Nutrition & Health Information From BYU Dining Services

Cooking Safety Basics


Rinse fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating them. Wash cutting boards, knives and other utensils, and counter tops in hot soapy water after preparing each food.

Keep fresh fruits and vegetables away from poultry, meats, and seafood while shopping, preparing, or storing. Separate raw foods from cooked foods. Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent their juices dripping onto other foods.

Cook foods to the proper temperature to kill harmful microorganisms. To prevent the risk of foodborne illness, use a food thermometer to check doneness.

See the table below for cooking temperatures:


                                     FOOD                                                                   Temperature
Pork (precooked ham to reheat) 140* F
Pork (fresh and ham) 145* F
Fin Fish 145* F or until flesh is opaque
Shrimp, Lobster and Crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque
Clams, Oysters and Mussels Cook until shells open during cooking
Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm
Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb (steak, roast or chop) 145* F
Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb (ground) 160* F
Hamburger (patties, meatballs, etc.) 160* F
Game Animals (venison, elk, bison) 160* F
Eggs Until white and yolk firm
Casseroles 165* F
Reheating Leftovers 165* F
Whole Chicken, Turkey, Duck and Goose, Stuffing 165* F
Game Birds (quail, pheasant, wild ducks, etc.) 165* F

Refrigerate or freeze food within two hours after cooking. Never defrost food on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Instead, thaw food in the refrigerator, by running it under cool tap water (change the water every 30 minutes), or defrosting on a plate in the microwave.


New Nutrition Facts


On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced changes to the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. This was done to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. Here is a breakdown of those changes.


What to know about Nutrition Tables:

  • Serving sizes are based on what consumers actually consume                                                          (a serving size can't be half of a cookie)
  • Calories from fat are no longer required to be listed
  • Font sizes are different to emphasize what is important
  • Added sugars (added as part of process) are now required to be listed
  • Updated % of daily values based on recent research
  • Vitamins A and C have been replaced with Vitamin D and Potassium
  • Actual amounts of vitamins and minerals are declared
  • The footnote at the bottom of the table is new



Food Fables


When it comes to nutrition information, sometimes it feels like everyone is an expert. This can be frustrating and very confusing. Below are common questions and concerns in regard to nutrition. These answers are not comprehensive, so if you have more questions look at (link to nutrition resources page)




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Diets: Paleo, fruit cleanses, etc.

Fable: In order to lose weight, you must follow specific diets such as eating Paleo, doing some sort of juice cleanse, avoid eating carbs, etc.

Facts: The only way to keep at a healthy body weight is for calories consumed = calories burned. If you want to lose weight, you must maintain a deficit, where you burn more calories than you eat. Often times, people will achieve results from following a diet, not because of the specifics of the diet, but because by following a set plan they will end up consuming less calories than they burn. The problem with this mentality is that once the person achieves the results they desire, they will likely fall back into their old eating patterns and end up regaining the weight. For most people, it is ideal to eat a variety of foods, and in moderation. There can be exceptions depending on the individual, so for anyone considering a lifestyle change, you should talk to your doctor and discuss a plan.



Fable: Produce that is organic is much healthier for me and for the environment. It is higher in nutrients and doesn’t have any pesticides.

Facts: Organic foods do actually often have pesticides, they just use different kinds of pesticides so that they can be called “organic”. The best thing to do with produce, whether it is organic or not, is to wash it before you cook or eat it. According to a UC Davis’s Integrative Medicine website, there is not an increase of nutrients in organic produce vs not. If you can’t afford organic produce, don’t let it stop you from eating fruits and vegetables. No matter their source, they are full of essential nutrients your body needs. The website sums it up by saying, “If you can afford to eat organic and you want to support sustainable farming practices while reducing your exposure to pesticides, do it. But if not, it’s simply better to start eating more plants (from any source) rather than worry about how they were grown”.


Gluten free

Fable: If I eat gluten free, then I will be less bloated and will lose weight. Gluten is really bad for me.

Facts: Gluten is not inherently evil, or even necessarily bad for the average person. Some people may have an allergy to gluten, or Celiac’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. In these cases, these individuals should avoid gluten. Diagnosis of these conditions should be done by a doctor, and not by the person themselves. The reason is, gluten is a protein found in wheat products, and many wheat products have very important nutrients. Often wheat products are high in fiber, niacin, thiamin, iron and riboflavin. It is often argued that people “feel better” when they stop eating gluten. One explanation for this is, when someone stops eating foods with gluten (which are often highly processed foods, like bagels and donuts), they could be increasing their fruit and vegetable intakes, or eating other healthy substitutes. If that is the case, then of course they feel better than they did before! Bottom line: if you have a diagnosed issue with foods that contain gluten, it is best to avoid those foods. If not, eating all foods in moderation is the best way to fuel your body.




Fable: There are “super foods” that are needed your body needs to purify and get rid of toxins.

Fact: Acai berries, kale, chia seeds, and cayenne peppers. These foods are all great foods to incorporate in your diet, if you so please! They each have different nutrients that are important in a balanced diet. The fallacy lies in the idea that your body needs certain foods in order to “cleanse” the liver/colon/skin. The human body is an incredible machine. It is built to get rid of the things it doesn’t like and need, and hold onto the good stuff. The best way to maintain a healthy body is to eat lots of different foods, and to especially incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables.


Nutrition Resources


Check out the nutrition app for Cannon Commons! You can check the menu for nutrients, ingredients, and allergens. The new “Filter” feature allows you to filter out any of the eight major allergens. The app will soon be expanded to every Dining Services location.

Promotions, photos, and allergen information for the Cougareat can all be found on their Facebook page: Those with dietary restrictions can see lists of menu items from each location to meet their needs.


For any help regarding diets, dietary restrictions, or questions about eating on campus you can contact the nutritionist, Rachel Wasden. She is available during Fall and Winter semesters every Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm. You can also contact her by email or phone: or (801) 422-3631.


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For other nutrition concerns, here are some other resources: