Behind the Scenes: Planning for Sargent Choice Night



Each August our Sargent Choice Registered Dietitians sit down with the culinary dream team at BU Dining Services to start planning for Sargent Choice Night. If you don’t know about Sargent Choice Night, mark your calendar for this Thursday –  September 25th, it’s the one night each semester where everything served in the dining hall is Sargent Choice!

This year, Sargent Choice is celebrating its 10year anniversary so we’ve decided to feature some of our favorite recipes.

Here’s the menu – Sargent Choice Night – September 25th

Test Kitchen: Vegetable Fried Rice

By Caroline Patrick, Graduate Nutrition Student

HALT—don’t toss that old rice!
Did you know that fried rice actually originated as a solution to leftover rice and other odds and ends found in the refrigerator? Thus, there are countless versions of this tried and true dish that include both meats and/or vegetables. Fried foods get a bad rep—and often they deserve it. But, there’s always a way to turn these bad guys into nutritious and just as delicious alternatives.  Making the healthy choice doesn’t have to mean locking up your fried favorites. This fried rice recipe will only make you  feel like you’re breaking the law.

Vegetarians know the look of concern when questioned on their protein consumption—”How do you ever get enough?!” The key to vegetarian success is optimizing your protein intake. This recipe optimizes protein content with 12g per serving making it a perfect meal for herbivores of the world.  So there’s no need to question, “where’s the beef?”

Adapted from The Kitchn’s  “Cooking Lessons,” this recipe was modified to become Sargent Choice-eligible by substituting brown rice for white. Another sneaky health culprit is sodium. For most individuals sodium intake should be limited to ½-1 teaspoons per day, which is a lot less than the average American who consumes almost double this amount. Consequently, it’s important to cut back on this unwelcome pest wherever possible. We swapped in low-sodium soy sauce and use ginger, garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes to pack some serious gusto sans added sodium!

Instead of using cold cooked rice as the recipe called for, we used freshly made rice that was still warm.  This altered the texture, making it stickier and more moist than typical fried rice. Next time I would try it with day old rice to taste the difference. Regardless, this recipe really stuck with the students providing us with an awesome alternative to the classic.

Final Verdict: Take your leftovers to another level, and try this protein-packed dish. You will be surprised about how good you feel eating fried food.

Sargent Choice Vegetarian Fried Rice
Recipe adapted from Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted
½ cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted
½ cup chopped scallions
1 cup shelled edamame, defrostedVegetarian Fried Rice
4 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup toasted nuts or sesame seeds (optional)

14-inch flat-bottom wok or saute pan
Fish spatula or other thin, flexible spatula for stir frying


1.  Cut up the Ingredients: The most important key to making a good stir-fry is cutting each ingredient to a uniform size as specified above. You will need 4 small bowls. Mince the garlic and ginger and set aside in a bowl with red pepper flakes (aromatics). Dice the carrots and set them aside in 2nd bowl. Place corn, frozen peas and edamame in 3rd bowl. Place rice and scallions in 4th bowl.

2.  Prepare Your Wok Space:  Place the 4 bowls of vegetables, rice, aromatics as well as soy sauce near your stove. Also, have a very small bowl of water next to the stove.

3.  Heat the Wok: Turn on a stove burner, as high as it will go. Set a 14-inch wok over this high heat burner. To determine when the wok is hot enough, start flicking droplets of water from the small bowl into the pan after 30 seconds. As soon as a bead of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, the wok is heated and ready for stir-frying. Do not overheat the wok.

4.  Pull Wok off the Heat:  Pull the wok off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Pick up the pan and carefully swirl it to coat the bottom and sides. Place wok back on the heat, and add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Stir fry for 10 seconds or until fragrant.

5. Add the Carrots and Stir-Fry:  Add the carrots and stir fry for 30 seconds, or until the carrots are bright orange.

6. Add the Corn and Peas and Stir-Fry:  Add the corn and peas and stir fry for 1 minute.

7. Add 1 More Tablespoon Oil:  Swirl the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok.

8. Add the Rice and Scallions and Stir-Fry for 2 Minutes:  Add the rice and scallions stir-fry for 2 minutes, breaking up the rice with the spatula until it is heated through.

