Nutrition Corner

Nutrition Corner is the new home for Employee Health and Wellbeing’s Nutrition Blog, recipes, cooking videos, cooking class information, and nutrition resources. The weekly blog and recipes will be updated on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back every Monday!

Memorial Day Weekend and Summer Months Healthier Eating Tips and Snack Ideas

By Chef Jen Muzzi, RDN/LDN, RYT-200

Memorial Day Weekend and Summer Months Healthier Eating Tips Print PDF

            Memorial Day marks the “unofficial/official” start to the summer. With the warmer weather, more grilling and on-the-go foods are consumed. How do we make these a little healthier? While there is NOTHING WRONG with enjoying the occasional hot dog, hamburger, steak or chicken off the grill, it’s important to remember to keep these items in moderation. There are studies that link cured, smoked and charred meats to some cancers. Research hasn’t yet proven that it’s the CAUSE of cancer. But, it’s best to err on the side of caution and remember to enjoy these foods in moderation.

            With that PSA out of the way, here’s some ways to enjoy the healthier side of the summer.

1- EAT FRUIT!! Watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber AND hydration. Check out last year’s blog and recipes on Foods that Hydrate.

2- Grill your vegetables and salad- Yes, I said grill your salad! Do you remember last year’s Grilled Romaine Salad recipe? The bonus of grilling vegetables is that is doesn’t produce carcinogens. Other veggies that are easy to grill are:

  • asparagus
  • corn on the cob
  • sliced eggplant
  • sliced zucchini and summer squashes.


For a healthy dessert- try grilled pineapple. TRUST YOUR CHEF DIETITIAN, these all taste great on the grill!

3- Packing a picnic or going to a party? Why not bring a tray of these delicious Whole Wheat Brownies? Whole wheat provides fiber and minerals and it doesn’t make these overly dense as whole wheat sometimes can. Also, the classic homemade Rice Krispie’s treat is lower in fat and easy to make on the stove-top. You can add ½ cup peanut butter in to boost protein or add in ½ cup chopped dried apricots for fiber. It’s fun to get the kids involved with making this recipe. Try using cookie cutters for fun shapes as well.

4- “On-the-go” or “on-the-beach/boat” or “in-the-mountains” snacking ideas are:

5- Hot dogs—the conundrum… beef, pork, poultry or mixed? Cured or Uncured? Here’s the facts:

  • Beef is higher in saturated fat.
  • Cured vs uncured: “Uncured” is a fairly new marketing label added because there is a higher “consumer demand for less nitrates”. Usually, “cured” is added chemical sodium nitrate, but celery juice is a “natural” way to create nitrates. The manufacturers use celery juice that is in a bacteria culture that causes a reaction to make nitrates. To find out more info on nitrates and celery juice, click on this link for quick read.
  • The hot dogs are processed meats that are likely smoked, making them higher in sodium.

It’s your option to choose which you prefer the best. But all of these reasons are why hot dogs and processed meats should be eaten in moderation and infrequently.

Here are my suggestions for hot dogs:

  • Applegate Natural Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs- 450 mg sodium and 0.5 gm saturated fat per hot dog.
  • Aldi’s Parkview Uncured Turkey Franks with 430 mg sodium and 1.5 gm saturated fat per hot dog. These do contain cultured celery juice but are also smoked.
  • If you prefer beef, then select Hebrew National’s 97% fat free beef franks- 490 mg sodium and 0.5 gm saturated fat per hot dog. (Just be aware that those do contain added sodium nitrates.

I hope that you all get to enjoy this summer as we slowly start to make it back to as close to normal as we can.

Be Well, Eat Well, Live Well & Bon Appetit!

~~Chef Jen


Eating for Mental Health

Print Blog PDF

            There are many different foods that can help to support healthy brain function, relieve brain fog, promote brain growth and even aid in delaying or lowering the chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.

  1. Fatty fish contain special fats that help with brain function and for younger humans, brain development.
  2. Protein also helps to generate serotonin, the brains “happy feels” stimulator. Specifically, Tryptophan- YUP- that’s you’re Thanksgiving Day nap inducing amino acid! Tryptophan is actually found in many proteins besides turkey; such as salmon, chicken eggs and beans.
  3. Decreased selenium, folate and numerous B vitamins have been linked to depression, fatigue and insomnia, Broccoli, leafy greens and fish are good sources of these.

Anyone notice a pattern in foods listed so far???………………………………………………….SALMON!

Research on Eating and Mental Health:

            Research has shown that mental health is not just affected by diet, but diet effects mental health. In a research article published on the National Institute of Health’s NCBI website, it was noted that deficiencies in minerals, Omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins could precipitate mental health issues. Regarding depression specifically, researchers say that nutrition and eating patterns such as, lack of appetite, skipping meals and cravings for sweets plays a role in preceding depression as well as effecting the “severity and the duration of depression”. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions.” (1)

            “INTERTWINED with cognition, behavior and emotions.” Let’s take a moment to “digest” that statement…………. Not only depression is linked to diet, but so is anxiety. Inflammation is the key factor, which can be diet or disease related. “Diet related” means consuming foods high in saturated or trans fats and refined sugars. “Disease related” means if you suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis/joint diseases or obesity.


            There are many more research studies conducted that investigate the Brain -Gut connection. A lot of it is true, your mind can affect your body and in so many ways. For example, your nerves can give you “butterflies in your stomach”; anxiety/stress can trigger constipation or diarrhea.  Also, vice versa, if you are having bouts of diarrhea, it can lead to depression or anxiety due to the need frequent bathroom use; or the uncomfortable pain of persistent constipation.  Foods that help with a healthy gut and healthy BMs are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and pro/pre-biotics.

            Probiotics are the microorganisms that line your digestive tract. They are found in yogurt and fermented foods. Prebiotics are the food that the probiotics eat. You can find them in foods like bananas, whole grains and vegetable.

            With all of this in mind (no pun intended, but intended) I have devised a meal that will conquer all of these needs!

            If you don’t like fish but can eat Tuna (yes, there are some of you out there!), Albacore tuna is a great source of DHA/Omega-3’s. See the below recipe for canned albacore tuna with Barley Tomato and Corn salad. IF you absolutely cannot stand to eat or are allergic to fish, chicken with this recipe would make a great substitute.

            If you are vegan or not a fish lover: walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed oil are high in omega 3’s, but DHA made from these sources isn’t as plentiful as it is from fatty fish. While it’s ideal to get these nutrients through the food that you eat, a daily multi-vitamin with fish oil (DHA and/or EPA) can help you to achieve your nutrient goals. Check with your doctor to see if fish oil is right for you, as it can affect some medication’s efficacy.

Check out a 2 bonus recipes below for mental health!

Bon Appetit!

~~ Chef Jen

(1) T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha, B. N. Ramesh, and K. S. Jagannatha Rao. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. National Institute of Health, NCBI. 2008 Apr-Jun. Accessed 11 May 2020.

(2) Roma Pahwa; Amandeep Goyal; Pankaj Bansal; Ishwarlal Jialal. Chronic Inflammation. Last Update: March 2, 2020.Accessed 11 May 2020








Tuna, Farro & Corn Salad


  • ½ cup uncooked farro, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup corn kernels (canned or fresh)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
  • (1) 5 oz can albacore tuna, packed in water*




  1. Cook farro: Bring according broth to a boil. Add rinsed farro to pot and return to a boil. Turn heat to medium and cook covered for 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool. (This step can be done the night prior, if desired)


  1. Transfer the cooled barley to a large bowl. Add the corn, green onions, and tomatoes; toss ingredients well.


  1. In a small bowl whisk together, remaining ingredients until combined. Pour dressing over salad, and toss well to combine ingredients thoroughly. Can be made and refrigerated the night before.


  1. Before serving, stir in basil and avocado, and allow salad to come to room temperature, if chilled, top with tuna.


* Alternative option to use 1 chopped or shredded, cooked chicken breast instead of tuna.

Roasted Salmon and Broccoli with Dijon Sauce

Adapted by Chef Jen


  • (4) 5 oz salmon fillets
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bunches broccoli crowns
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil


1. Pre-heat oven to 400⁰F. Pat dry salmon fillets, season lightly with salt and pepper. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil on foil. Center the 4 fillets in the pan.

  1. Break off broccoli into florets and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Surround fillets with broccoli and bake for ~15-20 minutes. Or until thermometer in fish registers 145⁰F and broccoli is easily pierced with a fork.
  2. While the fish and broccoli roast, chop parsley and set aside. Then, finely dice 2 large shallots. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in medium skillet, over medium heat, add shallots. Cook ~ 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add yogurt and 2 tbsp water, using a whisk (silicon whisk if using a non-stick pan) mix until blended, ~ 30 seconds. Remove from heat and mix in mustard.
  3. Portion out salmon and broccoli on plates. Mix in 2 tbsp parsley into mustard sauce and spoon evenly over the 4 portions of salmon. Garnish with the rest of the parsley over the plate.

