Healthy or Hazardous? : 3 Things We Once Thought Were Healthy

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Over the years, many there have been many products advocated that initially were deemed healthy, but then turned out to be just the opposite. We have been in this vicious cycle for years, as new things are discovered daily. Well, here are three items that historically were viewed as healthy at first, but now are seen as dangerous for our bodies.

  1. Cigarettes. Back in the day, these were quite the ticket item. They even had the endorsement of doctors, if you can believe that. Tobacco companies were behind physicians advocacy, like Lucky Strike who schemed with advertising executives. The companies knew that in those days (the 1920’s), people put full trust in their doctors. In the 1930’s health concerns about the product arose, the companies took greater action by actually having doctors featured in ads for cigarettes. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Surgeon General’s Warning first came on to cigarette packages linking them to cancer.
  1. Cocaine. Cocaine is one of the oldest stimulants on the market to date, which actually came from natural origins. The drug is derived from the coca leaf, which used to be chewed by Peruvian tribes during religious ceremonies. It was advocated by Hollywood celebrities in the early 1900’s who believed it to be a miracle drug. Sigmund Freud also endorsed cocaine largely, believing the drug could cure sexual impotence and depression. Turns out, it does just the opposite. The stimulant causes such a high that a person coming off of it can easily slip in to a depression, which naturally makes them crave the drug.
  1. Soda. Despite its negative connotations now, soda was also viewed to possess health benefits during its introduction. In the early 1800’s, pharmacists added herbs and medicines to the product and sold them as a health drink. Ginger ale was first sold in 1851 in Ireland. Then cola came around thirty years later, becoming a national symbol for America. These days, we know that soda is linked to diabetes and obesity, as well as certain types of cancer.

By Aisling Williams

Microwave Meltdown: Is Your Food Losing Nutrients?

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The microwave is no stranger to convenient cooking. There is no doubt that microwaves have changed the pace of preparing a meal for people across the globe, and with the continual advances in technology, our lives seem to rely on fast paced mechanics now more than ever.

The harsh truth is that heat damages a percentage of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes in certain foods. Recent studies by Dr. Ed Bauman, founder of Bauman College, have shown that microwaving food has a greater impact on the percentage of these damaged nutrients than boiling on a stovetop.

Bauman’s results show some astonishingly disturbing results:

-Broccoli that is heated in the microwave with water lost up to 97% of its antioxidants
-Garlic’s active nutrient that aids in fighting cancer and other diseases, allinase, is destroyed when heated in the microwave for 1 minute
-Most vegetables lose up to 90% of their nutrient value including vital vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes because they are destroyed in microwaving cooking, while steaming on a stove only destroys up to 11% of the nutrients
-Microwaving creates radiolytic compounds that are not researched enough to know what they do to our bodies, but they are definitely not health-promoting and are most likely detrimental to our overall health

The best solution to these problems is to eat organic, raw vegetables and to add flavor to them without the addition of microwave heat. For example, dip vegetables in peanut butter, reduced fat ranch dressing, or reduced fat cream cheese, in which Philadelphia cream cheese now has delicious flavors such as Chipotle, Protein Honey, Garlic and Herb, and Pumpkin Spice. Just remember, moderation is key to a balanced diet. If you do have a stove and the time to steam your vegetables, then it is best to choose that option when it is available to you. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over any type of vegetable with a pinch of salt and pepper to make for the perfect side dish or snack.

There is also a tremendous amount of recipes for vegetable side dishes on FoodNetwork.com that are simple. Just click on the “Quick and Easy” tab on the top of the Food Network’s homepage, and then the “Side Dishes” tab in the middle of that webpage. You will be introduced to many no-microwave, easy, side dish recipe options to add to a plethora of meals.

Different Oils for Different Cooking Methods

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Sometimes it can be very confusing to know which oil to cook with. Most people base it off of the flavor of the oil, but mainly stick to olive or canola oil. Well, there actually times when you should, and shouldn’t be cooking with certain oils.

