Getting the Most Out of Sweetgreen

Over the summer I worked at the Back Bay Sweetgreen location in Boston. My co-workers were easy to get along with and I got to have summer full of healthy food. I was interested in working for Sweetgreen because I had been a fan of their food for a long time. As someone who goes to college in Boston, looking for healthy vegetarian options, I was sold the first time I tried it. Working at Sweetgreen taught me a lot about customer service, multitasking and teamwork. However, I also learned all the ins and out of getting the most out of your Sweetgreen experience. Now that I’m going back to being a loyal customer, I’m so grateful for this knowledge.

The Sweetgreen App

This is an absolute must for anyone who wants to enjoy Sweetgreen on the regular. You can scan to pay and earn rewards as you go. It makes checking out a lot easier for everyone involved and you get neat perks.

Ordering online

Another feature of the app is the ability to place online orders for pickup. This means that you can skip the crazy long lines that Back Bay is famous for and get your salad to-go. You can still get bread and a drink too. I recommend getting double dressing! With online orders, you’re able to save your favorite salads and custom recipes right on the app.

Order a custom if you’re going to make more than a couple of changes

This makes it so much easier for everyone involved. The Sweetgreen team is always happy to go above and beyond for customers, but it’s also frustrating when you’re doing mental gymnastics to make sure the order gets charged right at the end. Swapping out proteins, changing a dressing or adding something is no big deal. However, if you’re going to switch three things out and then add a bunch more, do everyone a favor and order a custom salad. That’s what they are there for! It also increases the likelihood of you getting charged correctly for your salad. *Eggs and Cheeses cost the same so you can swap them out without changing the price of your salad*

Don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients

Sweetgreen makes everything in house so a good portion of the staff is pretty familiar with the fine details of the food. They also always have a nutritional binder on hand just in case they don’t know off the top of their head. It’s always better to ask than risk your health! Sweetgreen wants people to be confident and happy with what they’re eating. The supervisors are trained to handle allergies so while not every employee can assist you, you’ll be in good hands.

The best time to visit

10:30-11 am and 3 pm or later is always going to pretty decent line-wise. 11-2:30 pm is the lunch rush which usually means a line out the door and around the corner. If you have the flexibility in your schedule to go at a different time you’ll be doing yourself a great service. It’s also a lot easier to find a table.

Spicy Cashew dressing is a MUST

The sweet and spicy dressing became an obsession of mine during my time at Sweetgreen. It’s not only great on salad (currently featured on the Thai Watermelon and Rad-Thai) but it is really tasty on the bread slices. If you haven’t had it before, it’s definitely worth trying your next stop in.

Sweetgreen has *five* seasonal menus

So, they have Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer 1, and Summer 2. This means new salads, ingredients and a new beverage. Right now they have Thai Watermelon, Peaches & Goat and Roasted Pepper & Feta. Oh, and the Watermelon Cilantro Fresca. One of the best parts about working at Sweetgreen is being able to try the salads in advanced. Take advantage of each season and try the new salads while they have them.

Don’t get stuck ordering the same thing

Before working at Sweetgreen, I always ordered the Shroomami. Every. Single. Time. I totally understand having a favorite order. The Harvest Bowl and Guacamole Greens are two of the most popular orders. However, with our custom and seasonal options, I highly recommend trying something new from time to time. I was constantly surprised by the flavor combinations that I liked and it gave me a way to eat healthy without getting sick of the same thing. You’d be surprised how many different ways you can eat salad!

Enjoy the sweetlife!

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The Difference Between Healthy Eating and Dieting

Lately, I’ve been struggling with this idea. I’m someone who has always tried hard to live a healthy lifestyle. I rarely eat fast food, work out when I can and would much rather snack on hummus or fruit than on popcorn or cookies. I would classify myself as healthyish. I’m not the type who would turn down pizza on a Saturday night, but it’s not something I like to do on the regular.

As someone who will soon be going abroad to the Castle, I’ve been trying to dedicate the rest of my summer to losing a few pounds and slimming down. I started off by going on a “diet,” which consisted of limiting my carb intake to one meal; a banana or yogurt for breakfast, salads with fruit and nuts for lunch, and typically stir-fried chicken and veggies with multigrain rice for dinner. I felt that, if I didn’t title it as a “diet,” I would be lazy and give up easily. This turned into a competition with myself; every time I was hungry, but opted to go to the gym over snacking unnecessarily, I was washed over with immense pride. I could do this! But when the scale was stubbornly unmoving, I got frustrated. What was the point of eating so little and healthy and going to the gym multiple times a week if it wasn’t going to do anything?