Nutrition Corner With UD Chef & Dietitian Jen Muzzi 

My name is Jen Muzzi. I’m a Registered Dietitian, Chef and the Nutrition Outreach Coordinator for Employee Health and Wellbeing here at UD. This space will highlight recipes, cooking videos, tips and my blog. Here’s your first tip– healthier eating is easier than you think! While some prep and planning are necessary, it’s well worth it. Check out the archive of cooking videos and recipes listed in the blog below for some ideas to get you started.  Bon Appetit!

Cauliflower & Strawberry Lettuce Cups (from Foods that Hydrate Blog)

By Chef Jen Muzzi, RDN/LDN


 – 1 steamable package of Cauliflower rice

– Head of iceberg lettuce, cut into small wedges.

 – 1 cup chopped strawberries

 – 1/3 cup finely diced red onion

 – ¼ cup olive oil

 – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 – Chopped almonds and parsley to garnish

 – Salt and pepper to taste (pinch each) 


    1. Prepare cauliflower rice according to directions on packet. Drizzle with Olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool.
    2. Cut the lettuce head in half, rinse and dry.
    3. Chop and dice strawberries and onions.
    4. Whisk oil, vinegar, and if desired, salt and pepper to taste. Toss into strawberries and onion oil mixture.
    5. Spoon cauliflower into cup, top with strawberries and onion mixture. Garnish with chopped almonds and parsley.



Introducing Breaking Bread in Unity, a brand new cooking show from Employee Health and Wellbeing. Preparing, cooking, sitting down together to break bread and enjoy a meal has been a way for human connection since the beginning of time. In response to all that is happening in the world, we are hoping to (virtually) bring the UD community together through food. To continue this series, we are asking UD employees and retirees from all heritages who are interested in sharing a recipe to complete a participation form and be featured in Breaking Bread with Chef Jen. 

Have a recipe you want to share? Pass it along with a short description of why it’s important to you. Interested participants will be considered for future Breaking Bread episodes to cook along with Chef Jen! Complete the Participant Sign up Sheet

Diversity, Facing our Actions and Food

By Jen Muzzi, RDN/LDN, RYT-200, Chef

While I was going through yoga teacher training, I was taught to evaluate my thoughts, actions and face past traumas. Also, to take a moment or two to think before speaking and avoid passing judgement. As my teacher stated, “Y.O.G.A, Your Own Great Awareness” and so it is.  I’m also a dietitian. Both of these make it important for me to have a heightened awareness, to be mindful and present to the needs of my students, patients or clients. I have learned to “read the room” by noticing body language and energy and with that, comes the responsibility for setting the tone of that space. Sometimes it can be difficult because, I am human being and am far from perfect.

Emotional wellbeing has been brought to the forefront in discussions only recently in American history, as well as its interdependence on physical wellbeing. If you are emotionally spent, you may be physically too, and vice versa. Physical wellbeing is not just your activity level, but your diet as well. As a clinical dietitian, there were many times when I entered a patient room, introduced myself, my job title and received groans, eye rolls and “You’re going to take all the good food away from me, aren’t you?” I’ve learned so much about the mind and its connection to food through my work. It was in the hospital, that I realized patients are acutely aware that their lives are out of their control while admitted and they feel helpless. But the one thing that they can control is FOOD!

FOOD has such an impact on our emotional wellbeing. Food can mend fences and broken hearts; show love, share celebrations and sorrow. Food is a universal language of hospitality and inclusion, because it’s inviting. Sometimes, food can be abused when it’s used to “eat your way through” (or avoid) your emotions or even used as a form of self-punishment. Given current events, I believe FOOD is how we can all come together. WE need to “break bread”, gather, share stories and truly listen to one another. 

My New Awareness:

I have been sheltered and living in a bubble, so to speak. I came to realize my ignorance about 2 years ago, when I was speaking with a friend of mine who was married to an African American man and has bi-racial children. I remember saying how things are better at this day and age and she quickly said that it was not. She went on to discuss her son being pulled over by police without cause, the looks that her family would receive out in public and other sad stories. I remember thinking, “How is this possible today?”

Another time my ignorance showed was after hearing of Anti-Semitic vandalism and destruction in Texas. I remember thinking, “Who is still Anti-Semitic in today’s society?!” It is so appalling to me.

It was after those few things that I realized, and am being reminded of that now, that not everyone thinks like me. Not only is our division in America over race and religion, but politics and how to handle the Coronavirus are also further dividing our society. This is leading to discrimination, harassment and is hurting our brothers and sisters; Hurting our American family. Where and how can we come together and heal this relationship? How do we make this place a better one for not just ourselves, but our children the many generations to come? Through FOOD.