Sauteing. When you are sauteing a food, go with olive oil. It is a pretty flexible oil that does well with medium heat on a stove top. Try to use a lighter olive oil(ie not extra virgin), that is lighter in color and works for any type of saute. If you are looking for a more pronounced olive oil flavoring, turn to the extra virgin section. With this type of method, you definitely shouldn’t be cooking with wheat germ or flaxseed oil that burns down too easily.

Baking. Be sure to use coconut, canola, or safflower oil for the best results, as they all do well in medium temperatures used for baking. Be mindful however of coconut’s nutty flavoring. Keep flaxseed and wheat germ oils away. Though healthy they are fragile and will break down in heat.

Frying. Frying can be tricky. You need an oil with a high smoke point that makes food crisp, not soggy, which means the food has taken in too much fat. Try peanut, safflower, or soybean oil, and avoid olive oil, which due to its low smoke point leads to soggy food.

Grilling. Try canola or safflower oil for your best results. Both of these oils can withstand temperatures close to 500 degrees, making them unlikely to oxidize in the presence of flames. Avoid olive oil, even though lots of recipes call for it. It just can’t take the heat.

Roasting. This depends a lot on cooking temperature. If you are roasting at high-heat, over 325 degrees, try canola which is heat stable. If you are cooking at low-heat for a long period of time, olive oil is a good choice. Either way avoid flax seed or wheat germ oil.

By Aisling Williams

The Pasta Swap — Spaghetti Squash

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As the leaves continue to fall and the chill in the air is felt more and more, it’s clear that squash season is underway. With Thanksgiving in a few weeks and Christmas soon after, squash is so versatile and can be cooked in countless ways—from yummy soups and salads to even noodles!

The noodle replacement that I’m referring to, in specific, is part of the squash variety– spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is that big, oval-ish shaped squash you’ve likely seen mixed in with the many other squashes, at Wegmans. But I think spaghetti squash is so different than many other types because it has a unique inside texture, very similar to thin spaghetti noodles. YUM — who doesn’t love some great tasting spaghetti?

But seriously, if you are trying to cut calories and carbohydrates, give spaghetti squash a try. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and it fills you up! In only one cup of squash, you’ll find 31 calories, 7 carbs, .6g of fat and then some B-6, B-12, calcium, iron, magnesium and the essential vitamins A, C and D.

Along with the health benefits, it’s so easy to cook it too. Set the oven to 450 degrees and put the squash (cut vertically in half) face down on a cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil, and bake it for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when the skin becomes soft and a bit brown…oh and the house will smell luscious.

When it comes out of the oven, I like to put spaghetti sauce on it with some parmesan cheese and sometimes some chicken (for protein) or some Quorn meatballs (meatless meatballs).

To find other fun ways to cook spaghetti squash, check out this website: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipe-collections/spaghetti-squash/index.html