This is where I started recognizing the difference between healthy eating and dieting. For me, the problem with dieting is that it puts too much pressure on an individual. “Carbs for just dinner” sounds so easy, but then when you break that even once, you lose hope and confidence. You think, I already failed, why bother continuing? In a lot of the diets in which we partake, from guided ones like Weight Watchers to self-guided ones like paleo diets, our daily routine revolves around never wavering. We have to be perfect, never giving into cravings and keeping our eyes on the prize at all times. That is a recipe for implosion. And even when we allow for cheat days, those days sometimes lead us to eating way more and much unhealthier than we might have had we been eating more balanced meals every day.

The idea of balance is the key to differentiating between healthy eating and dieting. Healthy eating is so much more effective because it’s all about balance; maybe you ate a lot of protein and fruit for breakfast. Well, then maybe some veggies and grains for lunch. And if you ended up eating a lighter dinner, maybe you can have some frozen yogurt for dessert. You aren’t controlling the quantity or quality of what you’re eating. No more calorie-counting or food-deductions, just balanced eating that leaves room for some cravings, but incorporation of all important food groups. Even if you have a “bad day,” you can always balance it out the next day with healthier meals and a trip to the gym. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, whereas dieting is a temporary phase. It puts less pressure on you to abide by self-proclaimed rules and recognizes that we’re all humans with cravings. Life truly isn’t worth it if we never allow ourselves to eat the foods we really love, even on occasion. And it’s not fair to reprimand ourselves for giving in to a gooey plate of nachos or a moist slice of chocolate fudge cake.

In my new version of “getting my body ready for Europe,” I’m not going to force myself to not eat when I’m hungry and say no to something if I really really want it. I’m still going to try my best to eat beautiful foods that are good for my body, drink as much water as I can, and work out a few times a week. But, on the weekends, I’m going to treat myself to breakfast sandwiches, Rocky Road ice cream, and late-night Maria’s because life is too full of delicious eats to say no.

The Appeal of Brunch

Clink. Sip. Slice. Munch. Laugh. Repeat.

Brunch has become a staple of our millennial lives. There is something so intriguingly special about a Sunday brunch with your friends. The table is always overflowing with mimosas, home fries, eggs three different ways and always at least one pancake. But, what is the appeal of brunch? Why have we placed it on a pedestal far above lunch and dinner?

Our generation is all about finding new and healthy ways to branch out from our parents. We are the kale-loving, SoulCycle-going, meme-watching generation. And our lifeblood is brunch. It provides a rich experience unlike any other; a time with friends when we can eat and drink to our fullest, without being judged for the time of day. Think about it; ordering multiple drinks at lunch is not exactly encouraged and dinner can end up being a more formal experience. At brunch, we can indulge in something out of the ordinary while still managing to meet our budgets. It’s a delightful way to order something that isn’t a classic dinner dish and to treat yourself. Especially in the late morning to early afternoon of a sunny weekend day.

And, if it isn’t obvious already, millennials are positively obsessed with photographing and sharing the exciting details of their day-to-day lives. The best part about brunch? It’s always aesthetically pleasing. Creamy Eggs Benedict on golden brown English muffins, fluffy Belgian waffles oozing with fresh fruit and maple syrup, colorful arrays of delicious Huevos Rancheros and, naturally, the never-ending flights of tropical mimosas and spicy Bloody Marys. As soon as the server arrives with the steaming, heaping plates, iPhones immediately emerge and the perfect, Instagram-worthy photo can be captured within seconds. After all, what good is a beautiful brunch if your friends can’t eye it on social media and be completely jealous?

Brunch fits the millennial lifestyle to a T. We are always hard-working fanatics during the week, juggling internships, classes, jobs and meetings. On the weekends, we like to treat ourselves to giant fishbowls, endless dancing, blistered feet and greasy pizza at 2 am. And brunch falls into this category perfectly; it allows us to still sleep in a little later on weekends, still get delicious breakfast foods and efficiently combine our breakfast and lunches into one filling, luxurious meal. And, of course, most of us arrive at our brunch dates relatively hungover. Well, no problems there! Brunch can accommodate even the most nauseous, aching people; coffee for those who need something strong, heavy dishes for those who need to fill their pained stomachs with plenty of carbs and even more refreshing drinks for those who aren’t quite ready to give up their alcohol intake for the weekend.

Since millennials fall into such a broad category when it comes to what we can and can’t afford, brunch is the perfect middle ground. For those of us college students who are broke beyond belief, we can alway manage to afford a couple eggs, home fries and toast for a reasonable couple of bucks. And for those of us older millennials with more successful incomes, there’s always an indulgent smoked salmon omelette, Nutella and strawberry crepe or eggs Florentine on which to splurge. It’s the perfect meal time to find something everyone likes and wants to immediately Snapchat to all their friends.

Clearly, the appeal we millennials have found in brunch is the aesthetic, diversity, and luxury in it. It’s a meal we have made our own, shifting it from a classic diner platter of pancakes and eggs to something for which one would wait two hours in line. We can’t deny the thrill it gives us to wake up at 10 am, dress up nicely, and be seated at a table at 11:30 with our best friends, snapping pictures of our strawberry mimosas and golden brown French toast. It’s alluring, tasteful, and as classy as we millennials can get.

How to Upgrade Your Favorite Unhealthy Foods

I hate to break it to you, but we all have a curse. It’s the curse of unhealthy food. Tell me you haven’t walked past a Wendy’s and audibly gasped. Or walked into a Starbucks, planning on just getting a tall iced coffee, and accidentally gotten a grande Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream. Or sat in an UNO’s and felt your mouth actually water at the smell of pizza. So it’s true then; we are all cursed. But, you can trick your stomach. It’s possible to break this curse and “healthify” your favorite unhealthy foods.

Frappuccinos

How deliciously refreshing is an ice-cold, frothy frappuccino on a hot summer day? Well, did you know that a grande Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream is 378 calories and and has 47.1 grams of sugar? Yikes! I know it’s easy to disguise the calories in our Starbucks orders because, well, they’re just coffee right? Wrong. Unfortunately, they’re closer to a milkshake. But it’s so easy to make your own frappuccino that is way healthier! Replace that whole milk with skim milk (or half and half if you can’t let go quite so much). Whipped cream and syrup alone could be the cause of an extra 150 to 200 calories! Swap out the syrup for more natural sweeteners; a combination of vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and a little bit of sugar can go a long way! If you can’t say goodbye to the whipped cream, try a dollop of Cool Whip on top. Add some coffee and ice and blend, and there you go: a much cheaper and much less sugary version of your favorite drink!

Pizza

I know, how can one live without this beautiful creation?! Pizza has become so integrated into our lives that it’s almost second nature to order Domino’s for dinner or grab a slice of New York Pizza after a late night on the town. Sadly, the old excuses of “Well, tomatoes are a vegetable!” and “Doesn’t cheese give you calcium?” don’t really fly with a Domino’s pizza; if you ate two slices of a large Domino’s cheese pizza, you’re looking at 580 calories and 72 carbohydrates! Yup, I’m being serious. However, do not fret! You can still get your pizza fixing with a healthier mindset. Consider making a cauliflower crust, a fairly new creation that has been all the rage online. You can grate cauliflower, combine it with some cheese, spices, and eggs in a bowl, flatten it into a pizza crust shape on a baking sheet, and bake it to create a crust-like consistency. Without a thick, buttery bread crust, you’re saving a ton of carbs while still getting that delicious crust feel. You can add your favorite tomato sauce and cheese variety on top and bake again for a savory, satisfying pizza. It may not be the same as Domino’s, but if you force yourself to forget that you’re eating baked cauliflower, it does taste a heck of a lot like a real crust.

Fries

Last, but not least, the infamous fries. They’re the side on every menu, taunting you as you try and fail to order a salad. You think, “Oh, I’ll just get a medium fry and no burger, that’s not that bad, right?” Well, a medium fry at McDonald’s has 340 calories! It’s a number you probably knew in the back of your mind, but have been subtly ignoring for years. It’s a sad reality; but, you can still eat fries and not bust your belly. Why not try baking your own fries? It sounds shameful, but you can still pack in a lot of flavor. Instead of deep-frying thinly sliced potatoes, you can toss them in some olive oil, salt, and any other spices you like, lay them out on a baking sheet, and bake them in the oven. You can achieve delicious fries with crispy outsides and tender insides. They have less than a third of the fat in a McDonald’s medium fry, with even more flavor! While it doesn’t have the same effect as a steaming hot order of fries from your favorite fast-food joint, it’s a quick and easy recipe to whip up.

There you go! Three ways to upgrade your favorite unhealthy foods to something a lot healthier. I, for one, have never had any success trying to cut out my favorite foods and eat only leafy greens. Just like anyone else, I get terrible cravings for the greasiest and sugariest foods out there. But, if you, also like me, are trying to watch what you eat, this is a great way to go. It’s finally possible to lay on the couch and eat a plate full of fries and have absolutely no guilt about it!

Doughnut Overload

Chris Timmons hungry roll doughnut donuts GIF

I could not be happier about the doughnut invasion that seems to have taken over the food world over the past year. I was never that into doughnuts because they are so decadent. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. I have experienced the doughnut craze in cities all over the world and not one doughnut has left me unsatisfied. I am going to recall some of my fondest doughnut memories, some of which are in New England that you must try if you haven’t already.

1. The first time I fell in love with donuts was at Blackbird Doughnuts, located at 492 Tremont Street. This location is not far from Emerson’s campus at all. If you are an Emerson student and have yet to visit Blackbird, shame! They change their flavors weekly which always keeps people (especially me) coming back for more.

Me eating a Lemon raspberry donut from Blackbird.

The flavors tend to be seasonal, so in the fall, expect pumpkin spice inspired donuts and fresh, fruity ones in the summer. One of the best doughnuts I have ever had was at Blackbird last summer. They had a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that changed my life forever. I’m serious. The brioche dough was so fluffy like a cloud with a perfect balance of the peanut butter and jelly filling. I hope they bring that flavor back one day because it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth….ever. What is cool about Blackbird is that there is a glass window where you can see right into the kitchen to see live doughnut magic. Blackbird is a little slice of heaven, right in the South End.

2. As if doughnuts were not amazing on their own….now there is the “cronut” craze. Let me do a little math for you. Croissant + donut = cronut. I never thought my first cronut experience would be at the Barcelona airport but when I saw it staring at me from behind the case of baked goods, I knew it had to be mine.

This Oreo cronut with marshmallow filling was everything I hoped it would be. The Oreo crumbles and flaky crust of the croissant paired together perfectly, and the filling was just enough sweetness without overpowering the entire ensemble. As I sat in the terminal awaiting my flight, I knew I made the right decision. I have yet to come across a cronut in the states but I am sure they are out there and it is my mission to find one.

3. My most overwhelming doughnut experience happened at Camden Market in London. Camden Market is one of my favorite places in the entire world, filled with artists displaying local work and food vendors with dishes from all around the world. What really caught my eye at Camden Market was an unbelievable doughnut cart. A cart a mile long, with any doughnut you could ever want. You could smell the sweetness wafting off the cart from a mile away. 

Doughnut cart!

Never before had I seen so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of doughnuts. I accept every doughnut for who they are on the inside, not physical appearance. I decided to go for the most ridiculous doughnut I saw that was bigger than my head. A buttercream filled, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, doughnut. A triple threat doughnut.

The doughnut monster at Camden Market.

 

I could only conquer about five large bites before throwing in the towel.

4. PVDonuts in Providence, Rhode Island is another one of my favorites. I went there for the first time last week and was impressed by the organization they maintained behind such a small counter. Having to choose just one flavor was nearly impossible so I grabbed six to go so I could share with my family. Some of the flavors were banana split, cereal milk, piña colada, and maple bacon. My favorite had to be strawberry cream, a doughy pillow of pastry filled with fresh strawberry jam.

The atmosphere inside PVDonuts is super cozy and they even have donut pillows to complement the couches. They even have a sign on the wall that says “Treat Yoself!” which makes me feel even better about stuffing a doughnut the size of my head into my mouth. One important tip for PVDonuts is to get there early because they sometimes sell out of doughnuts by noon. These doughnuts are most definitely worth the drive, so make the journey down to Providence ASAP!

There is always a new doughnut adventure to be had, so go out and explore the doughnut craze for yourself! I promise, you will NOT regret it.

GIPHY Studios Originals doughnuts donuts national donut day national doughnut day GIF

My Boston Favorites

I always talk about Boston – I literally never shut up about it.

My soul is full of pride to know that I grew up in this incredible city. And after watching the Marathon from the finish line this weekend, my heart has just burst from happiness, love, and pride. Although it is normal to love the place you grew up, I know that my love and pride surpasses that normal capacity.

And as I am turning 2o this summer, I have put together a list of my all-time favorites within the city of Boston. For the most part, I am a HUGE foodie which is the reason why a lot of my favorites are restaurants. Along with food, I love shopping and large hang-out places which makes my list a combination of hidden places and well-known parts of the city. The way I went about making my list is by creating a quirky, lil’ map through Google to actually pinpoint the places I am talking about AND to make it easier for you all to figure out where they all are if you decide to try them out for yourselves!