Here’s a little bit about me:

First, I grew up in suburban, lower middle class in upstate NY. I had a modest upbringing where we travelled some of the east coast and not internationally. The first time I left the US, I was 26. Not including my trip to Epcot (joking), the first country I visited was Canada. Which, to me, didn’t really feel like another country. Montreal had, what I can only assume was a European feel, with its open-air restaurants and historic architecture.

Otherwise, they said “Bonjour”.

We said, “Hello”

They replied, “Table for 2”?

Second, I’m such a blend of heritages that I’m an American mutt. I always was a little envious of those who can claim one specific heritage, which in upstate NY was mostly Irish, Italian or Puerto Rican. So, when my cousin married a Jewish man, I was beyond excited to be a part of that cultural experience and it was THE BEST wedding I have ever been to!  (Sorry to my friends who think it was theirs 😉). 

My lack of travel wasn’t due to the lack of desire, but more a lack of funds. It is my dream to travel to Hawaii (yeah, it’s US but not really…), all of Europe, Australia, Seychelles and the Middle East. I’m such a mutt, that when I meet new people and experience new cultures and activities, I want to immerse myself in them! “Show me everything and feed me!”, I say.

Emotional Wellbeing, the Struggle and Action:

I think the reason some people aren’t jumping on diversity, cultural and racism education like the explosion of online resources and such that occurred with COVID-19, is because it’s very emotional. We have to face ourselves, the demons that haunt us, our actions (that we may have been totally oblivious to) and realize with doing that, we’ve caused harm to other human beings.

It is hard to face emotions and to “face the music”. Remember when you were a kid and you had to fess up to mom or dad about something you did wrong? This is the same feeling that I wonder if people are feeling now: Shame. No one likes that feeling and having to face the fact that what we have done, likely unintentionally, was hurting a large group of people as a whole.

In some cases, it might not have been our actions, but our inaction. This quote was somewhat altered from the original, but gets the point across in modern language:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men stand by and do nothing.”

How many times have we passed by something and thought “Oh, someone else will do that” Or “That’s not my job to help with that” or something to that matter?

I know I’m guilty at times of “Someone else will do that”. There is a term in psychology that defines this as “the bystander effect”. Google that term and read the shocking story behind it.

Since I have identified my ignorance, or my bystander effect, it’s been a struggle. I believe I am accepting of many cultures and differences and I thought that the majority of Americans felt the same way too.

Why Culture and Food Experiences are Important:

For a while, when I thought of culture, OTHER country’s culture is what came to mind. One of the great things about this country is that we are truly a melting pot. There is so much culture that we can learn about here in the US. I have my husband to thank for my experiences since he was in the Navy when we were first married. As newlyweds, I was hopeful for an international duty station so that I can finally “see the world” and was slightly disappointed when that didn’t occur. But, I quickly overcame that when we were stationed in North Carolina, where we lived in a small town in the southern outer banks. Then transferred to Charleston, SC. Just those two places helped to “broaden my horizons” more than I had ever expected.  

Through immersing ourselves in the towns and new states, we learned a lot! There were many things that I learned, that I didn’t expect. As I’ve mentioned, I’m from upstate NY, so North and South Carolina was a bit of culture (and weather) shock! Side note: I’ll never forget our trip to Savannah when the tour guide was discussing the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression”. Wait- What?!

Travelling the different regions in this country, you can experience other cultures. An example from the Carolina’s is their BBQ traditions. For me BBQ was just using the grill and the sauce. Holy Moly! I am here to say that it is not that to them! It’s far from it! Did you know that NC BBQ is vinegar based and SC BBQ is mustard based? It also involves smoking the meat for hours and sometimes days on end! There are many epic arguments over which BBQ joint has the best sauce and who makes it “the right way”. In Carolinas, we got to experience different elements of culture besides BBQ, such as Gullah cuisine and culture and soul food. The Carolina’s have some of the best food I have eaten in my life! It so happens, that Charleston is also where I went to culinary school.

So now, whenever I travel to new places, I NEED to try the food! Mind you- my inner Dietitian is silenced quite often when we do this, 😉. For example, here are some of my recent experiences:

Chicago: I ate deep dish pizza and had a Chicago style hot dog (mustard, onions, sport pepper, relish and French fries).