9. Season the Rice:  Season the rice with the salt and pepper.

10. Add the Sauce:  Pour the soy sauce around the edges of the wok and stir-fry.

11. Finish the Rice:  Stir in 1 beaten egg. Stir-fry until the egg is no longer wet. Add the nuts or sesame seeds if using.


  • If you don’t have a wok, you can use a 12-inch stainless skillet; halve the recipe to prevent rice from falling out of the pan.
  • You can substitute up whatever vegetables you have on hand or like best in place of the carrots, frozen corn, and frozen peas.
Nutrition per serving
Calories 240
Fat 8.5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Protein 12 g
Carbohydrate 33 g
Fiber 3 g

The Importance of Thoughtful Eating

By Kathleen Meehan, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center RD

How often do you practice thoughtful eating?
Although we wouldn’t be able to function without food, it lands on the bottom of our to do lists all too frequently.  Then, we are left to go hungry or choose whatever is available nearby – often settling for something that’s less than nutritious.

So many of the choices we make each day are well thought out.  Which route will result in the least traffic? What shoes will match my outfit?  Do I need an umbrella? Consider all the factors involved in shopping for a pair of jeans. Which store will you go to? You think about style, color, fit and price. How do the jeans make you feel? This is a complex decision making process. You’ve practiced it so much that you hardly notice all the criteria involved. When was the last time you thought about food this way?

Thoughtful eating involves the same types of choices. To enjoy the lifelong habit of eating well, rethink the autopilot mindset.  Pay attention to all the choices that are presented. Ask yourself these questions when choosing something to eat:

Do I really like it? You wouldn’t buy something just because your friend likes them. How often do you eat something you don’t really enjoy, just because it’s offered to you?

Do I really need it? Maybe you a need warm sweater more than new jeans right now. You have nutrition priorities, too. Certain foods are essential for you to feel good and do well in class, at work and at play. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love.

Is it in my budget? You can’t always afford all the material items you might want – and you might notice when others have more to spend. You have a unique food budget, too, based on your gender, age, height, weight and physical activity level.

Learning to be a thoughtful eater is important.

  • More people today are overweight, obese or struggling with unhealthy weight control practices than ever before.
  • Today’s food environment makes it easy to miss out on key nutrients that may improve your mood, your mind and your athletic performance.
  • The typical American diet has been linked to major chronic diseases from cardiovascular disease to certain cancers.

Our website and team of Registered Dietitians, will give you the knowledge and tools you need to make smart decisions about what, when and how much to eat.  Learn how to choose meals and snacks that keep you satisfied longer, take the guilt out of special treats you eat purely for pleasure and let thoughtful eating become second nature.

Need help? Register for an appointment with one of the RDs in our center.

Test Kitchen: Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread

By Caroline Patrick, Graduate Nutrition Student

This week students returned to the Charles River Campus, leaving behind lazy sunny days and the comforts of home. But, alas no need to worry—zucchini bread can sweeten the transition. This indulgence is Sargent Choice approved and will have you feeling better before you can say “Dean Elmore”!

Zucchini bread is classified as a “quick bread,” meaning it uses baking soda and baking powder, rather than yeast, as its leavening source. This yields ready-to-eat bread in a fraction of the time. This bread has been adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe, who is a Registered Dietitian with her own show on the Food Network. Krieger made several healthy swaps that decrease the sugar and saturated fat while adding nutrition without losing flavor or decadence.

For instance, applesauce replaces some of the eggs and oil typically called for in zucchini bread. (Yep—applesauce instead of eggs!) Applesauce contains large amounts of pectin, which lends to its ability to act as a binder in recipes. In other words, the pectin keeps all the wet ingredients together, providing structure while simultaneously adding rich moisture in the baked product.