By Sarah Richheimer

Photo courtesy newhealthguide.org

How to Feel Fuller Longer

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We all have at least one day a week where it feels as though there is no break in our day for hours. When you finally sit down and have a meal, you probably go for some not-so-mindful foods like that extra slice of pizza or a few too many chocolate chip cookies. The high volumes of simple sugars found in these foods will make you become hungrier faster for your next meal and over time could contribute to weight gain.
Because of their high-fiber content, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts should become your favorite new snacks for before that long stretch of classes. Fiber tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you will stay full for a longer amount of time. Fiber is not digested by the body, but passes relatively whole through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of the body. High-fiber foods must be consumed with a substantial amount of water to allow for the fiber to pass smoothly along the digestive tract and be secreted out of the body. Women are recommended about 25g per day and men are recommended 35g per day of fiber. Overall, fiber helps you feel fuller longer, allowing you to help maintain a healthy weight, without the risk of an unhealthy splurge on your longest school days.
There is a plethora of foods that are rich in fiber, so your meal or snack will never feel dull or repetitive. You do not have to sacrifice taste or texture to maintain satiety. The next time you know you have hours of classes ahead and no time in between to eat, try to incorporate these high-fiber foods into your meal or snack beforehand.
Fruits:
Per cup
-Raspberries: 8g
-Blackberries: 7.6g
-Strawberries: 3.3g
Per 1 fruit
-Apple: 4.4g
-Pear: 5.1g
-Mango: 3.3g
Vegetables:
Per cup
-Artichokes: 10.3g
-Squash, cooked: 5.7g
-Broccoli, cooked: 5.5g
-Brussel Sprouts, cooked: 6.4g
-Spinach: 5.1g
-Carrots, cooked: 4.8g
-Sweet Corn, cooked: 4.2g
-Peas, cooked: 8.8g
Whole Grains:
Per cup
-Shredded wheat cereal: 5.7g
-Quinoa, cooked: 5g
-Oatmeal, cooked: 5g
Per 1/2 cup
-Whole Wheat Spaghetti: 6.3g
-Low-fat Granola-5g
Per 2 slices
-Whole Wheat Bread: 5.2g
-Rye Bread: 5.6g
Legumes:
Per 1/2 cup
-Pinto Beans, cooked: 7.7g
-Kidney Beans: 6.5g
-Baked Beans, canned: 5.2g
-Lentils, cooked: 7.8g
-Black Beans, cooked: 7.5g
-Lima Beans, cooked: 6.6g
-Split Peas, cooked: 8.2g
Nuts:
-Almonds: 3.5g (24 nuts)
-Pistachios: 3g (7 nuts)
-Peanuts: 4.6g (56 nuts)
-Walnuts: 4g (30 halves)
-Pecans: 5.4g (40 halves)
By Marisa Malanga

Why Losing Weight Could Mean Losing Love

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Losing weight can be a wonderful thing, instilling self-confidence and a better self-image. Yet studies have shown it can be harming if you are in a relationship. Though seemingly contradictory, read below to learn why it might just not be.

The study was conducted using 21 couples who dated over 2 years. In that time, one of the partners had lost weight, either by diet, exercise, or medically. Most had lost about 60 pounds or more in the period measured.

Though the partner who lost weight was found to be much more communicative, especially in thinking in a health-conscious way and promoting healthy eating amongst themselves and others, the non-weight loss partner was not.

The partner who had lost weight also was more confident in themselves, yet their relationship was losing hope.

Many of the non-weight loss partners were irritated by their partner encouraging them to eat and live healthier themselves, leading to resentment. This caused less sex in the relationship and poor communication. Some partners were also found to be not supportive of the weight loss, feeling threatened and insecure about themselves. These partners were more likely to make critical comments, or tried to manipulate their partners weight loss by sabotaging their diets with unhealthy food to prevent their partner and the relationship from changing.

Overall, the study proved that in order to find success in a relationship where a partner is undergoing a lot of weight loss, there are few things to be noted. It changes the dynamic of the relationship, sometimes for good, other times for bad. In order for the relationship to stay strong, the partner who doesn’t lose the weight needs to be supportive of the one who does, without feeling threatened or insecure about themselves. Lastly, the study found that some who had lost weight during the relationship lost the weight due to an initial weight gain when first-entering the relationship, by approximately 14 pounds on average.

By Aisling Williams

Why Music Blurs the Strength of Alcohol

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Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 2.48.21 PMA recent study shows that women are more likely to drink alcohol faster when listening to music. Can you believe that?

Apparently, music distracts women from the strength of alcohol, causing them not only to drink faster, but also higher amounts. Uh oh.

Three studies were conducted, one involving taste, one involving volume, and one involving speed. The study took a group of men and women ranging from age 18 to age 28, and had them consume alcohol every day for a series of weeks. Each participant would take a sip of each different type of alcohol and then take a test measuring their attitudes and then reporting the taste of the alcohol.

For the volume study, the participants were tested on how much they drank, while listening to stimulating music, one on low volume and one on high volume. Those listening at a high volume reported the drinks in the taste test being much less strong.

For the speed study, the participants listened to slow speed music, moderate speed music, and fast speed music while drinking, and those who tasted alcohol during fast speed music drank quicker than those without.

So, these studies show us to be wary of where and what we are listening to when we drink!