Continue reading “My Boston Favorites”

A Blended Family’s Weekend Trip

Interestingly enough, my parents met in a Japanese hospital. One of their mutual friends got in a car accident and even though my dad had a girlfriend at the time, their connection was instant. Shortly after that moment, they became a couple and after moving around southern Japan and around the east coast of the U.S., the pair settled in my dad’s hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. And that is where I come in – as their last child and probably the one that eats the most food.

Continue reading “A Blended Family’s Weekend Trip”

Healthy Eating Within Reach

Hello again, my fellow dorm dwellers. It’s almost the end of the semester, and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting real tired of dining hall food right about now. For us Piano Row residents, the Max was fun for the first few weeks of freshman year. Now it’s reached the point where I’m actually starting to turn down mozzarella sticks. The PCaf, The Max and the Dining Hall have a lot of tempting, unhealthy options, but believe it or not, there are healthy ones too. It’s safe to say that the main reason for going to Emerson is not the dining hall. But rather than focusing on the bad, we can try to find the good! So, in order to tide you over until the summer when you can once again experience real, actual food, I’m going to give you a little lesson in how to find the healthiest options around campus.

Alright, so let’s go over our choices. We have the dining hall, the Max, the PCaf, and Einstein’s at which to spend our Board Bucks. And when those run out, we have twenty off campus eateries that take EC Cash, including Boloco, Panera Bread, Subway and Sal’s Pizza (the full list can be found here).

Now, I know as well as anyone how hard it is to eat healthy on a college campus, especially ours. We’re all guilty of it–those pizza bagels from Einstein’s will probably be the death of me. But there are always healthy options (thanks Michelle Obama) if you just take the time to look.

The most important meal of the day is breakfast, and I usually go to Einstein’s. Here are some healthy choices you might not have noticed before.

  • Egg-white Asparagus Mushroom Swiss on Thin Wheat Bagel (390 cal)
  • Bacon Tomato Avocado Egg White on Thin Wheat Bagel (410 cal)
  • Thintastic Asparagus and Mushroom, Whole Egg, on Thintasic Whole Wheat (430 cal)
  • Hummus Veg Out on Sesame (410 cal)

Nutrition Info

Menus and nutritional information is not available online for the Max and Pcaf, but I would recommend switching out the usual cheeseburger or grilled cheese for stir fry, taco salad or a grilled chicken sandwich. At the DH, it’s possible to get creative. I like to ask the grill to cut up some chicken to put on my salad to give it some protein. The vegan station is always a healthy choice as well, and the vegan desserts. I cannot get enough of the vegan desserts! Especially that banana bread! So moist and delicious. That’s one area where the DH really outdoes itself. I’ve also recently discovered a way to spice up a plain ol’ grilled cheese–ask for pesto and tomatoes, and put it on wheat bread. Now you can enjoy comfort food without feeling like you might die after!

Now this may not be an option for everyone, but grocery shopping can really make eating on campus a lot less bleak. I was recently informed that our local CVS on Washington St takes EC Cash! How wild! You can stock up on some bananas, yogurt, protein bars, cereal and whatever else your little heart desires. Just do your best to steer clear of the sodas and other sugary snacks. Roche Bros is also a great option for fresh produce and other healthy snacks, though it is more expensive. If you’re like me and miss having strawberries at your disposal like you did at home, Roche Bros is your go-to. With your new bounty, you can head over to the Colonial kitchens (open to everyone, not just residents) and have a dinner party with your friends! It’s not quite the same as home, but summer is just around the corner. It’s so close, I can almost taste it.

What is Orthorexia Nervosa?

Recently there has been a big healthy eating craze with a shift from traditional fast-food to more “fast-casual” dining with much healthier options, and many pushes toward eating organic, vegetarian or vegan diets. This is a great thing, however, for some people it can also become an obsession called orthorexia nervosa. Similar to other eating disorders, it starts as a simple desire to eat healthier, which then grows into an unhealthy obsession on food quality and purity. At its severest it can consume one with constant thoughts of what, when, and how much to eat; prevent them from eating out with friends because restaurants don’t have things they believe they can eat; and cause them to spiral and self-punish if they eat something not “healthy” enough. This leads an orthorexic’s diet to eventually become so restricted that it deprives them of nutrients they need, and not only impairs their life and relationships, but, ironically, their physical health.