Whole-wheat flour adds nutrients, fiber, and a nutty flavor ultimately making it more satisfying. Additionally, using vegetable oil in place of butter cuts down significantly on the saturated fat content. Throw in the oh-so-nutritious omega-3 packed walnuts, and you’ve got a showstopper!

Seriously, I would like to thank the genius who thought to put zucchini into a baked good. This veggie has entered the dessert ring and it’s beating out competitors (in my pantry) with the help of a few easy, healthful substitutions.


Ultimately this recipe will have everyone clamoring for seconds—I saw it with my own eyes!


Sargent Choice Zucchini Bread
Recipe modified from Ellie Krieger

Yield: 1 loaf/12 slices (3/4” thickslice)

1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, beaten
1 small zucchini (6 ounces), coarsely grated, about 1 ¼ cup
1/3 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 9”x5” loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, and eggs.  Stir in zucchini.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine.  Stir in walnuts.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.  Cool 15 minutes in pan, then transfer bread to rack to cool completely before slicing (if you can wait!).


Nutrition Facts per serving (1 slice):

Calories 180
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Protein 4 g
Carbohydrate 22 g
Fiber 2 g
Sodium 190 mg


Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

With a new semester underway we thought a good place to start was with a reintroduction to the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center! There is an overwhelming amount of information out there but we’re here to make it easier by providing the BU and Boston community with expert insight on all things nutrition. We are a team of seven (yes…7!) registered dietitians with years of experience and a variety of different expertise.

Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting all of the programs, services and criteria that make Sargent Choice ‘Sargent Choice!’

Here’s a quick glimpse as to what makes Sargent Choice food the healthy choice….

  • Whole Grains instead of Refined Grains
    They’re the complete package: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.
  • Lean Meats, Fish, Beans, Low-fat Dairy, and Soy
    Packed with the nutrients and protein we need with less saturated fat.
  • More Fruits and Vegetables
    The essential nutrients that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors are strongly linked to better health.
  • Heart-Healthy Oils
    We all need fat in our diet. And this is the kind that’s good for your body.
  • Herbs and Spices
    Who needs to rely on salt when Mother Nature created these antioxidant-rich gems to flavor our foods?

Visit our Recipes page to see our favorite Sargent Choice options.

But the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center isn’t just all about the food, we offer nutrition education classes, seminars and counseling to help you best meet your nutrition goals. To find out more about our services, visit our website or to schedule a counseling session with one of our RDs, click here.


Navigating BU with a Food Allergy

Do you have a food allergy and plan on eating in the dining halls?
We are here to help!

Please join our food allergy expert, Sarah Butler, RD for a food allergy training session this Labor Day weekend.

Send us an email at with your name, BU ID#, type of allergy and session you would like to attend.

Saturday, August 30th
10am Marciano Commons
12pm Warren Towers
2pm West

Sunday, August 31st
10am Marciano Commons
12pm Warren Towers
2pm West

Monday, September 1st
10am Marciano Commons
12pm Warren Towers
2pm West

The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center works very closely with Student Health Services and BU Dining Services to ensure the safety of all students eating on campus.

Need help managing your allergy or concerned about your nutrition. Sign up for an individual counseling session here.

More information about food allergies on campus:

Sargent Choice Nutrition Center featured on “Foodie on Campus” Website

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 3.54.57 PM

During this past spring one of our dietitians at the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center had the pleasure of meeting with a fellow dietitian, Faye Mitchel, and taking her on a tour of the Marciano Commons dining hall. Faye visited Boston University in order to feature the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center on her website, “Foodie on Campus”. The goal of the website is to help high school students learn more about the food at colleges they are looking to apply to. The website can also help prospective students decide on what college they will choose to attend by allowing them to look at the different eating options at certain campuses. The article, featured in the campus shout-outs section, highlights the start of Sargent Choice options in the dining hall and lists several of the most popular recipes. To read the full piece click on the link below.

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Parfait

By Stephanie Smith, Nutrition student with Journalism focus

For the final test kitchen, one situated during the last week of classes and right in the midst of the beginning stages of finals studying, everyone was looking forward to a break from work to enjoy a tasty dessert.