By Aisling Williams

Food Instagrams May Not Be Such A Good Idea

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instagramIconDo you constantly feel like you must take a picture of your food and upload it to Instagram right before you eat it? Well, studies have shown that maybe you shouldn’t, even if that pizza looks great in X-Pro.

A recent study proves that looking at pictures of food before you eat can actually make the food less appetizing. The study divided people in to two groups — a group who looked at salty foods, and a group who looked at sweet foods. The groups were asked to rate how appetizing the food looked, and then were given salty peanuts after. Those who looked at pictures of sweet foods found the peanuts to be much more enjoyable than those who looked at salty foods. Interesting, right?

Researchers believe it is because you think about the taste when you look at the photo, causing you to be tired of the food before you even eat it.

So, if you’re trying to keep away from chocolate or those potato chips, this could be a good trick. But, the researchers warn that one photo won’t be enough. You should look at multiple pictures in order to lose your appetite.

From now on, maybe Instagram your food a bit less, and those beautiful fall leaves a bit more.

By Aisling Williams

The Top Eight Foods That Can Make You Feel Not So Great

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Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 12.43.25 PMWe don’t often like to think about it, but there are foods out there that sometimes can make us sick. Food poisoning is no one’s friend, and certainly isn’t fun, so here are the top 8 foods to be cautious of due to their history with the bug.

Leafy greens. Yep, that means any sort of salad. Arugula, romaine, iceberg, they’re all guilty. To avoid sickness, wash your lettuce and prevent cross-contamination by washing your hands and using different cutting boards!

Eggs. Bacteria sits inside the egg, so make sure the egg is properly cooked to kill germs. Be sure to steer clear of products containing raw eggs(yes, even cookie dough…sigh)

Tuna. Tuna often is contaminated by scombrotoxin, a toxin that causes headaches and cramps. If the food is stored above 60 degrees after being caught, the toxin can be released. Once it is, even cooking cannot destroy it.

Oysters. Oysters, though a delicacy to us, are filter feeders to the sea. If the water they filter is contaminated, then they are contaminated. If the oysters are served raw or undercooked, the shellfish could contain germs like norovirus that can cause nausea and vomiting.

Potatoes. If a potato is well-cleaned and cooked, there is no illness to be had. But be wary of potato salad, who has often fallen victim to cross-contamination with germs like salmonella and E. coli.

Cheese. Cheese, especially soft cheeses, have been found to be contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria.

Ice Cream. Yeah, this guy too. It has also been linked to the bacteria Salmonella and Staphylococcus, especially when making homemade ice cream which uses raw eggs.

Tomatoes. Like lettuce, they can be contaminated during cultivation. Be sure to wash the produce with warm water and soap, and of course use different cutting boards if cutting raw meats!

 

By Aisling Williams

Shopping Nightmare: When Grocery Shopping Is a Bad Idea

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Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 5.29.07 PMYou go grocery shopping whenever it’s convenient, right? Even if it’s a 1 a.m. trip to Wegmans because that’s the only time suitable? Wrong. A new study has shown that depending on what time we go to the supermarket may determine exactly how it will go.

 

In short, the study showed that when we go to the grocery store at times we are deprived of sleep, we are more likely to skip the produce section and jump right in to that high-calorie stuff, like those mozzarella sticks in the frozen aisle. Uh oh.

The study, conducted in Sweden, used 14 participants of a normal weight and put the theory to the test. They were given $50 and were told to spend away in a grocery store simulated by the researchers. The group was tested when they were sleep-deprived, and then when they had received a full eight hours. The results? The group not only bought 9 percent more unhealthy food when tired, but purchased 18 percent more food in total! Whoa!

So what’s behind this? As you might have guessed, a lack of sleep means a lack of control. So you are more likely to give in to the craving for mozzarella sticks than reaching for celery sticks.

Worse yet, once you’ve purchased the not-so-great food, you have to eat it right? This means your diet will be thrown off for a week or even more! Yikes.

So in the future, make sure you go to grocery shopping when you are well-rested and have a full stomach to help stay on track!