Colorado: I (reluctantly) tried Rocky Mountain Oysters. (yeah, that’s crossed off the list and not doing again)

NYC: I ate pizza, bagels, a pastrami sandwich (it was only ¼ of it because it was the biggest sandwich I’ve ever seen in my life!). Whenever I’m in NY, I am always on the hunt for falafel, like a Beagle in search for the rabbit (or food).

I only eat at Waffle House if I’m south of the North Carolina border (covered and smothered ma’am)

Philly: Chicken Cheesesteak (provolone, wit)

South Carolina: I ate pulled pork sandwich with slaw ON THE sandwich; I overindulged on the fried chicken, collard greens and Coca-Cola cake at Jestine’s. Fell in love with Shrimp and Grits at SNOB’s and Foie Gras at Charleston Grill. I lived for the ball park and its BOILED PEANUTS. Also, I have a Philippine friend there who once invited me to her child’s baptism and reception and now I’m asking anyone who has that heritage if they will make me and give me the recipe for puto! Then there was that time my husband and I ate a 5 course dinner in the Captain’s quarters on a Taiwanese Naval Ship. (Great story for another day)

Dallas: I ate TX BBQ- ribs, brisket, mac and cheese and PECAN PIE.

Memphis: RIBS, RIBS, RIBS, RIBS! Also, PB, Banana & bacon sandwich at Graceland.

Vermont: EVERYTHING MAPLE, especially Maple Creemees

New York State: My sister married a Dominican man and she’s learned that when I’m visiting she has to make beans and rice, or else I won’t step foot in her house! Then there’s the Italian bakery’s simple, but incapable of replication, buttered hard roll. Mmmmmmmmmmm…..

Is anybody else hungry now?????

Even though I lack travel experiences away from the US, my travels within have exposed me to many cultures and backgrounds so that I can tell you this:


Anthony Bourdain once said: “Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me……… Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go. ….The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”

Right now, the focus is on race, but it’s so much more than that. We need to celebrate our differences both physically, spiritually and intellectually. One is not below the other, we are all the same. We are all humans and it’s time to act like it. It’s time to learn about each other and adapt so that we can overcome our fears, insecurities, differences to just love and appreciate one another

Coming Together

Why am I discussing all of this? It’s all due to an amazing suggestion from a colleague. In an effort to help us all to see, be seen and unite.  

Employee Health and Wellbeing is starting a new event that we need your help with:

“Breaking Bread in Unity”

SHARE: The request is for people of different cultures to share your favorite foods that you believe define your culture, heritage or childhood.

STORY: Describe why it’s your favorite, where it came from and let’s break bread together over these recipes. Answer Q&A and have your story and recipe highlighted. If you desire, you can remain anonymous!

COOK:  If you feel comfortable with Zoom and cooking, we will cook your recipe together and discuss your story in a recorded Zoom session for the University. (If not, we will work something out regardless 😉 ).

Your Q&A will be posted when the video goes live on the College of Health Sciences Facebook page and EHWs Nutrition Corner page.

Finally, maybe, I’ll take a stab at helping to adjust it from a Dietitian stand point or maybe I’ll just let them be.

Here is the link to submit your recipe(s):

Breaking Bread in Unity Sign Up Sheet

Be well, eat well, walk your dog, love one another and Bon Appetit!
~~ Chef Jen

 During a time when social distancing is the norm, let’s come together digitally through food and Microsoft Teams. Connect with other food fanatics by joining our UD Recipes Swap & Share Microsoft Teams chat! This group is for UD employees to swap recipes that you have made, want to make, or want someone to make for you! If you make them, you can also post the pictures of your final result. It’ll be a great resource for around the holidays, especially if you want to try something new. Kind of like a “UD employee Pinterest” page. You can also add other UD employees as well to the group!



All-Access Members can virtually participate in cooking demos or cook-alongs with Chef Jen though our HealthyU Virtual Cooking Classes. Chef Jen is a Registered Dietitian, a Registered Yoga Teacher and is the Nutrition Outreach Coordinator for Employee Health and Wellbeing. Each month during the semester Chef Jen selects recipes that are either healthier versions or preparations or meant to expand your culinary horizons. 

To sign up, you must have All Access Membership. Follow this Fusion Link to sign up! 

Upcoming Dates:

2/11/21- Let’s Cook! – Cooking for 2, Valentine’s Special- Filled!

March 18, 2021- Plant Based Protein (Demo) 

April 15, 2021- “Let’s Cook!” Local Spring Produce- Limited to 20 participants

*new date!* May 11, 2021- “Let’s Cook!” Taco Tuesday- Limited to 20 participants




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26 N College Ave Room 125, Newark DE 19716
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