Eat Smart · Feel Great

Almond Butter is Your New Best Friend

A classic food that many of us grew up eating on celery or in sandwiches, peanut butter is a beloved snack that continues to be a crowd pleaser. Whether you spread it on crackers, dip apple slices in it, or simply eat it right out of the jar with a spoon (we’ve all done this), this traditional treat is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, and constantly has us coming back for more.

However, although a personal firm believer that you can never have too much of a good thing, peanut butter is still very high in fat, sugar, and calories—not to mention its highly processed—meaning this sweet and salty snack may make your heart happy, but it certainly won’t have your hips, or your waistline, feeling that way. A healthy alternative? Try almond butter!

Though a health trend slowly on the rise, almond butter has become increasingly popular over the past couple of months, and it’s no surprise why, seeing as it contains more protein and less sugar than regular peanut butter. Another bonus? It’s usually less processed, so you aren’t putting any unnecessary unnatural preservatives or additives into your body. Though it’s definitely not the same as our beloved PB (we will always love Skippy), almond butter is still delicious with so many snacks and treats. Here are a few of our favorites to try out if you’re looking to change up your diet!

Rice Cakes with Almond Butter + Honey
This one is pretty self explanatory, but rice cakes with almond butter are a great snack when you need a powerful “punch” of protein. The rice cakes are usually low-cal, so even though the almond butter still has a good amount of calories, you won’t be eating a snack that’s too heavy.  For an added touch, drizzle a bit of honey (or even Nutella J) on top, and enjoy!

The “Banana Boat”
This fun snack that I’ve dubbed the “banana boat” takes a unique twist on the classic combination of bananas and peanut butter. With only three ingredients including a banana, 2 tbsp. of almond butter, and a small handful of granola, this snack is the perfect blend of textures. Simply split the banana in two, spread the almond butter on both halves, and dip both halves in granola and voila, a yummy snack that is crunchy, nutty, smooth, and creamy.

Apple “Cookies”
A healthy take on the classic cookie, these apple “cookies” are a sweet and savory treat that is guilt free but tastes delicious. Simply core and slice an apple horizontally, to make apple “chips”, then spread almond butter across it, and sprinkle some walnuts and chocolate chips on top! This snack is great for when you need a little chocolate “kick” but still want to stay on top of your healthy eating. And even though we all love a good gooey chocolate chip cookie, this “cookie” will leave you satisfied without the bloat or the guilt.

Almond Butter Granola Bars
These homemade almond granola bars are great when you want a chewy, sweet snack, and since they are homemade, they have less preservatives, unnatural additives, and less sugar. Even better? These bars, made with only almond butter, honey, dark chocolate chips, old-fashioned oatmeal and granola, are no bake and can be made in just five minutes. That simply is too sweet!

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Are Food Subscriptions the Solution College Students have been waiting for?

I speak for many college students when I say that eating healthy in college is hard. There are constant fatty temptations between the french fries in the dining hall, the stock of ramen noodles you keep under your bed, or the late night sliders in Kimmel.

Unfortunately, I’m a college senior so it’s pretty much too late to change my ways. However, for those of you that have extra time at Syracuse, there is a solution to this problem. Food box subscriptions have recently become more popular because they not only provide the healthy food that people are looking for, but they also provide convenience.

Interested? Here are some of the top ranked food box subscriptions:

  1. Healthy Surprise

This subscription box provides snacks that are all natural, gluten free, GMO free, soy free, corn free, and wheat free. There are various sizes of boxes that differ in price, but reviews have said that all of the boxes are great value. Customers who tend to like this box the most are those who avoid certain foods due to allergies or intolerances.

  1. Nature Box

The Nature Box provides convenient snack bags that lack artificial ingredients, trans fats, or high-fructose corn syrup. When choosing the box, the customer is able to customize it based off of dietary needs and desires. Reviews of this box have said that one of the best parts of this product is that it comes in convenient, re-sealable snack bags.

  1. Bestowed

The Bestowed subscription box not only provides healthy snacks and beverages, but also throws in lifestyle items such as lotions and lip balms. This product is interesting because customers get a wide range of items within the box, instead of only healthy snacks. Many people who have reviewed this box like the combination of the two types of products, and highly recommend!

  1. Blue Apron

Looking for fresh ingredients and recipes that can create whole meals? Perhaps ideal if you live on south or off campus, this service is more than just a snack box. Blue Apron provides weekly specialty ingredients and creative ways to cook them. Reviews of this subscription have claimed that Blue Apron was reliably delivered, affordable, and included recipes that were easy to follow.

  1. Plated

This subscription is another type of food delivery box that provides an entire meal with recipes. Reviewers of this box feel that Plated’s food quality is very high, but the recipes might be for someone who is more comfortable in the kitchen. So, if you’re looking for a challenge, this might be the box for you! Plated also allows you to choose the amount of meals you want for the week, providing flexibility for customers.

  1. HelloFresh

Like boxes four and five, HelloFresh has a similar meal concept. What seems to set HelloFresh apart is that it is more family-oriented and provides discounts for four or more people. Customers who have this subscription box feel that it works well for people who are vegetarian and provides pretty good healthy ingredients.

While I have not personally tried any of these products, I look forward to trying one next year when I have my first real apartment. With these subscription boxes, there seems to be a product for just about everyone’s desires. If you’re interested in trying these out, I’d suggest reading these websites specifically to see what stands out to you and your food wishes. Also, if you’re concerned about the price, there are tons of discount codes that can cut your subscription boxes down so you can eat great and still live on a college budget! (Ahem, YouTube is littered with discount codes in particular for Nature Box and Blue Apron!) Happy, healthy eating!

 

By Courtney Rosser

Image courtesy of Harvard Business School

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Starbucks: How to be Healthy Cheat Sheet

Speaking from the perspective of a bona fide caffeine addict, coffee is something us college students thrive on (unless you manage to get through the day without it and if that’s the case, God bless you).  Whatever the brand, whatever the beverage, we all have our trademark drink that helps us get through those 8 A.M. classes or through the 3 P.M. slump. On this campus, Starbucks is a beloved place for sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed college kids, with the line almost out the door whenever you visit. While the coffee may be strong, it’s important that you know which drinks will boost your brain and which will have you packing on the pounds and hitting a wall. Here are some of the things to look out for when sipping on your next Starbucks.

Say No to…Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Crème
Green Tea is known to boost your metabolism and be good for your overall health, but this drink is anything but healthy. This creamy and thick frap is heavy on the calories and lacking on the nutrients, with a size tall containing a whopping 290 calories. If anything, simply go for green tea, but if that doesn’t peak your interest, try something healthier.

Say Yes to…Shaken Iced Tazo Passion Fruit Tea
A fruity sweet treat that is perfect for the impending spring weather (hopefully!), the passion fruit tea drink is a great alternative in place of the green tea frap. It’s light enough, with a size tall only containing 60 calories, that it won’t weigh you down, but is great as a pick-me-up during a dull day when your energy levels are low.

Say No to…Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with Whipped Cream
As delicious and sinfully good as this sounds, the only thing this drink will have you feeling is a sugar crash. Packed with sugary syrups and whipped cream, this drink is a definite no-no, especially with a calorie count that tops off at 290 for only a size tall! Skip the quick sweet fix and opt for something low-cal.

Say Yes to…Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte
A personal favorite, the iced skinny vanilla latte is one of the lowest calorie drinks Starbucks serves, and only contains 110 calories even at the biggest size! With more of an emphasis on coffee, you are sure to get the caffeinated pick me up you are searching for without the fast crash from sugary syrups and sauces.

Say No to…Chai Tea Latte
Another seemingly healthy choice, this drink is a calorie bandit in disguise. Though the drink itself isn’t so sweet, it still contains more sugar than two entire Snickers bar, and evens out at a whopping 340 calories. Save the extra trouble of trying to squeeze in extra gym time just to burn this off, and opt for a lower calorie option that will give you the energy surge you need.

Say Yes to…Teavana® Shaken Iced Passion Tango™ Tea
If you are still looking for a tea-based treat, opt for this iced passion tango tea, with 0 calories (two of our favorite words!) and 0 grams of fat. This drink is caffeine free (so beware if you need the energy), but it is a yummy and sweet treat that will help perk you up and finish your day strong.

Say No to…Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
This deliciously creamy, chocolaty, and minty concoction sounds great to our ears, but is bad for both our brains and our stomachs. While we all deserve a nice treat, this drink is chock full of sugar syrups, milk, heavy cream, and of course, chocolate. It is certainly more of a dessert than an early morning grab and go. A grande alone has 410 calories and 20 grams of fat! Even worse, this sky-high “sundae” will pick you up in five minutes only to have you crash mid-morning in your anthropology lecture.

Say Yes to… Skinny Peppermint Mocha
While it may not have the same white chocolate appeal as the peppermint white chocolate mocha, this drink is a yummy treat that is still awesome to drink, but lower in calories (and side effects!). Made with sugar-free sauce and syrups, and light amounts of espresso, you’ll soon enough be sipping this and feeling the great affects of our favorite morning friend: caffeine.

Whether you are into the over-the-top sweet and savory concoctions Starbucks is known for, or are a laid-back and simple coffee and cream kind of person, it’s important to know what’s going into your body, especially at a time when school, sports, or even your social life is picking up. Whatever the case, always try to go low-cal, low-sugar, and pick something high in energy. If you can, always go for a simple coffee, but if you can’t resist a little bit of your sweet tooth, try to opt for some of the healthier drinks we offered up!

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Image from dailygenius

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Make Mondays Great Again

The Healthy Monday campaign at Syracuse University originated on campus in 2006 with the goal of creating and sustaining healthy behaviors for students, faculty, and the Syracuse community through free fitness and nutrition programs, as well as general wellbeing programs.

Despite Healthy Monday being a nationwide campaign with a strong goal and clear message to the college audience, Healthy Monday is not as widely acknowledged on the Syracuse University campus as it should be.

Newhouse alum Sid Lerner founded The Monday Campaigns in 2003 in association with Johns Hopkins University. The campaigns started off with Meatless Monday and have since grown to include more than a half-dozen efforts including Healthy Monday and Move-it Monday. Meatless Monday urges students to give up meat for one day a week
to “increase your intake of plant-based foods like fruits & vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts & seeds,” according to its website. Move-it Monday is a program that offers free fitness classes to students and faculty on the SU campus. The classes are 45 minutes fueled with fun and intensity to get your heart rate pumping and those calories busted—free of cost!