By Aisling Williams

Captain Crash Diet

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grapefruitAny fellow pinner can understand the powerful influence Pinterest can have over a person’s — okay, let’s be honest — a girl’s decisions-making process. SU’s campus proves to be no exception: not long after pins about the new “3-Day Military Diet” fad started to appear did grapefruits start to disappear from the produce section at Tops.

Promising a weight loss of 5-10 pounds over three days, buzz over this military diet has quickly spread throughout SU. It calls for three meals a day, barring all snacks and drinks, except for water.

Websites explaining the diet claim it is a plan used by the military and attribute its pound-shedding powers to the chemical composition of the foods being consumed. Sounds more like a glorified crash diet than anything, but the results of three SU students gauge its effectiveness more credibly than anything else:

  • Our first SU student successfully completed the diet and, at a starting weight of 133, lost six pounds. She is currently doing the diet again.
  • The next student lost 8 pounds by the end of day 2 and decided to call it off for fear she would lose an unhealthy amount of weight had she completed it.
  • Our final student made it all the way until the last meal before giving in. This student felt “cleansed” but did not see any change on the scale.

Because the caloric intake of each day is still around 1,000 calories, calling it a full-bred crash diet might be extreme, but there are more sustainable diets to be tried. If you are tempted to try this diet, it won’t kill you. However, the weight that you will lose, if any, will probably creep back onto the scale after day three is over… and is cottage cheese really worth that?

By Brigid Demko

Photo courtesy of karinasdailythoughts.blogspot.com

Cold Weather Food Remedies

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Here are some food solutions to make you look and feel great during the long and harsh winter months.

SKIN

Load up on Swiss chard, egg yolks, and whole-grains for smooth skin.

Swiss chard and egg yolks contain biotin which promotes the production of fatty acids (a contributor of smooth skin).

Lipids from whole-grain bread and rice help reduce dryness and redness.

KEEP HEALTHY

Keep your immune system on the right track with:

Vitamin C from papayas, red bell peppers, oranges, brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe.

Beta carotene from leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash.

Probiotic-rich yogurt with has good bacteria that strengthens the immune system. It is also associated with a 42 percent lower risk of getting colds.

FEEL GOOD

Check out these unique recipes for feel-good foods to experiment with!

Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate

Gluten-free/Vegan Carrot Cake & Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Hot Spinach Dip

By Isabel Sherman

Photo Source: foxnews.com

Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Here are some tips to relieve some of the guilt associated with your Thanksgiving meal. No need to sacrifice taste or happiness this holiday season.

1.    Walk it Out

Get moving and burn some calories! Go on a walk around your neighborhood while the turkey is cooking on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a great way to get your body moving and have something to do with your extended family that drove a distance to spend Thanksgiving with you.

If you are feeling more ambitious, sign up for a race for the morning of Thanksgiving! Use this site to find races in your area.

http://www.coolrunning.com/eventcal/search/

2.    Drink water

Choose water instead of sugary drinks and alcohol at  dinner. This could help save 200+ calories and will keep your blood sugar at bay. Drinking lots of water throughout the day might also keep you full and might keep you from binging at dinner time.

3. Don’t have the “last meal” mentality.

The leftovers will grace your refrigerator for at least a couple of days following the Thanksgiving feast. That’s at least four or five extra meals of turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pie. That means you don’t have to delve into seconds and thirds on the actual night of Thanksgiving night. All the food will still be there tomorrow.

4. Don’t sample

The calories from sampling the food you are cooking DO count, as much as we sometimes would like to think they don’t. Make sure you have breakfast before you start cooking so you are not starving and eating bits of all the food you are making.

5. Portion Control

Make sure your plate isn’t all stuffing and meat! Try and see if you can make at least 1/3 of your plate vegetables, and if you go back for seconds, load up on the veggies first.

Extra tricks that don’t sacrifice the taste:

Instead of marshmallow and maple syrup sweet potatoes, try adding fat free sour cream, skim milk and nutmeg.

Try making stuffing with whole-wheat bread instead of white bread.

