Stanford students battle it out with tomatoes!

Stanford students Michael, Natalya, and Sam enjoy the Tomato Battle festival!

Natalya Thakur, Stanford Class of 2015, went with fellow Cardinal friends to the Tomato Battle in Pleasanton, CA last week! Here’s what she had to say about the fun experience:

1) How did you find out about the festival / why did you go?

My friend Martell found out about the festival from a Stanford dining flyer.

2) Who did you go with?

So I went with her [Martell] and two of my best guy friends, Sam and Michael.

3) How was your experience?

The experience was like no other. People were tailgating and dressed in costumes. I got trampled by a stampede of people…and the experience of flinging tomatoes everywhere was more liberating than scary…even though I felt like I was in a real battle. Washing all the juice off was kind of a struggle as hundreds of people waited to hose off…loved it though!

Announcing the Foodstagram competition!

We’re super excited to announce Stanford Dining’s Foodstagram competition! We know many of you already love to take Instagram photos of your daily meals at Stanford, and wanted to feature those on our sites :)

Simply take a photo of a plate of food at Stanford Dining, Instagram it however you like, and submit it to our Tumblr page ( along with your name and graduation year. The best photos will get featured on our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr feeds!

Sustainable Food Program: Sustainable Food Recovery

Reducing the amount of food wasted is among the most important initiatives of the Sustainable Food Program. The resulting savings is reinvested into other sustainable initiatives, including the purchase of more sustainably produced food.

One of our many sustainability initiatives includes the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign created in 2008. We moved the compost bins to the front of the tray returns to raise awareness about food waste. Students then had to scrape their own plates and were able to see firsthand how much food was wasted in total by the dining hall residents. Previously, Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) employees would scrape plates in the dish room, which is obscured from the students’ view. We have also implemented common food waste reduction measures such as the voluntary trayless program, down-sizing plates and controlling portion sizes where appropriate.

With respect to pre-consumer food waste, the most important recent step we have taken is to invest in food waste reduction technology, which identifies where, why and by whom food waste is being generated.

But the more interesting work we’re doing is through partnerships with students, with whom we’re collaborating on user-centered design processes for better understanding why students generate waste, and then prototyping design solutions to reduce it. We also have great success in creating opportunities for student volunteers to raise awareness amongst their peers about food waste.

Lastly, our partnership with Stanford Project for Hunger (SPOON) has been invaluable in that nearly 60,000 meals have been diverted from our compost bins to people in need. Although our first priority is to reduce waste in the first place, SPOON is able to elevate much of the waste we do generate to the highest use possible—feeding the hungry.

For more information, visit

Thrive: Welcome to One of the Healthiest Campuses in the U.S.!

A warm welcome to the new freshmen and welcome back to all of our returning students! I’m Elaine Magee, the Wellness & Performance Nutritionist for R&DE. I write a column in this newsletter and you can come to my open office hours (Wed. 5:00-7:00 pm, Room 130 on the first floor of Arrillaga Family Dining Commons) or email me at

R&DE approaches “health” in the grander, whole sense—health as a whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and health as a whole planet, which is why we are working on future projects that integrate our sustainability initiatives with our new Performance Dining program.

The Freshman 15 Doesn’t Exist Here

Some of you might be worried about “The Freshman 15,” but that doesn’t exist here at Stanford and according to national data, the typical freshman, no matter where they go to school, gains about the same weight as people the same age who don’t go to college. Here at Stanford, you can start or continue eating more healthfully and sustainably while at the same time try ethnic dishes, whole grains or vegetables you’ve never seen before. Enjoy our grass-fed hamburger, cage-free eggs, organic apples, local organic tofu and wild Alaskan salmon!

Healthy Body Image Resources For Everyone!

For some students, a poor body image can create physical and emotional challenges. To support students with online resources and to help create a healthy body image culture on campus, visit Stanford‘s Healthy Body Image Program ( and

• Take the confidential online eating and body image quiz

• Enroll in a 1-unit online course or sign-up for the Reflections Body Image Program

• Participate in online programs: “StayingFit” or “StudentBodies”



For more information, contact Elaine:

Thrive: Go Bananas!

Go Bananas with Your Sports Workout!

Bananas are famous for being a great source of the electrolyte, potassium, but a new study just put them on the sports performance map alongside Gatorade!

A new study with trained cyclists suggests bananas can be as effective as popular sports drinks in providing nutrition support during prolonged and intensive exercise. In the study cyclists ate bananas at a rate of .2-gram carbohydrate per kilogram bodyweight for every 15 minutes of intense exercise (or about half of a banana for a 150 pound person).

Bananas are a favorite with many athletes and coaches because they are a good source of three things:

• Carbohydrates (FUEL): 27 grams of carbohydrate per banana!

• Nutrients (ELECTROLYTES): 422 mg potassium and 32 mg magnesium per banana!

• Antioxidants from phytochemicals (which may help minimize oxidative stress resulting from heavy exertion)

You can find bananas in the dining halls throughout the summer!



For more information, contact Elaine:

Sustainable Food Program: Seafood and Our Oceans

Know Your Food

Seafood and our Oceans

Maintaining healthy fisheries is among the most challenging prospects to those of us working towards a sustainable food system. Jurisdiction and law enforcement over open water is often confounding or nonexistent and the supply chain is quite opaque due to the isolated and remote nature of fishing operations. Combined, this has resulted in a rather dire situation for our world’s fisheries. Following are a few statistics about their current status:

Scientists estimate that we have removed as much as 90 percent of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and cod from the world’s oceans.