With an array of activities at college, students can participate in essentially whatever they want—which may not always be the healthiest activities. Gym plans seem to fall through when a student realizes he or she is too hungover to hit the elliptical; students get two hours of sleep when cramming for an exam; friends order pizza or Insomnia Cookies after a late night out, and so on. It is fairly easy to become unhealthy in college, which is why participating in Healthy Monday and spreading its message should be a necessity.

Syracuse University has integrated Healthy Monday programs in more ways than one. The Healthy Monday campaign offers programs such as Move-it Monday, the Monday Mile, Quit & Stay Quit Monday, Mindful Monday, and I Love NY Water and even has a “Healthy Monday” in Florence, Italy.

Although Healthy Monday offers a variety of programs that handle different aspects of health, no one program is more important than the other. Leah Moser, Syracuse University’s Healthy Monday program coordinator, says it is equally important how people treat their bodies and their minds and not one program is more beneficial than another. “The most important part of our campaign is the partnership across campus and promoting balance,” she says. We work with food services, health promotions, and Hendricks Chapel to build partnerships.”

There is a new chef at the Syracuse dining centers who prepares healthy and ethnic meals for students; there are free exercise programs on Mondays and Fridays at the gyms on campus; and there is also weekly mediation at Hendricks chapel to escape stress and achieve mindfulness.

The Healthy Monday campaign makes it easier for Syracuse students to achieve and maintain mental and physical health and mindfulness, Moser says. Whether they are on campus or in a foreign country, students can now live a healthy lifestyle thanks to the programs provided by Healthy Monday.

Anise Kamel, the program coordinator of the Florence, Italy, Healthy Monday program, emphasized the importance of incorporating Healthy Monday while abroad in a new city, “Living in a new culture means a new cuisine and it is very difficult to maintain the same balanced diet,” she says. The Florence program not only features free exercise classes—Zumba being a fan favorite, according to Kamel— and serves free fruit, the coordinators say they also want to start putting out a weekly newsletter and blog posts with various nutrition and exercise topics to further help students stay healthy while studying abroad.  While in foreign countries, students have easier access to alcohol than they most likely do in college and get a taste of new cuisines and dishes they are not accustomed to at home, so it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet without any guidance. “It’s very easy for students to drink more than they normally would and in total consume an excessive amount of carbs and sugar,” Kamel says.

Having a Healthy Monday abroad program available to students is a great way for them to establish a healthy lifestyle in their new city with the help of free fitness classes, free fruit, newsletters, and blog posts with tips and tricks.

Next Monday, rethink your day. Instead of having a hamburger at the dining hall, make yourself a hearty salad with healthy fats and veggies—and maybe even participate in the Monday mile.  Spread the word about Healthy Monday and help Syracuse University students make Mondays great again.

 

By Gabriella Salkin

Eat Smart · Feel Great

5 Health Fixes

 

Seniors don’t usually live in dorms all four years, but when we do we master the ins-and-outs of the dining hall system. The pizza and French fries are obviously the best looking foods in there, but if you’re on a health-kick, don’t succumb to the grease just because the lettuce at the salad bar is soggy and black. There’s plenty of healthier options than what meets the eye.

A dining hall is like one massively stocked kitchen at your disposal. So, while the quality of the food hasn’t changed much, it’s time to get smarter with using the supplies in front of you. Here are five hacks for eating healthier in the cafeteria.

Overcooked veggies? Grab some raw vegetables from the salad bar or the stir-fry section and have the staff either sauté or steam them. You’ll never get bored of eating the same thing because they always have a wide variety to choose from like broccoli, green peppers, and mushrooms. Mix in some teriyaki sauce for added taste!

 

Undercooked rice? Get steamed cauliflower and mash it together with a fork until it’s the same consistency as rice. Cauliflower is anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins and fiber, and only 29 calories per cup. This gives you the room to eat more without the bloated and guilty feeling you’d get from a smaller portion of rice.

 

Craving avocado? Probably. So, next time you’re at one of the campus markets, buy a ripe avocado and bring it into the dining hall. This fruit provides the good kind of fat that helps lower cholesterol, reduces heart disease, and increases fiber intake. For breakfast, make avocado toast and top it with a juicy sunny-side up egg. For dinner, slice and toss it in with your quinoa and fish.

 

Nothing to eat? A chicken quesadilla is always the answer. It’s simple, filling and delicious, but the chicken breast at the deli bar looks like rubber. Ask the staff to make an extra-cheesy cheese quesadilla. Then take chicken breast from the hot dog section and cut it into strips. Put the best pieces into your tortilla!

 

Bland-tasting food? Add hot sauce to everything. Hot sauce will boost the flavor level of any meal and is a lot healthier than the other saucy alternatives. Its key ingredient is capsaicin, which speeds up fat burning, fights infections and might even make you live longer. The dining halls never run out, but just in case keep it in your bag like Beyoncé does.

 

Stop looking at these cafeterias with a negative attitude. Instead, look at each trip like a new opportunity to get creative with your food and to eat better than anyone else in there. You’ve got 99 problems, but eating healthy in the dining halls ain’t one anymore.

 

By Mariah Kulak

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Perfecting the Paleo Diet

In a country where eating healthy is being emphasized more and more, fad diets are becoming increasingly popular. Dieting is extremely hard no matter what anybody says, and there are so many options that it can be overwhelming. That is why your best bet when dieting is to not diet at all, but instead, just look for healthier choices. Dieting has a bad connotation because it usually involves giving up food that you love and going hungry because your portion sizes are smaller. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard though, and an example of this is the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet has been gaining popularity due to its simplistic and unique nature. It doesn’t involve counting calories, excessive food prep, or portioning sizes. Sounds great, right? Now, you are probably wondering what the catch is, and how much it will cost you. It can be relatively inexpensive, but the catch is that you have to give up grains, processed foods, and even dairy if you so choose. So it may not seem that appealing anymore, but continue reading because this diet actually works and is not as hard as you think.

So what is the Paleo Diet exactly? Well, the whole premise of the diet is that you eat the way a caveman would have eaten in the Paleolithic era. That means meat, eggs, nuts, fruit, natural oils, fish, and tubers (sweet potatoes) are all fair game. There are no set portion sizes, so you eat whatever amount you choose whenever you are hungry, and eat to your heart’s content! Paleo recipes don’t usually involve many ingredients, and therefore, they don’t take much time to prepare, so you can whip up something quickly if you are in a rush or not in the mood to slave over the stove. The majority of the recipes taste and look great as well. If you don’t believe me just try the Paleo banana pancakes or the Paleo Valentine’s Day smoothie; they’re both so addicting.

The whole point of eating this way is not only to lose weight or build muscle, but to be healthier and even increase your life expectancy. Eating basic foods such as meats and vegetables will increase your metabolism, give you more energy, and even tone your body. For many people though, it may seem too difficult to cut out the sugar and grains that they love so much. Also, being in college, it can be quite the task to prepare your own meals and worry about eating properly. It’s so easy to reach for the telephone and call up Domino’s after a long day of classes, work, or clubs. Personally, even I struggle with the Paleo Diet because the dining hall doesn’t afford a lot of opportunity to eat this way. So, another option to this diet is to do a milder version, which is what I do, and gradually cut back on the grains, substitute regular milk for soy/almond milk, and eat more vegetables at the salad bar so they aren’t smothered in oil/butter. No one says you have to give up every food that you love, and having a cheat day is fine. You can eat a wrap or a piece of cake from time to time, but for the most part, the Paleo Diet is feasible and can transform your body in the best way possible.

Here are some tasty, quick, and simple recipes that will get you hooked:

Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Valentine’s Day Smoothie

Banana Pancakes

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

 

By Rachel Cathie

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Healthier Easter Candy Alternatives

With spring break quickly (and sadly) becoming a distant memory, and Easter approaching this weekend, it’s easy to want to say Sayonara to your strict healthy diet plan and veer off your regimented gym plan that you slaved over for weeks to get your bikini body for break. Nothing sounds better than skipping the gym to binge watch Gossip Girl and eat the Starburst jelly beans your mom sent back with you! But while it’s important to let yourself indulge a little, it is also important to stay on track because of all of the work that you put in to get that beach body you worked so hard for for spring break. With these healthy alternatives to the traditional Easter candies that we all love to enjoy (looking at you Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs), you can have all the flavor and taste at a lower calorie option that you and your waistline will be thanking us for later.

peanut btuter

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Once upon a time, someone decided to mix peanut butter and chocolate, and thus, this amazingly delicious concoction was created. Peanut butter eggs, a staple of Easter, or any holiday season, are small yet deadly, in the sense of the amount of sugar that is packed in each individual serving. The peanut butter filling often has two or almost three times the amount of sugar that regular peanut butter has, and on top of it, the milk chocolate coating isn’t doing you any favors either. For a low sugar option without the added preservatives, try making your own homemade peanut butter eggs using the recipe below, which is both vegan and gluten free!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar or *sugar-free powdered sugar*
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave or pure maple syrup
  • 2 more tbsp of sugar, if needed

Note: Makes 6-9 eggs

Directions

  1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a crumbly dough.
  2. Add the extra 2 tbsp sugar if it’s too gooey, and add a little more peanut butter if it’s too dry. (Different brands of peanut butter will yield different results.)
  3. Form dough into flat little ovals/egg shapes then freeze the dough for an hour, or until it’s hard.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the cocoa and coconut oil, add the agave/maple or stevia drops, and continue mixing until it looks like chocolate sauce
  5. Then take one “egg” out of the freezer at a time (so the rest stay cold) and cover in chocolate. Immediately return covered egg to the freezer and let harden. Best to store these in the freezer as well. Enjoy frozen or take out and warm to room temperature and enjoy!