Cook your veggies in a little bit of olive oil instead of butter.

Add less or substitute sugar with Splenda for cranberry sauce and desserts.

By Isabel Sherman

Photo Source: media.seagate.com

Make Game Day Healthier

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Sunday during the fall and winter means two things: football and food. Not just any food, but the greasiest, most delicious and bad-for-you food you could ask for. My weapon of choice is chicken wings, but hey, I’ve never been one to turn down Domino’s pizza, some chips and salsa, or really anything else.

But all that game day grub can really add up. Instead of ordering a pound of Wings over Syracuse, try making some simple changes to your Sunday diet and whip up a healthier victory feast. Unless you’re a Jets fan like me, in which case you can remind yourself that at least you’re eating healthy food while you’re crying over your OT loss to the Pats (just kidding, I didn’t cry…that much).

Instead of Buffalo Wings, Try Buffalo Bites

Ingredients:

Chicken, shredded
Cream Cheese, softened
Hot Sauce
Flour
Eggs
Corn Flakes, crushed

Confession time…I found this recipe on Pinterest. Mix the shredded chicken with a little bit of softened cream cheese and hot sauce. Then, scoop out the mixture into about an inch-round ball. Dip the chicken into the flour, then egg, then crushed corn flakes. Finally, bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The key here is that the buffalo chicken is baked, not fried.

Instead of Salsa, Try “Salsamole”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Salsa
4 Avocados
2 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped

Mix together the four ingredients…it’s as simple as that. Even better – try it with an unsalted or multigrain chip.

Instead of Taco Bell, Try a Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Tortillas
Ground Turkey
Spinach Leaves
Cherry Tomatos, diced
Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican-Blend Cheese
Sour Cream
Taco Seasoning

Fast food is a game day go-to. But before you think you’re “good to go,” consider a homemade twist on the classic Taco Bell meal. First, cook the ground turkey on the stove and throw in a little taco seasoning. While that is cooking, warm up your whole wheat tortilla in the microwave. When the turkey is done, put it in the center of the whole wheat tortilla. Add the cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and a dollop of sour cream. Now, fold up one end of the tortilla towards the center and continue in a clockwise motion until all of the fillings are covered. Place the nearly completed Crunchwrap onto the stovetop pan, folded-side down. Cook until slightly browned and then flip. Wait as long as you’d like, and you’ve got yourself a homemade Crunchwrap!

By Marisa DeCandido

Photo Source: dailyspark.com

All About Chicken Breasts

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White-meat chicken breasts are a perfect low-calorie dinner option that tastes good and is good for you. As much as we praise the presence of baked chicken with no sauce, dressing, or anything else, eating it over and over again can get boring. Who wants to eat boring food? No one. Why not add a little spice to your meal by dressing up your basic chicken breast? Here are some super easy tips on making a repetitive meal into something extraordinary!

A Spicy Southern Twist

Before baking in the oven, add a Cajun rub to the top of chicken breasts. It adds flavor and a little bit of heat, which allows you to change up the boring everyday and still create a meal that won’t wreck your diet.

Add (some) Cheese

Take a trip to Italy and add some sauce and cheese to a plain baked chicken breast. Pour your favorite marinara sauce over a baked chicken breast and add some low-fat, part-skim mozzarella. All you need is to melt the cheese, pour a glass of red wine, and pretend that you are sitting in a café in Rome.

Asian-Inspired

Stir-fry is a perfect way to take ordinary ingredients and create a memorable meal, especially one that can be shared with friends. Sauté chicken and vegetables and add your favorite teriyaki sauce. Homemade take-out is easy, cheap, healthy, and delicious.