Though orthorexia is similar to other eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, it is not officially recognized by the DSM-5, the fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The term was first used by Steven Bratman, MD in 1996, to help explain to his patients the idea that what they deemed as “healthy” eating may not always be what is best for them. The term has recently gained popularity with an increase in patients with similar symptoms.

Another reason for it’s recent popularity growth is a popular health blogger who found herself with the same condition. In an article with the New York Daily News Jordan Younger, originally known as “The Blonde Vegan” said she began to notice that her attempt to eat healthy was becoming an obsession that was effecting her daily life. It started effecting her health, including her menstruation, and eventually she decided that  something had to change. She told the Daily News, “I just didn’t want food to control me anymore. I saw the people around me who I loved very much just able to enjoy their food in a way that I wasn’t doing anymore.” After that she became devoted to recovery and even changed her blog’s name to The Balanced Blond.

Orthorexia is similar to anorexia and bulimia because it actually becomes much less about the food and much more about control. The NEDA, National Eating Disorder Association, says there are many “underlying motivations, which can include safety from poor health, compulsion for complete control, escape from fears, wanting to be thin, improving self-esteem, searching for spirituality through food, and using food to create an identity,” for why eating healthy may become a compulsion for some people and not others. A lot of these pressures can come from personal problems, or societies constant pressure to look a very certain way, and a newer pressure to eat a certain way.

It is important to remember that just because you strive to have a healthy diet does not mean you are orthorexic. However, if you or someone you know match these guidelines from the NEDA it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor:

“1) It [eating clean] is taking up an inordinate amount of time and attention in your life. 

2) Deviating from that diet is met with guilt and self-loathing.

3) It is used to avoid life issues and leaves you separate and alone.”

Food Renegade also has a quiz to help those who think they might be orthorexic. 

While orthorexia is not a condition that a doctor can diagnose, they can often help with recovery, or refer you to someone who can. Many clinics, such as Futures Palm Beach can help those affected discover the roots of their condition such as low self-esteem, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder with extensive therapy and give them a safe and comforting place to detox. 

“Master of None” & the Millennial’s Relationship with Food

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Aziz Ansari’s recently released Netflix show Master of None is a hit for many reasons: it’s diverse cast, thoughtful plot lines and interesting structure separate it from the wave of other “must watch” TV shows of today. While all of these components are important to the show’s unique style, there is another aspect that sets it apart: protagonist Dev’s relationship with food.

Food is a major thematic component in the series. In Master of None, food excites, connects and entertains all of its characters. Restaurants set the backdrop for where they have enlightening conversations about parents’ histories, revelations of sexism occur over Instagrams of frittatas and a pasta maker becomes the source of a relationship fight. Aziz Ansari has said that his character’s obsession with food is a reflection of his real life self, but his personal passion mirrors a greater cultural trend that is pertinent to Millennials. (By the way, I know the term “Millennials” is annoying to use, but so is “twenty-somethings”, “Generation Y-ers” and “us youngin’s.”)

Everyone likes food, but the way Millennials like food is something worth talking about. Gone are the days of McDonald’s and TV dinners. We like food that is healthier and greener and overall, trendier. Fast food chains are hurting and fast casual restaurants like Panera and Chipotle are replacing them as the go-to for a quick dinner. This growing business model encapsulates everything Millennials expect from our food now: quality, freshness, customization and even a little bit of an atmosphere. People want to know what is in their food and where their food is from. The discourse on food has gone from whether or not something tastes good, to the deeper topics of the moral implications of dietary habits. Were discussions of veganism and the importance of free-range meat being had between 20-year-olds 10 years ago? Or have they ever happened?

Preparing meals as a past time is even becoming popular. Cooking is a cool hobby now. According to market research company Mintel, 2 out of 3 Millennials classify themselves as “Casual Cooking Enthusiasts.” Whether they’re any good or not is subjective, but the fact that they’re viewing it as a hobby instead of something that’s necessary for their health is worth noting. Buzzfeed (the most trusted media source of our time) has a specialty food section that specializes in sharing recipes; its Twitter has 149,000 followers and over 11 million likes on Facebook. People tag their friends in the comments about desserts they want to make with the same kind of enthusiasm one saves for a night out.

Whether or not Masters of None will be renewed is yet to be seen, but if it is, I’m sure food will continue to be a major influence in the show. If not, the same sort of stressful decision-making choices such as where it is a pair of friends should be getting bubble tea are being had all across America. Foodie culture is no longer just a quirky penchant of a select few; it’s the norm now.