peeps 2

Homemade Marshmallow Chicks

It wouldn’t be Easter if you didn’t see those Peeps on the shelves of your local grocery store. However, these fluorescent colored, bunny shaped marshmallows may look like fun, but they’re bad for both your teeth and your body. They are high in sugar and fat, and provide no nutritional value to your diet whatsoever. Though these homemade Peeps may not look as fun as the traditional marshmallows you used to get in your Easter basket, they taste great, are made up of natural ingredients, and can be completely sugar-free if made without sprinkles!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, split into 2 half cups
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Cover a 9 by 13 inch pan with greased parchment paper
  2. Put 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften. In a small pot, place the honey, salt and the other 1/2 cup of water and heat on medium level temperature.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by carefully dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the soft candy stage — which will form little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature.) Remove from the heat as soon as it reaches the right temperature.
  4. Very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl while slowly beating ingredients together. THIS MIXTURE IS EXTREMELY HOT SO BE CAREFUL! Once combined, add the vanilla and increase speed slowly to high. Beat for 7-15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy and holds its shape when you lift the beaters out of the mixture.
  5. Spread onto pan, and add another piece of greased parchment paper on top. Press down to even out with a small rolling pin
  6. Leave uncovered for 4-12 hours to dry. Use greased cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Roll in sugar/sprinkles if so desired.

 cream-eggs-940x626 2

Healthy Cadbury Eggs
Going back to the traditional candies, that relatives as old as our grandparents have enjoyed through the years, Cadbury Eggs are an unusual candy that many enjoy, but few actually know what it is, or more specifically, what is in them. With a light yet buttery filling that isn’t high in fat and sugar, and with an organic recipe that is chemical and preservative free, these homemade sweets are sure to satisfy your craving without ruining your diet. Even better, the recipe can also be modified for you fellow vegans out there! These eggs are the best of both worlds.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted organic butter
  • 1/4 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey (add an extra teaspoon for a very sweet filling)
  • 1 fresh organic egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract
  • Pinch unrefined sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat butter, cream, and honey, stirring over low heat until butter is completely melted.
  2. Whisk in egg yolk and cook over medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (should take 3-5 minutes). It will leave a trail when you drag your finger across the back of the spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stevia. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add a tiny pinch more stevia if necessary. If when cooking the custard you start seeing little tiny cooked pieces of egg white, immediately pull from the heat and strain mixture.
  4. Chill until cool to the touch.

rice krispy

Homemade Rice Krispy Treats
Though not traditionally a treat you associate with Easter, these marshmallow-laden bars are always good regardless of the holiday, and Easter is no exception.  As yummy as they are, they are pure sugar, and are sure to make you crash from a sugar high after you eat one. This year, snack on these three ingredient no bake “Rice Krispy” treats that are easily moldable into fun shapes, like bunny rabbits or Easter eggs! With no marshmallow, butter, or oil, feel free to eat one (or even three) with no guilt after a long day of hitting the books!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (can sub for almond/cashew)
  • 1/2 cup sticky sweetener of choice – I’ve used brown rice syrup (best), honey and maple syrup (least sticky)

Directions

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your crispy rice cereal and set aside.
  3. Stovetop or in the microwave, melt your nut butter with your sticky sweetener and then pour the mixture into the crispy rice cereal and mix well. If you used brown rice syrup, this should be perfect. If you used honey or maple, you may need to add a dash more to make them stick together.
  4. Pour mixture into the lined baking tray and press firmly into place. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

“Healthy” Snacks that Could Be Making You Fat

As midterms approach, you are probably running around aimlessly, trying to fit in as many study hours, papers, coffee dates, and workouts as possible. With little time to do it all, it’s easy and efficient to grab a snack instead of a meal whenever free time pops up. In an effort to stay fit, and stay healthy, it’s important to snack smart and focus on what you are actually snacking on. Here are some snacks that are believed to be “healthy” but could be doing your diet more harm than good.

Veggie Chips
Though veggie chips claim to be loaded with nutrients and packed with as many as three servings of vegetables, they are often made up of potato starch and corn flour, which are two ingredients that make you more likely to snack between meals. Don’t be fooled by the “veggie” coloring on the chips, which is usually just food dye added during production. For a real healthy snack, you are better off making your own homemade “veggie” chips with real veggies like kale, broccoli, or Brussel sprouts by slicing, sprinkling with salt, and baking for about 10-15 minutes.

Bottled “Green” Juices
While it is nice to think you are being super healthy by “drinking your greens,” green juices are often packed with tons of sugar, which make it more like eating a Snickers bar than drinking a simple smoothie.  All that sugar is more likely to make you “crash” later in the day, and also make you crave junk food more. Try flavored or sparkling water if you are looking for a sweeter, very low-calorie alternative.

Yogurt Covered Pretzels
A sweet ‘n salty treat that seems pretty healthy, yogurt-covered pretzels, are one of the most deceiving foods that people think is healthy, but really does more damage than good to your body.  Pretzels are never an A+ snack, as they are loaded with sodium and complex carbohydrates, and when covered in “yogurt” (which in this case is often a combination of sugar and palm kernel oil) you have a snack high in sugar, fat, and carbs, three things that are never good. For a healthier alternative, opt for low-sugar kettle corn or a square of dark chocolate.

Sports Drinks
Sports drinks claim to refuel and reboost your body, but is that really true? More often than not, sports drinks are laden with corn syrups, tons of sugar, and people justify drinking them by arguing that they are key to rehydration and reenergizing one’s body after hard work or exercise. However, more often than not,  you don’t need to refuel your electrolytes with sports drinks unless you’ve had long, grueling workouts. So, unless you’re running a marathon soon, you should back off on the PowerAde unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Protein Bars
Protein bars are a tricky snack. Something with the word “protein” in it surely must be good for you, right? Wrong. Protein bars are simply a healthier name for the candy coated, sugar laden, sweet snack bars they truly are. So while they seem to be good for you, the only thing they add to your diet is sugar, syrups, and artificial sweeteners. You are better off making a homemade granola mix at home or packing a simple snack of banana and yogurt instead of grabbing one of those when you are on the run.

 

By, Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Foods to Maximize Your Workout

You should never exercise on an empty stomach, and sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to eat pre- and post-workout. Fear not, What the Health has broken down the best foods to eat when exercising.

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Before You Workout

  1. Bananas are an excellent food to eat before you work out. They have fast-acting carbohydrates that provide you with fuel during your entire workout. The potassium in bananas also helps prevent muscle cramps mid-workout. There is nothing worse than getting a stomach cramp while running on the treadmill!
  2. Another great food to eat before you head to the gym are oats. They can be in the form of oatmeal, granola, or combined with other ingredients for fun oat recipes. Oats are loaded with fiber which help release carbohydrates into your bloodstream, providing fuel to last you throughout your entire workout.
  3. Surprisingly, caffeine can be an effective pre-workout food. Caffeine can work to slow muscle fatigue and increase how much fat you burn.
  4. Fruit smoothies are an excellent way to get ready for a workout. They are high in protein, can be digested very quickly, and contain both simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates will activate in the first 15 or 20 minutes of your workout, and then the complex carbohydrates will kick in around the 30-minute mark.
  5. Chickpeas have 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and about 9 grams of fiber to help make your work out easy peasy (pun intended).
  6. Unlike egg yolks, egg whites provide you with no fat and 4 grams of protein. The yolk of the egg contains lots of fat, and is metabolized slowly so it will make you feel sluggish. Ditch the egg yolk and just stick with the egg white!
  7. Greek yogurt is a great alternative to regular yogurt because it contains less sugar but more protein.

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After you Workout

  1. Avocados are a great post-workout food because they have good fat, not bad fat. This good fat helps repair muscles after a workout. Avocadoes also are high in Vitamin B, which speed up your metabolism.
  2. Instead of water after a tough workout, try chocolate milk. Chocolate milk helps restore muscle glycogen and rehydrates you just as much as Gatorade. It is high in carbs and protein, and you will also be getting calcium—added bonus!
  3. Another drink to try once you get home from the gym is green tea. Green tea can give you a much-needed energy boost after the gym and also has great fat-burning compounds.
  4. Quinoa is the best way to get your carbs, and a great alternative to brown rice. It has more protein and fiber than brown rice, and is also so much easier and quicker to prepare!
  5. A great fish to try after you work out is salmon. It is high in protein and also omega-3 fatty acids, which help to rebuild muscle post-workout.
  6. One of the best fruits to eat after a workout is kiwi. Kiwi contains lots of vitamin C and potassium packed into one small serving. They also contain antioxidants, which help reduce muscle soreness. Another tip to make the most out of your kiwi: eat the skin! It has more nutrients.
  7. Another helpful fruit to eat after you work out are blueberries. They are packed full of antioxidants, and studies show that they can trip your rate of recovery after a hard workout!

 

By Annie Kelly

Eat Smart · Feel Great

How to Cope with Neophobia in College

Generally, incoming college freshmen have difficulty adjusting to the dinning hall meals provided by Syracuse University. Now, imagine if you are a student who suffers from food neophobia and has a limited menu to begin with. Many people suffer from neophobia, an eating disorder that causes you to be afraid of new foods. This disorder can lead to malnutrition, and as a result, affect your daily functioning. Someone with neophobia can have panic attacks or be so repulsed by the new food that he or she will throw up.

Syracuse University sophomore Hailey New has suffered from neophobia since she was a child. When asked about the difficulties that accompany neophobia, she described how it would often cause problems at the dinner table.

“I had a set menu of meals I would eat as a kid and if [my parents] made something different, I would refuse to eat dinner that night. I would only eat chicken noodle soup, no other kind of soup. And peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but only if it was a certain brand of jam, I wouldn’t eat other jams. Gosh I was an annoying kid,” she said humorously. However, she had no idea that 25 percent of children and many adults suffer from neophobia. Many of those people go to the website pickyeatingadults.com to share their experiences with the disorder. According to an article ABC News wrote in 2010, the website has 7,000 members.

During her freshman year, Hailey shared her struggle with the dinning halls. “I lost 15 pounds when I first got to Sadler because I would only eat the green grapes and cereal they had. Food has to look and smell good to me, and it was so different so I said nope not eating any of this. They were all new brands of food too, that bothers me a lot.”

This can be a real nuisance when being away at college, so if you are a student or just anyone suffering from neophobia, here are some ways to ease your way through the difficulties.

  1. One at a time
    Don’t bombard yourself with new foods, because then you’ll just be freaked out. If you have something new that you want to try just try that and take it one food at a time.
  2. Try not to get frustrated
    Again, stay calm, because you don’t want to freak out and hate everything.
  3. Know that some foods will be easier than others
    Sweet or salty foods are best for trying new foods because they’re less sour and bitter.
  4. Sauces can sometimes help
    Putting a complementary dressing on it never hurts. Sometimes the food just needs a little extra flavoring added to it in order to be just right. However, that may cause you to become dependent on that flavoring in order to like the food.