By Catherine Zymaris

Photo Source: gourmetsleuth.com

Secrets to a Balanced Dining Hall Meal

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Photo: Meg Lane

This past summer, the USDA unveiled a new version of simplified nutritional guidelines to replace the complex food pyramid system. The initiative is called “My Plate,” and it includes a simple image with a sample plate divided into the proper portions of the five food groups, along with tips for healthy eating and the recommended amounts of each type of food per day as part of a 2,000 calorie daily food plan. It’s no secret that the dining hall is full of temptations – fried foods, pizza, and an endless selection of desserts often get the best of us, even when we’re trying to stay healthy and avoid the dreaded “freshman 15.” Counting calories can be tedious, time-consuming, and full of inaccuracies; instead of fretting about the numbers, just stick to the simple layout of “my plate” – every meal will curb your hunger while keeping you feeling happy and healthy!

Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes people forget to hit the salad bar! It doesn’t mean you have to face the dreaded platefuls of spinach and asparagus you avoided as a child; grab some raw cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots with lunch and top them with feta cheese for added flavor! At dinner, shoot for healthy starches like sweet potatoes and try a variety of cooked veggies like corn, carrots, and broccoli. These foods will fill you up, keep you hydrated, and they can be pretty tasty, too. Red grapes and pineapple are dining hall staples – they make for great snacks, but don’t forget to incorporate fruit into breakfast (cut up a banana on cereal or oatmeal, or section a grapefruit for breakfast) and even dessert (top a yogurt cup with some berries for a healthy, sweet treat)! Fruit juices are good options too, but be careful – they tend to be super-sweet and can lead you to a sugar high and subsequent crash later in the day.

The other half of your plate should consist of grains and protein. Shoot for whole grains – wheat bread, brown rice, and healthy cereals like cheerios are best. Protein can come from a variety of sources – if you’re a meat eater, shoot for lean meats and poultry like grilled chicken breast for dinner or a turkey sandwich for lunch. If not, try to incorporate nuts, beans, and eggs into your diet (a tablespoon of peanut butter on crackers or apple slices does wonders). A few walnuts and a hardboiled egg at lunch are the perfect protein-packed combo. Don’t forget about seafood, too – grilled salmon filets at dinner or tuna sandwiches at lunch are always an option.

A full serving of dairy at every meal is imperative to get the vitamins and calcium needed for strong bones and teeth! Skim milk is best, but if you’re not a milk drinker, yogurt and cheese are great alternatives. While ice cream isn’t exactly a healthful option, a small serving of frozen yogurt does have its benefits – as long as it’s kept in moderation.

While it’s possible, it’s not always practical to follow this plan 24/7. College is known for its deliciously greasy grub, and you only live once. So if you’re going to splurge for that slice at Varsity on a Friday night, go for it; just try to complement it with a balanced breakfast on Saturday morning. I always try to live by the 80/20 rule: stick to your healthy eating plan at least 80% of the time, and let yourself go for up to 20% of the time. Another way to think of it is to eat well during the week, and give yourself a little room to indulge on weekends. You’re young, and part of being healthy is achieving balance in life, so if going out with your girlfriends means having the occasional greasy meal, go for it! The fruits and veggies will still be there in the morning.

What You Never Knew About Rinds and Peels

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Photo: Greenopolis.com/

Those orange peels you just threw in the trash are full of nutrients and belong on your plate. Stems from some of your favorite vegetables provide a powerful mix of antioxidants. Read on to see why you should start eating these delicious trimmings!

Orange peels have four times the amount of fiber than the actual orange itself. Tangeretin and nobiletin are flavonoids that can reduce the risk of diabetes and have anti-inflammatory properties. Instead of tossing the peel, grate the zest over vegetables such as green beans or asparagus. For a different dessert, place the peels in simple syrup, boil and glaze in melted dark chocolate.

Don’t know what to do with extra Swiss chard stems? The stems are proven to boost immunity and help the body recover from injuries. Tie the stems together and cook them in vegetable stock for 20 minutes. Add red wine, honey, garlic or vinegar for a flavorful twist.

Don’t forget about celery tops! The leaves have five times more calcium than stalks and are a good source of vitamin C. If you’re looking for anti-inflammatory compounds, celery tops are your best choice. Use to season fish or chicken, or stir into salsa.

Watermelon rinds are rich in citrulline, an amino acid that helps to improve circulation. The next time you’re making drinks for a get-together, place rinds in a blender with lime, watermelon flesh, sugar and vodka.