Seventy percent of the world’s fisheries are now exploited, overexploited or have collapsed.

It’s estimated that by 2030, the world will need an additional 37 million tons of farmed fish per year to maintain current levels of consumption.

On the bright side, there are a number of committed non-profit organizations making a real impact, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, with whom we are a business partner. With their guidance, we are committed to only purchasing seafood that they’ve deemed a “best choice” or “good alternative”.



For more information, contact Matt :

For more information on Stanford Dining Sustainability, visit

Thrive: Tips for Enjoying Sugar in Moderation

A little sugar is fine, but a lot can mean you aren’t getting enough whole foods that give you important nutrients to keep your body performing at its best.

Here are tips that literally spell m-o-d-e-r-a-t-i-o-n:

M     Mindfully eat food or drink that contain sugar by slowing down and paying  

        attention to the flavor of every bite—you’ll be satisfied sooner.

O     Only choose whole grain breakfast cereals that have no/low

       sugar (like our unsweetened hot oatmeal!)

D     Diet soda—If you’re craving a Pepsi a day, try making it diet.

E     Eliminate sweet foods that you really aren’t enjoying or paying

       attention to.

R     Remember to choose water as your beverage whenever possible.

A     Ask yourself if fresh or dried fruit or chewing gum is what you want.

T     Think portion control with sweet treats—fun size Snickers

       compared to king size.

I      Investigate if your sweet tooth has a pattern—when you are upset, bored,

       hungry, tired, etc.

O     Observe—Are you less tempted to reach for sugary snacks if you limit

       caffeine and eat regular meals featuring mostly whole foods with fiber and    


N     Never say never. If you try to cut sugar completely from your

       diet, you’ll most likely only want it more.



For more information, contact Elaine:

Sustainable Food Program: Heirloom Tomatoes

This is my favorite time of the growing season. By now, it’s usually been about nine months since I last ate a fresh tomato. This in part owes to my predilection for eating with the seasons, but this alone does not explain the dearth of S. lycopersicum in my diet. To me, there is nothing more gastronomically pleasing than a lightly salted slice of an heirloom tomato. In a food system that has generally come to prize and demand of its vegetables such attributes as shelf life, transportability, storability, and uniformity, there is nothing so rebellious as a delicate, vine ripened heirloom tomato variety that has been bred and selected over centuries for its taste and usefulness in specific culinary applications. So superior are these varieties to their contemporary cousins that myriad acolytes across the world forgo anything other. Out of my own love of heirloom tomatoes, I am doing a trial in the dining hall gardens to identify which varieties taste the best and do well in our local climate. The varieties we are trying include: Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, Druzba, Giant Syrian, Green Zebra, Japanese Tifele Black, Mortgage Lifter, and Trucker’s Favorite Pink, among others. Keep an eye out for them on the menu.



For more information, contact Matt :

For more information on Stanford Dining Sustainability, visit

Stop Germs in Their Tracks!

Welcome to Stanford! All of us here at Stanford Dining want to make your experience here a great one. In addition to serving you delicious food, we also want to keep everyone healthy. The simple act of properly washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds (that is how long it takes to sing Happy Birthday song twice) after using the restroom significantly cuts down on illnesses of all kinds.

As you enjoy the Stanford Dining experience, please remember to do these easy things:

• Wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating

• Use the hand sanitizers located in the dining halls

• Use a fresh plate, cup and set of cutlery when going back

for seconds

• Don’t put the serving utensil handles in contact with the food

• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, then wash your

hands after



For more information, 

contact Daniel:

Ramadan @ Stanford

Ramadan marks the anniversary of the month within the Islamic lunar calendar when the holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Muslims observe the month by fasting, abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset daily. This year, Ramadan will be July 20th-August 20th.
Stanford Dining supports fasting Muslim students’ observation of the traditional pre-dawn meal: waking up just before dawn to eat a nutrient-rich breakfast (known in Arabic as suhoor) to keep us fueled throughout the day via the Boxed Pre-Dawn Meal program! Students enjoy a selection of nutritious foods including yogurt, specialty cheeses and whole wheat bread and even traditional Islamic delicacies like dates and pistachios- picked up the previous night from a dining hall. Having this awesome Stanford Dining kit helps students make good use of their pre-dawn time. Instead of fumbling around in the dark hitting snooze until sunrise, dreading the thought of groggily scrambling an egg, students can conveniently focus on nutritionally preparing for the discipline of fasting and reading Quran.
At sunset, Maghrib, Muslims break their fast with iftar. Stanford Dining extends hours of operation at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons to close an hour after sunset, to best accommodate students breaking fast. Stanford Dining also features traditional Middle-Eastern inspired entrees with halal meats during Ramadan.
It’s this type of attention to detail, flexibility and deep cultural respect for students from all backgrounds that makes Stanford Dining an incredible luxury to enjoy. This sort of programming helps Muslim students feel more than just accepted and acknowledged, but celebrated and honored. Sometimes it’s tough taking classes while away from family during Ramadan, especially during long summer days, so it’s doubly meaningful for Stanford Dining to foster a sense of family for students at our home-away-from-home during the holidays.



Stanford Dining suhoor meals for Stanford students will be available for pick-up at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons during dinner throughout the month of Ramadan. Cost is one breakfast meal swipe.

For more information on Stanford Dining’s halal program, visit