 

By Destiny Reyes

Eat Smart

Who Says Valentine’s Day Can’t Be Healthy?

 

Valentine’s Day is either your favorite day of the year or your worst nightmare. This year, get excited for the devoted day regardless of whether you spend it snuggled up to your new beau or hosting your own “Gal-entine’s Day” with your favorite gal pals and snazzy snacks. This “lovely” holiday is never complete without tasty treats, and what’s better than red and pink chocolatey goodness for only half the calories? With these yummy, low-calorie recipes, you’ll be sure to capture the heart of someone special!

 

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Have a sweet ‘n savory treat with this classic concoction. Dark chocolate is known to help lower your risk of heart disease, so this dessert is sure to make both your stomach and your heart happy.

Ingredients

  • Fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) white chocolate, optional for drizzling
  • Double-boiler or heatproof bowl and saucepan
  • Heatproof spatula
  • Parchment, wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Small plastic bag

Directions

  1. Rinse the strawberries under cold water and pat dry. The strawberries need to be completely dry before dipping, so spread them out and let them air-dry if necessary.
  2. Fill the bottom of the double-boiler or saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer all chocolate into the double-boiler or heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Let the chocolate melt until no lumps remain, then remove the bowl from heat.
  3. Dip strawberries one at a time in melted chocolate, coat fully, then lift the strawberries out and shake gently to remove excess chocolate. Lay strawberries on baking sheet to harden.
  4. If you choose to drizzle white chocolate on the strawberries, melt the white chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, then use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the hardened strawberries.
  5. Let dry and serve when set.


Layered Strawberry Jell-O Cups
This fun and fruity dessert is perfect for when you want a sweet treat that is light and easy to make!

 Ingredients

  • 5 packets of strawberry Jell-O mix
  • Water
  • 2 cups of Cool Whip, plus more for topping
  • Strawberries, to top each parfait

*In order to get evenly distributed layers that you can clearly see, it is important that you let each layer set before adding the next one. Depending on how many cups you make, you may have leftover mixtures.*

Directions

  1. Layer 1, Layer 3, and Layer 5: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with 1 packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using. Refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layers 3 and 5.
  2. Layer 2 and Layer 4: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with a packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Add in 1 cup of cool whip. Stir until mixed. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using, layering on top of the previous Jell-O layer. Separation may occur, causing a lighter and darker layer. Refrigerate until set, 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layer 4.
  3. Finish by topping with Cool Whip and sliced strawberries.

 

Paleo Chocolate Truffles
Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, and this year is no exception. For all of those people who love this tasty treat, this recipe is for you. Get the same delicious taste of thick, creamy, chocolate with this healthier alternative to the classic truffle.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups raw cashews
  • 12 dates
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1 cup for rolling truffles in

 Directions

  • Soak the dates overnight in water.
  • Put all ingredients (minus extra coconut) into a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Scoop out mixture and place in clean bowl.
  • Cover bowl and put into fridge to chill for at least one hour. Once chilled and firm, scoop even amounts of dough out and roll into balls.
  • Roll in shredded coconut, and place in fridge to firm up. You can also freeze these for use later.

 

Strawberry Mint Spritzer
This Valentine’s Day, get the best of both worlds with this creative concoction that goes great both with and without alcohol. However, if you choose to make it, this sassy spritzer will have you dancing the night away with your favorite girlfriends.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Sake – any kind will do
  • 1 bottle Dry Champagne
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 6 Meyer lemons (or 3-4 regular lemons)
  • 3-4 sprigs of mint
  • Vanilla Stevia, to add flavor

Directions

  1. Slice your strawberries into vertical slivers, tear mint leaves roughly, and add both to a large pitcher.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 6 Meyer lemons and gently mash the ingredients using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add equal parts Sake & Champagne, and lots of ice.
  4. Squeeze a dropper full of vanilla stevia into each glass before serving.

 

Strawberry and Cream Cashew Cookie Bites
These “pretty in pink” treats are delicious to look at and eat! With few ingredients and no actual cream, these no-bake energy bites are the perfect way to have a sweet ‘n salty treat to keep your body going.

Ingredients (Makes approx. 40 bites)

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt flakes

Directions

  • Place cashews in food processor/blender and pulse until crumbly. You want there to still be a few bigger chunks to give the bites some nice texture.
  • Add dates and pulse until the mixture starts to come together to form a sticky “dough.” Add vanilla extract and salt flakes and pulse again to combine.
  • Finally, add your freeze-dried strawberries and pulse until combined. Using your hands, roll approx. 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into a little bite-sized ball, then transfer to an airtight container (or even just a Ziploc bag) and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Repeat steps until batter is gone.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great · Nutrition · Student Life

5 Snacks to Power You Through Finals Week

Ah! Finals week. A week filled with endless papers, exams, and the occasional mental breakdown. As you start preparing for the end of the semester, it’s important to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down (a girl can dream).  To do this, it’s important to fuel your body with brainpower snacks, so you can hit the books instead of hitting the wall. While sleep and exercise aren’t guaranteed things as finals week approaches, you can still be healthy and happy with these yummy brain boosting snacks that will keep your mind sharp and your stomach satisfied!


Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Satisfy your midnight stress snacking with this delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, which can help your brain perform at its best ability, and bananas are a great source of potassium, which will boost your energy levels once you hit that 2AM slump. If you really want a treat, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips, which have been known to aide concentration and boost your mood!

Trail Mix
Trail Mix, often labeled a “danger food” of snacking because it is high in calories, can be healthy, and it is great for your brain! Dried nuts and fruits, both high in protein, have been known to aid in memorization and concentration, and make your brain sharper and quicker, which can help when studying. To create a healthier, lower calorie mix, try to incorporate unsalted almonds, dried berries, and if you must, a small amount of dark chocolate.

Mixed Berries
A sweet treat that will pick you up when you want to give up, berries of all kinds, especially blueberries, are considered to be the #1 brain food.  They contain nutrients that have been shown to improve memory and learning, and even help produce new brain cells. Whether fresh or frozen, berries are a yummy, low calorie snack to stress eat when you want something sweet and need a good boost.

Avocado on Toast
A trending treat that is taking the health world by storm, avocado on toast has become a popular snack for many. While avocados may be fatty, they contain “healthy” fats that keep the brain cell membranes flexible, which keeps you energized and ready to hit those books. The fatty acids in avocado help strengthen brain muscle, which makes it easier to memorize information and study for longer periods of time. Spread mashed avocado on whole grain toast, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, add any other ingredients you like, and you have a simple but yummy study snack to help you score that A on the exam!

Coffee
Of course, we cannot forget this dearly beloved, which has gotten college students through finals weeks and exams for hundreds of years. Although this does not necessarily count as a “snack”, it is a classic concoction to help you get through those all-nighters. Coffee is great for improving thought processes and helps repair memory loss so you will remember those anthropology terms you learned in the wee hours of the morning before the exam. Just remember to skip the high-calorie sugar laden drinks with whipped cream and flavor shots, because the only thing those will do is pack on the pounds and make your brain crash when you need it most.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

4 Low Calorie Alcoholic Beverages for the Holidays

Holidays are the best time for you to wind down, relax, eat, and do many people’s favorite hobby: drink. Everybody needs a little cocktail to celebrate the holidays and to rejoice their time off from work, school, and other responsibilities. However, if you find yourself trying to lose weight, it can be difficult to have your cake and eat it too (pun intended). If you’re in dire need of a little alcohol, there are easy switches you can make to still get your buzz on with little to no consequences later.

If you like Rum and Coke: According to glamour.com, an easy switch up to cut calories is to switch regular Coca-Cola to Diet Coca-Cola instead.

If you like Margarita’s: For all you Real Housewives of New York City lovers, here’s a brand name you will instantly recognize for her savvy alcohol empire. Bethany Frankel’s Skinny Girl margarita mix, which is only 37 calories for one serving. Skinny Girl also offers other low calorie drinks like sangria, mojito’s, pina colada’s, and wine. If you’re interested in looking for the nutritional facts or what flavors Skinny Girl offers, you can go to skinnygirlcocktails.com for more information.

If you like Mimosa’s: If you’re grabbing brunch with a couple of friends and are looking to treat yourself, you can do this easy switch up that will save almost half the calories. Fitnessmagazine.com recommends you switching to a low calorie fruit juice such as Minute Maid Light Orange Tangerine juice instead of regular fruit juice.

If you like Beer: Beer is an alcohol with one of the highest caloric intakes, but there are lighter options to go with if you’re a real beer lover. According to fitnessmagazine.com, Bud Light was nominated the best tasting light beer out there with only 110 calories per serving. The runner up was Sam Adams Light with 119 calories per serving and coming in third was Coors Light with 102 calories per serving.

Counting calories is never particularly fun, especially during the holidays. But if you make these easy changes and try to avoid the overly sugary alcoholic beverages, you’ll be able to enjoy your buzz guilt-free.

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Is Bad Cholesterol Cursing You?

You woke up 15 minutes later than normal. After scrambling to throw on some clothes and pack your bag for class, you head to the dining hall for some breakfast. You could grab a bowl of fruit and some oatmeal, but instead you opt for the bacon, egg, and cheese bagel. That might not have been a problem if you were trying to “treat yo’self,” but unfortunately habits form, and before you know it you’ve eaten a BEC bagel 5 days straight. You make jokes about how you need to stop before gaining the freshman fifteen or the senior seventeen, but that’s not enough to change your ways.

While you may think you’re only gaining a few pounds, there is something you’re probably not noticing – your cholesterol. While we might want to believe that high cholesterol is something that can only affect us when we are older, that’s simply not the case. According to the American Heart and Stroke Association, 31.9 million Americans age 20 and older have total cholesterol levels at 240 milligrams per deciliter and higher. This group is at twice the risk of heart disease than those who don’t have high cholesterol.

