your homemade vegetable soup with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if you're not eating vegan, and some crusty bread or crackers.

 

    

 

 

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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!

Concord Academy | Dining Services | 166 Main Street | Concord, MA 01742 | tel. (978) 402-2283 | Contact Us