When we all saw the recipe for a parfait, we were excited for what we would be having, but there was still some uncertainty about how it would taste. Most of us think that parfaits include fruit, granola, and yogurt or ice cream. But this recipe was calling for fruit, granola, and cream cheese.

One of the major questions that people had about the recipe was the pasteurized egg whites—what were they, are they safe to eat without cooking them, would they taste funny in the recipe?

Pasteurization is a process of heating liquid foods to a specific temperature, for a specific amount of time, and then cooling it immediately afterwards. The process slows microbial growth that could occur, otherwise. You may have heard of pasteurized milk, more often than eggs. Milk is usually pasteurized since we drink it as it is, without cooking it. On the other hand, we usually cook eggs, so buying raw eggs is more common than seeking out the pasteurized variety.

photo 4For the recipe, we needed to beat the egg whites until they stiffened. After that we were adding them to the cream cheese mixture, and that was it. We weren’t cooking anything at all, so it’s important to use pasteurized egg whites, to avoid foodborne illness.

As for the cream cheese and egg white mixture, though the flavors were great, we all agreed that the texture was a bit strange. To improve the texture, we should have beaten the egg whites for longer, until they were stiffer. We should also have beaten the cream cheese mixture until it was even creamier and less lumpy.

photo 4 (1)Other than that, everyone enjoyed the dessert, and went back for seconds, thirds, and maybe even fourths! It was a great treat to end the semester and a great way to kick off finals week!


Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Parfait
Recipe created by Sargent Choice Nutrition Center dietitian, Rachel Reynolds
Yields 6 servings

For the oat crunch topping:
½ cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

 For the cream cheese mixture:
6 ounces light cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup pasteurized egg whites

For the Fruit:
2 cups berries of choice


For the oat crunch topping:
1. Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Fold in oats.
2. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until oats are golden brown. Remove from heat.

For the cream cheese mixture:
1. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until completely incorporated and no lumps remain.
2. Place egg whites in cold mixing bowl. Beat on high until stiff peaks are formed. This will take approximately 3-5 minutes. Do not over-mix.
3. Add the egg whites to the cream cheese mixture and fold together.

Distribute 2/3 of the oat topping evenly into 6 parfait glasses (or bowl, if not available). Top the oats with cream cheese mixture, followed by the fruit. To finish, distribute the remainder of the oat topping evenly on each of the parfaits.


Screenshot 2014-05-08 15.48.49







Disclaimer: The Sargent Choice blog includes links to other websites only as information to consumers, not as medical advice. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Sargent Choice has no control over its content. Sargent Choice is not responsible for the content found at any of the sites, nor do any links imply endorsement or promotion of the company/organization, its content, services, therapeutic treatment options, or products. Accordingly, you visit any site at your own risk. Sargent Choice is also not responsible for the policies and practices of these sites, such as their Privacy Policy, use of “cookies”, etc. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each site that you visit through a link on our website.

Test Kitchen: Pasta with Asparagus and Lemon Sauce

By Rachel Priebe, Nutritional Sciences student, Sargent College
Every Wednesday Karen Jacobs EdD, OTR/L, CPE, FAOTA hosts the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen in Stuvi 2 Apt. 2302 from 8-11pm. She invites the BU community into her home to test new Sargent Choice recipes while we cook, drink tea, and enjoy time with friends.


After four years here, I’ve learned to recognize the signs of spring in Boston.  They include, but are not limited to: wind, flowers, and Sox games.  One other thing says spring to me: asparagus! Its one of my favorite spring vegetables, and if you can buy it local you’ll never go back.  The new Sargent Choice recipe that we tested this week was a lovely, bright, springy dish that I immediately told all of my friends about.

First off, who doesn’t love a good pasta dish?  We used whole-wheat pasta for this recipe to make it SC, but if you are a little hesitant about the texture, you can use “whole grain” pasta which typically means that it is 51% whole wheat.  Asparagus is usually on sale this time of year because it is in season, so price shouldn’t be a barrier.  And like I said, if you can buy it local (try a farmers market or Whole Foods) it really enhances the experience.