I know that it would be naïve to think that college students would stop drinking beer or getting three orders of dome nachos while watching a basketball game, but there are ways to improve your cholesterol without changing your diet. Here are a few foods that will increase your happiness while lowering your cholesterol:

 

  • Nuts – Having a handful of nuts a day can help to lower your risk of heart disease. It could be walnuts, peanuts, almonds – really any of kind of nuts would work. Adding a handful to your salad or bringing some peanuts as your snack in class is the perfect way of working these into your day.
  • Olive oil – If you haven’t already, you should try to cook with olive oil. They come in different flavors (Trader Joe’s makes an awesome garlic olive oil) that can add extra flavor to your meal. It also makes a perfect salad dressing or a substitute to butter.
  • Oatmeal – Instead of eating the BEC bagel that you’ve been grabbing in the dining hall out of convenience, why not try that bowl of fruit and oatmeal? It will allow you to save time and lower your cholesterol simultaneously! Fruit that is high in fiber can also be added into your meal to decrease in your cholesterol levels.

 

By Courtney Rosser

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Not Your Average Avocado Recipes

Not that there is anything wrong with avocado toast (in fact it’s my personal favorite breakfast), but there are countless other ways to use avocado! This includes not only unique recipes, but beauty applications as well.

 

Food

Avocado Fries

  • Slice up your avocados into your desired shape of “fry,” dip in egg, roll in breadcrumbs, and bake at 400 degrees! So simple yet so good.

Avocado Dressing

  • Blend up a serving of avocado in the food processor with some garlic, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. A healthy, homemade alternative to those high-calorie, fattening dressings that we see at the grocery store.

Avocado Cookies

  • These are incredible, AND there’s a vegan option. That is all.

 

Beauty

You may be reluctant to stick chunks of avocado in your hair, but before you get judgmental and run the other way screaming, take a look at your hair products. More than likely, there’s several chemicals listed under the ingredients section that you can barely pronounce, let alone have any clue what they are. Avocado sounding better now? Using natural remedies is an awesome way to rejuvenate and change things up. Plus, your hair will feel incredible—I promise.

Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask

  • This is amazing for when your hair is feeling dry and dull. Blend together half an avocado, one large egg, one tablespoon of honey, and a few drops of an essential oil (mint or rosemary works wonders AND helps hair grow—double win.) Apply it to you hair and put a shower cap or plastic wrap over it. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse out with warm water. Finish with your normal shampoo and conditioner routine.

Honey Avocado Face Mask

  • Help combat dry winter skin with this nourishing face mask!

Avocado Pit Face Mask?

  • That’s right. That part of the avocado that you have been neglecting and throwing out for years? Turns out, the pit of an avocado contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium. You can save your avocado pits, dry them out, and then grind them up to use as an exfoliate in a face mask. P.S., You can blend them into your smoothies as well…if your brave enough that is.

 

So if you aren’t sick of avocados by the end of this article, go ahead and pick some up at your local store and enjoy!

 

By Sarah Kinzler

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Winter Squash for Beginners

Move over kale, winter squash is becoming the biggest produce fad of the season. Winter squash is known for its rich color and bursting flavors which will be a great staple to your autumn diet.  Little did you know that squash can actually be a great replacement for many high calorie ingredients. Read the article below on What the Health’s favorite squashes to find out how they can help you cut calories and survive the winter by keeping your skin radiant during the dry weather.

 

Carb-Free Spaghetti (Spaghetti Squash)

You wouldn’t believe how close this tastes to regular spaghetti pasta once you’ve tried it. To make it, start with cutting the squash in half and remove the seeds, then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place the squash in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 20 minutes.  Then, uncover and continue baking for another 35 minutes.  Once the squash feels tender, use a fork to scrape out the strands of spaghetti. Heat up your favorite tomato sauce and add to your spaghetti squash and you’re all set for a Carb-Free Spaghetti dish! Check out even more benefits of this meal here.

 

Squash Salad (Almost any kind of winter squash)

Instead of using a thick and high calorie dressing, opt for just adding boiled squash (our favorite is acorn squash), a little bit of olive oil, and some spices for a creamy texture to your salad. The longer you heat your squash the softer it is!

 

Vegan Mac & Cheese (Butternut Squash)

So you’ve always wanted mac & cheese without all that heavy cream, butter, and cheese?  Butternut squash is so rich in flavor and creamy in texture that it can actually help replace all those unhealthy ingredients. Angela Liddon, the blogger behind her website ohsheglows.com, shows how you can make a totally healthy version to your favorite dish.  Click here for the complete recipe.

 

The best part about these squashes is that they’re perfect for the winter because they contain vitamins that give you healthier looking hair and skin while also helping you build a stronger immune system for the cold Syracuse weather. Butternut squash and acorn squash both contain significantly quantity of high vitamin A, which helps repair skin and produce sebum necessary to keep hair moisturized. Vitamin A also ensures that the skin looks young and helps eliminate blemishes and scars. The three squashes are also great for dealing with colds and boosting the immune system because they’re high in vitamin C. Overall, why wouldn’t you want to try some?

 

By Allison Leung

Eat Smart

Pinterest Hack: Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Desserts around the holidays are always hard. Especially after thanksgiving dinner, after you’ve crammed half a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, a gallon of gravy and corn in your mouth (no, just me?), the last thing you want to think about is forcing down a slice or two of pie. There goes all your healthy eating. But it’s Thanksgiving, you can’t pass up dessert. Add that to the increasing number of diet restrictions that many people now have and you’ve got yourself a predicament. Well that problem has been solved. After spending the first four days of break mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest I came across this scrumptious-looking recipe for gluten free lemon bars. Super simple, super light, just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth after a full four course meal without over-doing it. As with any dessert, eat in moderation! Enjoy!

Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup butter (softened)

Filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 2-3 tsp grated lemon peel (optional)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine crust ingredients and mix well (cut butter into flour and sugar).

crust

Press into bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.

pab

Bake for 20 minutes until crust begins to turn light brown.

oven

Beat filling ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.

egg

Pour over warm crust.

Return to oven. Bake for additional 15-20 minutes until filling is set and slightly brown around the edges.

Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

finished1

After finishing the bars, I will admit they were delicious. Prep time took about 20 minutes, so added to the 20 minute bake time for the crust and then again for the lemon mix, total time was a little over an hour. Definitely an easy recipe to follow for any holiday, especially when you’re looking for a different, healthier option from your creamy chocolates and fruity pies!

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By Jess Steele

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Grocery Tips for College Students

So you’ve moved out of the dorms and settled into your first apartment, equipped with your own room, private bathroom, and full size kitchen… however, the only action your kitchen has seen thus far is making the occasional microwavable meal consisting of mac and cheese and leftover takeout. Shopping for groceries is intimidating to many students, but here are a few tips to optimize your Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, or Tops shopping experience, while maintaining a budget and making healthy choices.

 

  • Set a budget – and plan on going to the grocery store about once a week. If you can last an entire month (or two) on a single grocery run, then it is likely you’re purchasing processed goods instead of whole, real foods. Figure out how much you are willing to spend on food per month, and then divvy this amount up by the number of times you’ll hit the grocery store – and stick to this number.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store, except for a few staple items. The perimeter of the store shelves the fresh items – milk, eggs, produce, yogurt, and fresh meats. Take a detour into the inner aisles when grabbing dry items like rice and quinoa, condiments like salsa and mustard, or for frozen items such as berries, fish, or veggies.
  • Know which foods have a longer shelf life than others and buy these in bulk; for the other items, buy these weekly. Fresh fruits and vegetables will need to be eaten relatively soon after their purchase date, so buy only what you think you will eat in a week. Buy cereal grains and nuts in bulk to save money, but stick to only two to three avocados per grocery haul.
  • Have a snack before shopping. The cardinal rule for grocery shopping is to never shop hungry. When your stomach is growling, suddenly the bags of candy down aisle 4 look much, much more appealing.
  • Avoid pre-packaged snacks, pre-sliced fruits and vegetables, or pre-seasoned These items are convenient, but they’re often much more expensive than the their whole or unseasoned versions. Buy large bags of nuts and dried fruit and portion them out into baggies yourself, cut an entire cantaloupe or other fruit into slices and store in a Tupperware, and buy seasonings to add to your meats. The price of these convenience items is not worth the small save in time they offer.
  • Browse recipes before planning a grocery trip and make a list of the required ingredients. This may sound obvious, but you’re more likely to actually prepare and cook a meal from a recipe if you plan for it ahead of time. Don’t get stuck without the ingredients necessary to cook yourself dinner and end up ordering Chinese delivery for the third time in one week.
  • Find inspiration from these time-saving staple items:
    • Plain Greek yogurt – Buy the large 32-ounce containers rather than the individual cups to be eco-friendly and save money. Stir in frozen fruit, nut butter, or your favorite nuts and dried fruit to make a quick breakfast.
    • Rotisserie chicken – Pre-cooked meats are a great option for quick meals without the hassle of defrosting, seasoning, and cooking meat.
    • Eggs – Buy a dozen and hard-boil half for an easy grab-and-go snack.
    • Nut butters – Peanut, almond, cashew, you name it. Slather it on apples or bananas, blend it into smoothies, or dip celery sticks into a jar of it for a filling, heart-healthy snack.

 

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart · Feel Great · Get Well

6 Unique Benefits of Mint

When most people think of mint, they think of its application as a breath freshener. Whether it be toothpaste, mouthwash, breath mints, or chewing gum, these products overshadow the other healthy uses of mint simply because of their popularity. Here are some unique ways to use mint that aren’t just for fresher breath!

 

  1. Headache. We all know the scent of mint is associated with fresh breath, but what you probably didn’t know is that the scent can also relieve headaches. By rubbing mint oil or mint base under the nose or on the forehead, it can soothe some of the inflammation and fever symptoms that people experience with migraines.
  1. Digestion & Nausea. Feeling sick to your stomach? Well, instead of grabbing any of those common indigestion medicines, consider trying mint tea first. The aroma of the mint can stimulate the release of digestive enzymes from the salivary glands, which contributes to faster digestion. Menthol oil produced from mint can also help motion sickness.
  1. Depression or Exhaustion. Stimulation from mint is an excellent way to recharge your body. Since you can get this feeling from inhalation, one of the best ways to use it is to put a few drops of mint essential oil on your pillow.
  1. Sickness or Allergies. Since it’s flu season, I am sure everyone is already stocked up on over-the-counter medications. However, before taking that cold and flu medicine, try using mint leaves. These leaves can be good to make teas, jams, or desserts. The soothing effect that they have can clear up congestion and relieve coughing. It can also help pesky allergies because the leaves have been shown to have anti-histamine properties to them.
  1. Skin Cleansing. Dry skin bothering you as the weather gets colder? Try using mint juice to soothe your skin and reduce acne. Mint also works to treat infections caused by insect bites, but if you put it on before any bites occur, it also works as a repellant.
  1. Weight Loss. Mint can help you slim down throughout the holiday season! If you keep mint candies on you throughout the day, it can help to cure persistent hunger and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. As mentioned above, eating these candies can also help stimulate digestion.