If you’re chopping onions for a salad, keep the skins! Onion skins have more antioxidants than onions and are a great addition to soups and stews for robust flavor.

The New Mac n’ Cheese

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Photo: SmittenKitchen.com

After a long day of classes on a dreary February day in Syracuse, nothing makes my day quite like a steaming plate of macaroni and cheese. This college staple remains popular thanks to Kraft’s Easy Mac.

However, processed versions don’t cut it. Nothing beats making it from scratch and using wholesome ingredients to make a dish truly worth savoring. I found two recipes that offer different takes on this cold weather classic. Once you try them, you’ll never go back to the blue box again!

Guy Fieri’s recipe includes bacon, garlic, shallots and thyme. He uses jack and cheddar cheese instead of your typical Swiss or American. After all of the ingredients are mixed, sprinkle Panko bread crumbs on top and bake for about 20 minutes. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/mac-daddy-mac-n-cheese-recipe/index.html

David Reardon’s healthier version uses Greek yogurt, whole-wheat penne and butternut squash. Organic milk, butter and part-skim cheeses are used to reduce fat content. Squash and yogurt are pureed to create a sauce and pasta is later incorporated. Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over the mixture and is baked for 20 minutes. http://www.oprah.com/food/Healthy-Mac-and-Cheese-Recipe

After sampling these two recipes, Guy Fieri’s recipe definitely stood out. Bacon and garlic added an interesting dynamic to plain, traditional macaroni and cheese. Greek yogurt is an acquired taste and isn’t for everyone. Butternut squash is a little bland and needs other ingredients to enhance its flavor. Both recipes were delicious takes on a classic recipe. If you’re feeling like the next Food Network Star, take a study break and shock your taste buds!

Make the Valentine’s Day Chocolate Last, Take a Study Break!

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Whether you love Valentine’s Day or hate it, there’s often left over chocolate sitting on your desk. That mountain of chocolate can easily become you’re go-to study snack- after all, once it’s gone you can’t eat it anymore!

But it doesn’t have to be that way. A recent study published in the journal Appetite, found that a 15-minute walk can reduce chocolate consumption in a working environment. A total of 78 participants, 33 males and 45 females averaging 25 years of age, took part in the study at the University of Exeter. In order to participate in the study, men and women had to regularly eat at least 100 grams of chocolate every day- that’s about two chocolate bars per day.

Those participating were assigned to one of four groups. The first group would exercise and then complete a low demanding task. The second group would exercise but complete a high demanding task. The third and fourth groups would rest before completing either a low or high demanding task.

The purpose of the study was to examine if a short amount of moderate exercise could reduce chocolate consumptions in a work environment. They also tested the effect of low and high demanding tasks on the results of exercise.

The exercise groups underwent a two-minute warm-up followed by a 15-minute brisk walk on a flat treadmill. The resting groups sat quietly at a desk for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes of exercise or rest the participants engaged in a Stroop Color- Word Inference task. The participants saw color names that were printed in different colored letters. They were asked to press a designated key associated with the color word not the color of the letters. For example:

Red = Red

Blue = Blue

Green = Green

The difficulty of the task was determined by the interval of seconds given for the participant’s response. A bowl of chocolates was placed near the participants and was available for them to consume at any time during the task.  Researchers then assessed and compared the consumption of chocolate for each of the four groups.

The results showed that participants in the exercise groups ate an average of 15.6 grams of chocolate compared to those in the resting groups who ate an average of 23.5 grams. The level of task difficulty did not affect the results.

This means that by taking a 15- minute walk you can cut your chocolate snacking in half! So before reaching for the bowl of Valentine’s Day candy, take a study break and run a quick errand. You can keep off the pounds and have a longer lasting supply of small treats to reward yourself for resisting a night of snacking.

Source: Hwajung Oh, Adrian H. Taylor, Brisk walking reduces ad libitum snacking in regular chocolate eaters during a workplace simulation, Appetite, Volume 58, Issue 1, February 2012, Pages 387-392, (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666311006350)