Nutrition fair highlights healthy eats at SJU

Caroline Krawczynski, Staff Writer

We can all agree that eating healthy is not easy. In a world of sky-high burgers, salty potato chips and triple-chocolate chip fudge brownies, why settle for a salad?

On Feb. 10, St. John’s Dining Services introduced students to the full 360 on healthy eating through its annual Nutrition Fair. With so many selections, eating healthy shouldn’t be boring or hard; it should be empowering, fulfilling and that is a message St. John’s advocates.

As a society, we are growing on healthier trends as the selections are infinitely expanding. “You don’t have to sacrifice taste for your health,” dietician Laure Marino sa who participated in the event and helped to organize it, said.

Along with Marino, who shared samples of Coke’s new product “Aloe,” there were a number of companies such as KIND, Belvita, Udi’s, Kellog’s and Sabra’s. They were all promoting the same message. According to Marino, the objective of the fair is to show students the variety of healthy snacks around campus. It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips or a quick slice of pizza, but, with similarly quick and healthier choices, you can also gain the nutritional value you need.

Sponsors such as KIND came well prepared with a selection of snacks to offer. Being a company on the rise, they emphasize the “ingredients you can see and pronounce” message. With an abundance of choices, including Dark Chocolate Chunk, Oats & Honey and the newest Breakfast Raspberry Chia, students jumped at the chance to get their hands on any of the healthy bars.

Another brand, Udi’s, gave students the take on gluten-free products.

“It’s popular, trendy, for students,” Mary Ellen Duchesne said about gluten-free foods. “But, if you aren’t gluten- free, you won’t like the product,” she added, describing how eating gluten-free isn’t a “healthy” replacement, but a cautious one for those allergic to flour.

Sophomore Symone Thomas discussed these trends with Duchesne.

“I’m really into nutrition but I don’t know enough to make conscientious daily decisions,” Thomas said. “[At the nutrition fair], I can open up my mind.”

Chef Kelly Heefner, who works with the Campus Dining Services, gave students a two-way gain from eating healthy by serving Energy Bites, that, along with being healthy will help feed children in Africa.

Heefner also introduced students to a “vegetable revolution” or what he likes to call “veg. centric.”

“Our main goal is to remove animal protein and replace [it] with great tasting vegetables,” Heefner said.

He also emphasized his commitment with the vegetable revolution “for healthier options and sustainable opportunities.”

Other than food choices, the Wellness Department encouraged “mindful eating.”

“As you’re eating, [it’s about] being in the present moment to take in different smells, textures and tastes,” freshman Deanna Abbatiello, a wellness peer educator, said.

Abbatiello explained how most tables offer unlimited products because they’re healthy. However, it’s not just about eating nutritionally, it is also about eating mindfully. “We’re here to connect with students and be there for them,” Lopez said, on educating students about nutrition.

Whether your meals are “veg. centric” or you eat mindfully, being healthy doesn’t need to be painful; the options are infinite and they are all right here at St. John’s.


  • Visit for more information on how to get involved with Energy Bites.