 

By Courtney Rosser

Eat Smart

Let’s Go Vegan

Although it can be difficult—especially on a college campus—going vegan can certainly help lead you to a healthier lifestyle. Automatically, living the vegan lifestyle cuts down on many fats and cholesterol found in animal products, and turns us toward more nutrient dense foods such as fruit, veggies, and organic proteins. Because the demand for healthier and vegan food is increasing, there are many delicious options to replace meat and other animal products. Plus, one person going vegan can save countless animals per year…and gives us an excuse to hit up Strong Hearts Café or Core when we’re wandering around Syracuse.

Explaining “fake” meat…

Choosing to eat foods that are not animal products does not mean that you have to go without protein. Also keep in mind that supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods offer many vegan replacements of foods you might normally eat.

There are lots of substitutes that can be as satisfying if prepared correctly. Seitan, tofu, and tempeh are commonly used replacements for meat in different dishes. These substitutes take on the flavor or whatever spices you use, so it is easy to change up how you prepare them whether you like chipotle seasoning or pesto sauce.

  1. Seitan is made from wheat gluten. In my opinion, seitan tastes incredibly close to chicken and keeps me just as full. It has nearly the same amount of protein as sirloin steak, and even more than two medium eggs.
  1. Tofu is made from soybeans and is gluten-free. Naturally, tofu is very low in calories, so not only can it act as a protein but may also aid in weight loss.
  1. Tempeh is made from soy. It contains lots of calcium, which as we know is very important to incorporate into our diets to prevent osteoporosis in our later years. Additionally, tempeh contains a low glycemic index, which is a new way of measuring how foods affect our blood sugar. Essentially, this means that consuming foods with a low glycemic index like tempeh are more beneficial in helping to prevent illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, depression, and type 2 diabetes.

 

Other important vegan basics:

  1. Made of chickpeas, hummus is a great way to incorporate a filling of protein into your vegan diet.
  2. Black Beans. Good news—you can still fulfill your Mexican craving! Throw together a vegan burrito bowl with quinoa, spinach, black beans, and avocado!
  3. Organic Peanut Butter. One of my personal staples, peanut butter is great with so many different snack foods from apples to rice cakes and beyond. If you are feeling a sweet craving, mix together a little peanut butter with a vegan ice cream like Luna and Larry’s vegan vanilla.
  4. Almond Milk. Fortunately, almond milk is a delicious way to keep getting your calcium to substitute for dairy products. There are a variety of flavors such as chocolate, coconut and vanilla—available sweetened or unsweetened!
  5. Lentils are high-protein, plant-based legumes. They are delicious in soups or mixed into salads.

 

Here are some amazing recipes to think about if you challenge yourself to go vegan!

By Sarah Kinzler

Eat Smart

8 Tips to Stay Healthy this Thanksgiving

Food+ Good friends + Family Time + FOOD = Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the things you are fortunate enough to have. If you are anything like me, I am looking forward to seeing my dog—and really good food, too. Believe it or not, there are ways you can keep your healthy mindset throughout your home vacation.

Here are 8 helpful thoughts to have while returning home:

  • Don’t deprive yourself! Enjoy your family and some treats. It is a holiday after all.
  • Moderation is key. Enjoy a small slice of pumpkin pie or small handful of candy. The taste will be the same and you will feel much better afterwards.
  • Don’t neglect those veggies. The fiber in your veggie tray and salads will fill you up.
  • Eat slowly. Enjoy all your bites, and recognize when you are full.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Have a small protein filled breakfast, so you are not completely starving by lunch or dinner.
  • Do not make yourself uncomfortably full. I promise you, there will be leftovers!
  • Instead of claiming the couch immediately after dinner, go for a walk or help out in the kitchen! Your mom will love some help with all those dishes.
  • Do not feel guilty. No matter what happens, be thankful for every part of your Thanksgiving 2015.

 

Keeping a healthy regime in college is not easy and maintaining one over breaks may seem impossible, but you can do it! Now you are prepared to take on the Thanksgiving week, guilt free. Safe travels, and enjoy the time with your friends, family, and food!

By Sydney Hughes

Eat Smart

4 Best Healthy Holiday Treats

Christmas is right around the corner, and with it comes endless pastries, cookies, and candies—enough to fill hundreds of stockings. As Buddy the Elf so kindly puts it “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.” Although these food groups do sound tasty, constant sugar and carb intake will only result in a very upset stomach.

To enjoy the holiday treats, get all the fun of baking, and avoid the tummy ache, here are some What the Health suggestions for healthy holiday treats.

 

1. The Classic Gingerbread Cookie (Low-Carb and Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

Cookies: 4 cups almond flour, 1 cup Swerve Sweetener, ¼ cup coconut flour, 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon xanthan gum, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup Kelapo coconut oil (melted), 3 tablespoon molasses, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing: ½ pound powdered Swerve Sweetener, 1 ½ tbsp. meringue powder, 1 ½ teaspoon arrowroot starch OR 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum, ¼ cup lukewarm water

For instructions, go here.

ginger

2. Homemade Hot Chocolate (Dairy & Sugar Free)

Ingredients:

(For extra fun, coconut whipped cream or regular if you’re able to eat it!)

Instructions:  

  • Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk over low heat until combined and desired temperature has been reached.
  • Pour into a mug and enjoy!

For more information, go here.  

hc2

hc1

 

3. Peppermint Bark (Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 12 drops pure peppermint extract (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup OR stevia drops to taste
  • Optional: sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or other garnishes

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Spread the mixture onto wax paper
  • Put it in the fridge or freezer to harden. After just a few minutes in the freezer, it becomes delicious bark!

For chocolate peppermint bark: replace the coconut butter with homemade hot chocolate butter.

For more information, go here.

bark

 

4. A Christmas Staple, the Sugar Cookie

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites

Icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 6 tablespoons warm water

For further instructions, look here.

Picture1

 

By Haley Champion

Eat Smart

5 Snacks to Help You Fall Asleep

Tired of tossing and turning all night? As college students we need our sleep, but we just so happen to be night owls at the same time. We have busy schedules full of classes, exams, internships, clubs, papers, and so much more—but what happens if you can’t fall asleep the night before a big exam or a busy day? Here is a list of midnight snacks and foods that will you fall asleep so you can be prepared for the busy day ahead.

 

  1. Cherries

Cherries are a good fruit to eat to help you fall asleep because they have melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical that manages your internal clock and it will help you get back on track if your schedule is off.

  1. Milk

Did your parents ever give you a glass of warm milk to help you fall asleep? Well it looks like it was actually beneficial. Milk has the amino acid tryptophan which is the precursor to the chemical serotonin. The combination of both of these helps you fall asleep.

  1. Cereal

Carbs in general are good to eat before bed, but the addition of milk it makes it even better.

  1. Bananas

Bananas contain potassium and magnesium which are muscle relaxants. They also contain carbs which creates another two-for-one situation like cereal does!

  1. Non-Caffeinated Tea

Chamomile, Valerian, and Motherwort teas have been proven to make you drowsy and put you in a deeper sleep. Just make sure you pick a decaffeinated tea, otherwise you will be up all night.

 

Although these are not meals, this is a good list of possible midnight snacks to eat while you’re getting ready for bed. It has also been proven that hunger can inhibit deep sleep; therefore, you should eat if you’re hungry—just make sure you eat something that makes you drowsy.

 

By Lina Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great · Student Life

8 Small Ways to Make Your Health a Priority

As finals get closer week by week, our mental and physical health increasingly becomes less of a priority. We get lazy about going to the gym, order Insomnia Cookies far too often, and overall feel a loss in control over of bodies. When you just don’t have time to get in your daily workout, making small lifestyle changes can help you feel more on track and in control. Consider these tips when you make your choices throughout your day.

  1. Wake up 10 minutes before you are supposed to. Even though this is a struggle for us night owls, having even this little bit of extra time in the morning is great because it gives you some wiggle room to catch the news, brew a cup of coffee, or even arrive to class a tad early. If you’re feeling really ambitious, doing a quick stretch or ab workout is another awesome way to wake your body up. From personal experience, I can say that I have been able to pay much more attention in my 8am classes when I get up at least an hour before and have a solid breakfast. Also, hydrating first thing in the morning with a glass of iced water can help decrease the look of puffiness in your face and replenishes your body from its deep slumber. No more snoozed alarms for the perpetually late.
  1. Cut the sugar from your coffee. Yes, the combination of coffee and sugar wakes us up, but I promise you there is a healthier way to get your coffee fix! Ordering that caramel swirl latte at Dunkin’ in the morning may taste great but it is also full of calories. Even worse, the amount of sugar is bound to cause you to crash in the middle of your boring art history lecture. Try using natural agave syrup instead. If you happen to be on Marshall, Strong Hearts Café serves wonderful coffee for just $1 and you can ask for agave and almond milk to add the sweetness you crave.
  1. Take the stairs. Taking the stairs seems to be the obvious choice for a mini, middle-of-the-day calf workout, but it is something we often overlook. The elevator is conveniently located in the lobby of most buildings, which is an incredibly tempting choice. But just think, if you burn 5-10 calories walking up to your fifth floor dorm every time you go home, you could easily burn an extra 50 calories per day!
  1. Go vegetarian or vegan at least once a week. Get rid of those processed meats! Try replacing the meat in your diet with proteins such as tofu, seitan, black beans, and quinoa. These healthy alternatives will still keep you full and satisfied without all of the fats.
  1. Exercise before you eat. After a large, filling meal, exercising is difficult because we may cramp up or feel too full to complete a long cardio session. If you exercise before your meal, you are more likely to eat healthily because of the progress you completed during your workout. In addition to this, being at the gym and away from your fridge will guarantee that you won’t fill up on a bunch of snacks while bored at home.
  1. Get Distracted. Another way to be successful at the gym, especially during cardio, is to multi-task. If you have a tablet or are using a machine where you can control a TV, flip to one of your favorite shows and watch with subtitles. At the same time, listen to some of your favorite music. Between reading the subtitles and listening to some sick beats, cardio is bound to fly by before you know it.
  1. Shut off your phone an hour before bed whenever possible. Not only can this help you sleep better, but getting away from the social media we encounter daily can really impact your life positively. We rely on our phones more than we would like to admit, and going without this technological umbilical cord is freeing, really. If this is too drastic, try to make a point to put your phone on airplane mode every once and a while for shorter periods of time.
  1. Do everything you can to conquer night eating. For many, staying up in the late hours of the night also means getting the late night munchies. Focus on keeping healthy snack options easily accessible, so that you won’t be tempted to just order a pizza out of convenience. Try apples and peanut butter, or hummus and pretzels. These snacks are satisfying enough to get you through those all-nighters without killing your day’s calorie count.