When we tested this recipe, we made a lot of it.  This was great because people were going back for seconds and thirds, with plenty leftover as well.  We ended up with a bunch of extra sauce, but since there is no dairy in it we froze it in Tupperware and now we have sauce for lots more springtime meals.  One thing we noticed was that the lemon flavor is slightly overpowering, and since I also love lemon this was fine, but if you don’t you might want to cut back on both the zest and the juice.  Another important modification was the addition of a bit more cracked black pepper than the recipe called for, just to give depth of flavor.

This recipe can easily be scaled down or up, so whether you are looking for a pasta dish for one or a hundred, I highly recommend this bright, healthy pasta!


Disclaimer: The Sargent Choice blog includes links to other websites only as information to consumers, not as medical advice. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Sargent Choice has no control over its content. Sargent Choice is not responsible for the content found at any of the sites, nor do any links imply endorsement or promotion of the company/organization, its content, services, therapeutic treatment options, or products. Accordingly, you visit any site at your own risk. Sargent Choice is also not responsible for the policies and practices of these sites, such as their Privacy Policy, use of “cookies”, etc. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each site that you visit through a link on our website.


Test Kitchen: Passover-Approved Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

By Stephanie Smith, Nutrition student with Journalism focus

Something I always look forward to is exploring new cultures and religions. Learning about a way of life unlike my own is interesting and exciting. At BU, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by many different cultures and religions that we can learn from.

At the test kitchen last week, we made Passover-approved flourless chocolate walnut cookies. I’ve never really been familiar with all that Passover entails, but this year I got to learn a lot about the holiday’s meaning and the traditions that many families practice.


During Passover, those who celebrate cannot eat any wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats, or any leavened bread. This custom stems from the Passover story in which the Hebrew slaves had to escape Egypt so quickly that their bread didn’t have a chance to leaven. That’s why matzo is a popular bread substitute during Passover—because it does not contain yeast to leaven. To be sure that the food eaten during Passover is not tainted with any bit of these products, you can look for a label that says “Kosher for Passover” in the grocery store.

I heard from a few Jewish students at the test kitchen that it is hard to find sweets acceptable to eat during Passover. We were all excited to find this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen for Passover Chocolate Walnut cookies.

The recipe did not use any sort of flour and called for only a short list of ingredients: walnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, egg whites, and vanilla extract. All of which were “Kosher for Passover.” Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the powdered sugar that is “Kosher for Passover,” so there’s a recipe included if you cannot find it.

IMG_6367Everyone loved the cookies – they were quickly devoured. They were a great flourless, sweet, kosher treat for those that do not eat leavened bread during Passover. Everyone agreed that they tasted like thin brownies, we also agreed that they were very sweet. We came to a consensus that next time, we’d be a little adventurous and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Overall, they are a great flourless cookie alternative – not only to be made during Passover, but anytime!

Sargent Choice Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen blog
(Adapted from Franlois Payard’s Chocolate Epiphany)
Yield: approximately 28 cookies

2 ¾ cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread the walnut halves on a large-rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
2. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the confectioner’s sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen).
4. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in14 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14-16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. Let cool completely. Enjoy!

Recipe for Passover Powdered Sugar (if unable to purchase):
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon potato starch
Grind sugar and potato starch together in an electric coffee or spice grinder or blender until light and powdery. This can be scaled up in equal ratios.


                                  1 cookie

Calories 130
Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 0.5g
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 15 g
Fiber 1 g


Disclaimer: The Sargent Choice blog includes links to other websites only as information to consumers, not as medical advice. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Sargent Choice has no control over its content. Sargent Choice is not responsible for the content found at any of the sites, nor do any links imply endorsement or promotion of the company/organization, its content, services, therapeutic treatment options, or products. Accordingly, you visit any site at your own risk. Sargent Choice is also not responsible for the policies and practices of these sites, such as their Privacy Policy, use of “cookies”, etc. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each site that you visit through a link on our website.