Most importantly… Do everything you possibly can to make you happy, because that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it? Bring positivity and happiness into your life and into the lives of the people you love. Whenever you feel stressed, ask yourself why. Is it worth all the stress? How is that stress detracting from your life and what can you do to improve it?

By Sarah Kinzler

Eat Smart

4 Smoothies to Boost Your Brain

As the cold weather nears, it’s important to keep your mind and your body healthy. This means exercising, getting enough sleep, and incorporating well-balanced meals into your diet. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not eating breakfast, a BIG no-no! Whether you aren’t hungry or don’t have time to grab breakfast, research has shown that eating breakfast boosts your metabolism, increases concentration, and even improves your grades in the long run. Here are some simple smoothie recipes to make in the mornings for a quick and easy breakfast.

Brain Booster Trio Smoothie

With the brain booster trio, you get a smoothie that tastes as good as it looks. While sipping the yummy flavors of blueberry, bananas, and almonds, you are simultaneously protecting your brain cells, boosting memory and coordination, and getting a yummy breakfast that will help jumpstart your metabolism and get your day off on the right foot.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 of a medium frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 5 unsalted whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey

Directions: 

  • Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth, or about 1 to 2 minutes

Pomegranate and Strawberry Smoothie

The pomegranate and strawberry smoothie is especially good for boosting fiber intake, which affects the glucose levels in your brain. Boosting glucose levels has shown an increase in energy and concentration. With the yummy combination of flavors, this smoothie gives you a sweet treat that is low-calorie and chock full of good antioxidants to boost your brain power.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tsp. raw honey
  • 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  • Whisk pomegranate juice and honey in a small cup to dissolve the honey completely
  • Combine the strawberries, yogurt, oil, ice cubes, and pomegranate mixture in a blender
  • Process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thick and smooth. Pour into a glass

Banana and Coconut Power Smoothie

If you close your eyes while drinking this smoothie, it’s almost like your tanning on a beach in some tropical island far away from all the stress that is college (almost, though we wish it were true!) This smoothie—packed with the protein from bananas, a coconut, and a scoop of protein powder—will have you determined and ready to take on the hectic day ahead of you. Coconut is low in sugar and high in fiber and vitamins, which will provide long lasting energy and even help with memory retention. To add an extra boost of delicious protein, add a tablespoon (or two) of peanut butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (hemp almond, rice, or organic 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1 frozen banana, slightly thawed
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend well

“Happy, Healthy Self” Smoothie

This smoothie is what I dub the “happy, healthy self smoothie” because it affects your emotions, motivation, and pleasure senses in your body. This smoothie is great if you have a long day ahead of you and know you need to focus—something all of us will be experiencing with finals coming up in a couple of weeks. The key ingredient in this recipe is milk, because it provides a healthy amount of protein to boost dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel happy and motivated. An added benefit? This smoothie keeps your blood sugar level steady and gives you a small amount of caffeine to help “kick start” your morning!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup small banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (vanilla or plain)
  • 1 double shot (approximately 1/2 cup) organic espresso
  • 1 serving whey protein powder (vanilla)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the protein powder in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth
  • Add the protein powder and lightly blend until incorporated

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart

How to Replace Red Meat in Your Diet

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report saying that processed meats can greatly increase the risk of developing cancer. They also went as far to say that red meat is “probably carcinogenic”, although it’s the bacon, sausages, and hot dogs that show the highest risk of causing cancer. The WHO believes that the issues lie within the chemicals used during processing.

I know that this is breaking bacon lovers hearts around the world, but this data doesn’t mean that you need to cut out all processed meats from your diet. This article stresses the importance of moderation, not complete elimination—so go ahead and have a cheat day when you’re out to brunch on Saturday afternoon.  However, during the other 6 days of the week, here are some healthy alternatives to processed meats:

Try veggies instead! Although it might be your natural desire to reach for deli meat like salami or bologna when making lunch, there are ways to make it tasty AND good for you. Replace some of those processed meats with vegetables like peppers, onions, or avocados. All of these can give flavor to an otherwise bland sandwich. You could also get creative with different sauces to add an extra punch of flavor.

What about chicken? It’s hard to tell people to eat meat only in moderation. Chicken is great way to get the protein that you’re looking for without the guilt of eating meat that might be detrimental to your long-term health. It’s a versatile food that can be cooked in many different ways, so you could eat it for a majority of your meals throughout the week and you’ll (probably) not get sick of it.

Substitute with seafood! Another great way to break up the meals that you’re eating throughout the week is to mix in some seafood. You could put some shrimp in your salad or some scallops in your pasta to spice up an otherwise plain dish.

Remember, it’s all about moderation! Making healthy choices during your weekly meals definitely earns you that bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on the weekend.

By Courtney Rosser

Eat Smart

10 Light Snacks Perfect for Traveling

Whether you are flying, taking the train or driving home for the holidays, it is possible to keep your health in tact. All it takes is a little planning and an optimistic attitude.

Before you leave for your trip, plan ahead.

  1. How long is your trip?
  2. What is your snack preference?
  3. How much will I need?

Under 100 calorie snack options that are easy to pack, and even easier to eat:

  1. 1 cup of fresh or dried fruit
  2. 1 apple and 1 cheese stick
  3. 3 cups of popcorn
  4. 2 turkey and cheese roll ups
  5. 1 cup of dry cereal-shoot for Cheerios, Chex, or other low sugar options
  6. 1 cup of pretzels
  7. Sunflower seeds—these will take longer to eat-making you think about what you’re eating
  8. 1 handful of almonds
  9. Ants on a log. 2 Celery stalks with peanut/almond butter and raisins on top
  10. Homemade banana nut muffin—like this recipe

If you are a snacking machine like me, don’t worry. There are plenty of healthy options to hold you over during the trip. When driving, I recommend using the 60/40 rule.  After you drive for 60 minutes, you can treat yourself with four servings of snacks. Four handfuls of trail mix, four pieces of dried fruit or even four bites of a granola bar.  This rule will help pass the time and give you something to look forward to between singing your favorite tunes.

Happy Traveling!

By Sydney Hughes

Eat Smart · Get Well

10 Easy Ways to Use Coconut Oil

If your jar of coconut oil is isolated only to the kitchen, then it is time to branch out and discover all of the uses of this versatile fat that expand beyond the rim of your sauté pan. Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat extracted from the meat of coconuts that has a tropical odor and is solid at room temperature, making it an excellent choice for high-heat cooking and for use in cosmetic applications. Here are ten uses for this many-purpose oil.

  • Use as a cooking oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point, which is the temperature at which oil smokes when heated. After an oil has reached its smoke point, it is no longer healthy for consumption due to the breakdown of the fatty acids. Coconut oil, like other saturated fats, can be heated up to relatively high temperatures safely before breaking down into dangerous compounds (Marks Daily Apple). Try this stir fry cooked in coconut oil for a delicious dinner.
  • Slather it on your skin as a natural moisturizer. The nutty, tropical scent of coconut oil makes it a great choice to hydrate dry skin, an issue that plagues Syracuse students as the bitter cold winter rolls around. Also, consider carrying around a small tub of it in your backpack as a lip balm.
  • Use it to remove your makeup. Oils act as natural makeup removers, so ditch the expensive store-bought brands and dip a Q-Tip or cotton round into your jar of coconut oil and swipe over your eyes and face for effortless makeup removal. Stubborn waterproof mascara doesn’t stand a chance.
  • Tame frizzy hair. Wake up with frizzy flyaways? Dip a finger into your jar and rub a very small amount of coconut oil over your hands, and then gently run your hands through your hair to tame stray hairs. The oil also adds a layer of glistening shine to dull locks.
  • Add it to your coffee to create creamier cups. Skip the heavy cream and blend 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, 1 tbsp. grass-fed butter, stevia, and ¼ tsp. vanilla in with your morning brew. The healthy fat will provide satiating power and a boost of quick energy.
  • Add to your blender for a more filling smoothie. Most smoothies are full of simple carbohydrates that leave you hungry only 1-2 hours after you finish your last sip. Try this berry coconut oil smoothie – the healthy fat in the coconut oil will help you absorb key fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Make homemade toothpaste. Run out of toothpaste and need a quick fix? Combine coconut oil, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil (such as mint or peppermint) into a paste to create a quick and easy DIY toothpaste.
  • Use it as sunscreen. Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen with a SPF between 4-6. Slather it on skin for light protection, but don’t forget to apply SPF 30+ when you’re going to be exposed to high levels of sunlight.
  • Make a body scrub by combining equal parts granulated sugar and coconut oil. For an added luxury, add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture. Suggested oils include lavender, grapefruit, or orange.
  • Clean makeup brushes by following these easy directions. Not only will your brushes smell amazing, but they’ll be clean and ready for use, reducing your risk of developing acne due to dirty brushes—gross!

These uses only scrape the surface of all of the amazing functions coconut oil has to offer. When purchasing, look for extra-virgin, unrefined coconut oil to reap the most benefits. Some recommended brands include Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, which you can buy in bulk online, or grab the organic virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s the next time you make a grocery run!

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart

9 Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System

With cold and flu season quickly approaching, we need to do everything in our power to stay healthy. Here are 10 foods that will help boost your immune system and help you survive when your roommate and friends inevitably start coughing up a storm.

  1. Citrus

Vitamin C is essential for your health and can be found in citrus fruits. It helps produce more white blood cells, which fight off infections as well as helping you fight an illness once you have gotten sick. So try to eat about one citrus fruit a day or taking vitamin C to help prevent the likelihood of getting sick.

  1. Red bell Peppers

As well as citrus fruits, red bell peppers also have a lot of vitamin C. Red bell peppers actually have twice the amount of vitamin C that can be found in citrus fruits in addition to another nutrient called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy and is a provitamin to vitamin A.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a super food packed with Vitamin A, C, E, and many antioxidants. It is one of the healthiest foods you could eat; however, the less it is cooked the more vitamins and nutrients you will get. Whenever available try to eat raw broccoli and it will prevent you from getting sick.

  1. Garlic

Garlic is a commonly used vegetable added for flavor in many foods and it also boosts your immune system. Garlic helps fight infections and has a large amount of sulfur containing compounds which boost your immunity. When cooking your next meal try to add garlic not only as a flavor, but also to boost your health.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is another popular flavor added to drinks, desserts, and other foods. Ginger helps your immunity because it has antioxidants and activates t-cells. T-cells are white blood cells that destroy other cells that are contaminated with a virus. Overall, ginger is a great flavor to add to your food because it builds up your body’s defense mechanism.

  1. Spinach

Spinach is another superfood packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All these vitamins and minerals help fight infections and viruses. Similar to broccoli, you get the most of spinach’s nutrients when it is cooked less.

  1. Yogurt

Some yogurts have live and active cultures which prompt your immune system to fight off viruses and diseases. Yogurt also has vitamin D which helps fight off infection. When picking your yogurt, be careful and make sure that you pick one up with live and active cultures, because not all yogurts have them.

  1. Almonds

Almonds are also good for your immune system because they have vitamin E. Vitamin E is soluble in the presence of fat and since nuts have healthy fat, the vitamin E can be absorbed properly. Almonds give you the perfect immunity boost and vitamin E, which is harder to get otherwise.

  1. Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants called flavonoids and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). By drinking green tea you will receive amino acid L-theanine which supports the production of  germ fighting compounds in t-cells.

In addition to all these foods remember to have a balanced diet with, fruits, vegetables, water, and sleep. This way you get all the necessary vitamins to boost your immunity and the rest needed to fight off sickness.

By Lina Sullivan

Eat Smart

How to Make Zoodles

If you’re looking to cut down on refined grains while upping your veggie intake, then look no further than zucchini noodles—more playfully known as zoodles. Zoodles can replace traditional spaghetti or pasta in any dish for a lighter, more nutritious meal. All you need to get started is one of two possible tools: a julienne peeler or a spiralizer.

The basic process to creating noodles is simple. First, pick your produce. The possibilities don’t end with just zucchini–transform sweet potato, summer squash, or even beets into a creative spiralized dish. When using harder vegetables, such as beets or sweet potatoes, the spiralizer tool will be more effective, but soft vegetables like zucchini and summer squash can be tackled by a julienne peeler.

Next, wash your produce, and then chop off the ends. Then, if using a spiralizer, simply place the vegetable into the tool and use it to create your spiralized veggie. If using the julienne peeler, slide the tool down the vegetable on all sides to create your “spaghetti” strands.

Place your strands on a paper towel and sprinkle salt over the veggies to absorb the excess water; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This will prevent your zoodles from becoming mushy when you cook them. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tsp. coconut oil or other preferred cooking oil over medium heat. Lightly dab the veggies with another paper towel before transferring them to the preheated pan. Cook the zoodles over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve immediately with your sauce of choice, and top with meatballs for a classic “spaghetti” dinner!

IMG_2050Get creative with your spiralizer, or try these great recipes:

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart

Guide to Eating Out: The Healthy Way

When it comes to ordering food, it can be very tempting to say “screw it” and cross to the dark side of getting greasy, fried foods. You look back on your empty box of food regretting the decision you have made and wonder why you even attempt to go to the gym. Indulging is definitely okay from time to time, but you can still enjoy delicious healthier meals when you go out to eat or order in. Eating healthier can still be just as satisfying and doesn’t mean you have to eat a bland salad with no dressing. Here are some ways to still enjoy your favorite restaurants without falling into the trap of overeating and giving into those nasty cravings.

Some helpful hints to consider:

  • If you are worried about overeating a large-portioned meal, ask your waiter to put half of it in a box before they serve it to you. This way, you have a second meal ready to take home and you won’t have to embarrassingly unbutton your jeans at the table.
  • Try to drink a full glass of water before your meal arrives. Many times, our bodies confuse hunger and thirst, so it will be much easier to eat the right amount if you do this.
  • Skip the bread bowl. Although it will be hard to resist, order a veggie-based appetizer or low calorie soup if you can’t wait for your meal.
  • White grains in your entree? Make it whole wheat please!

Cheesecake Factory

Ever heard of the “Skinnylicious” menu? With such a huge menu at this restaurant, it’s so hard to choose something healthy. However, from personal experience I can confirm that the “Skinnylicious” menu, is in fact, amazing. Some fabulous choices include the salmon with assorted veggies or roasted pear and blue cheese flatbread with caramelized onions and pecans. Mmmmm. The portion sizes are much more controlled and they provide a calorie range for each menu item. If you have a meal that you love at Cheesecake, go for it. Just make sure you eat a reasonable portion…and if you do order cheesecake, split it between a few friends (a single piece is often more than 1,000 calories).

Avoca Mexican Grill

Instead of delving into that giant guac and meat-filled burrito, try a customized burrito bowl. By eliminating the tortilla, you are already getting rid of some unnecessary calories. The burrito bowls at Avoca have a portion of Mexican rice, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans, and salsa. Feel free to add some grilled chicken or grilled shrimp for some protein, or maybe go vegetarian for the night and skip it. But this time, say no to the guac and sour cream. If you are ordering in and have any plain Greek yogurt in your apartment, it acts as a wonderful and healthier alternative to those high-calorie sauces.

King David’s

Although you may feel as if Greek and Middle Eastern food is generally always healthy, many of the dishes contain loads of oils and cheese.  Instead of going for that greasy lamb gyro, try ordering the “vegetarian plate” which has hummus, babaganouge, tabbouleh, and falafel. Another delicious option is the “Amin Special” which is a plate made up of grilled chicken marinated in spices and herbs with tomatoes, mushrooms, hummus, tabbouleh, and Greek salad!

Happy eating!

By Sarah Kinzler

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Does FitTea Actually Work?

The “teatox” trend has been making some headway lately and FitTea seems to be the front-runner. With celebrities such as Ed Westwick, Vanessa Ann Hudgens and Ashley Benson praising its results on their various social media accounts, FitTea has gained a massive amount of popularity.

FitTea is said to aid in fat burning and weight loss, improve your immune system, and clean your digestive system. After seeing multiple posts on my Instagram about this miracle tea, I figured I might as well give it a shot.  Here’s what I found:

14 or 28 Day Detox

FitTea offers a 14 or 28-day teatox along with various weight loss supplements. I ended up ordering the 28-day detox because I was skeptical that the 14-day option would be too short to yield any noticeable results.

When To Drink?

Written on the back of the bag are the suggested times for consumption: every morning or right before a workout. For the majority of my time during this teatox I would drink my tea right when I woke up in the morning before heading to class. However, the only time the tea noticeably affected my appetite was when I drank it right before my workout.

Energy Boost

Although FitTea’s website and celebrity sponsored ads claim that it will give you an extra energy boost, I really didn’t feel any difference.

Taste

Being more of a coffee lover, I was pleasantly surprised to find that FitTea is actually bearable to drink. The bag says that you could add lemon or honey to your tea to improve its taste, but I didn’t find that it needed any improving. The key, however, is to measure the proper amount of water for your tea as listed on the bag, because adding too much decreases the flavor and makes it much less of an enjoyable drinking experience.

Weight Loss/Change in Appearance

Over the course of my detox I lost about 4.5 pounds. That being said, this was aided by me working out a minimum of 4 days per week, not just by drinking the tea alone. As far as a change in appearance goes, I don’t have an issue with my stomach, which is the area most FitTea drinkers seek to change, but I definitely noticed that I didn’t feel bloated once while drinking the tea. My tummy always felt flat and tight.

Would I Do It Again?

I definitely would try FitTea again now that I know it has a greater affect on me if I drink it before a workout as opposed to right when I get up. Also, like any weight loss program, there’s no way to really gauge your results in just one month. I would reorder the tea purely because I liked how it tastes as well! Overall, if you’re curious about the teatox trend, go ahead and give FitTea a try; if you don’t see results at least you’ll have a tasty tea to warm you up on these chilly fall days.

By Zoe Farrell

Eat Smart

5 Tips to Ace Flu Season

Water, Water, Water!

Put those orange water bottles to use! Water will flush all the gross toxins out of your body and rehydrate all your healthy cells. Add a tea bag to your warm water, which will be good for your throat and metabolism. Drink lots and drink often! Can you handle the 1 gallon a day challenge?

Take Advantage of Good Ol’ Health Services

Syracuse conveniently has a health care office right down the street. If you can’t seem to feel better or need a professional opinion, that’s where to go. Health services also offers free flu shots. Stop by room #110 (next to the Pharmacy) at the Health Center (111 Waverly Avenue) between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on October 29th or November 5th, 12th, and 19th.

Sleep

This is the cheapest medicine out there. Allow your body to rest and recuperate to overcome that nasty cold or flu. Eight to nine hours is ideal when you are under the weather. To prevent future sicknesses, create a routine of at least seven hours every night.

Get Fresh Air

Take a walk. If you need a break from your room, or a have a jam-packed study day, schedule time to get outside. Walking and soaking in the sunshine is good for your health and will likely speed up your recovery rate.  Sweating out can clear your mucus and stuffy nose.

Wash. Your. Hands.

This simple task is the number one reason kids get sick.  Try washing after using the bathroom, before meals, and before bed.  An easy alternate would be a to-go hand sanitizer for any surprise germs. They’re a perfect fit for you backpack or purse.  Colleges contain thousands of germy surfaces with thousands of germy hands. Think library keyboards and elevator buttons. Another good habit to start is to avoid touching your face; it’ll help prevent bacteria from entering your body.

By Sydney Hughes

Eat Smart

6 Tips for the Dining Hall

When you first walk into the dining hall there is an overwhelming amount of options. The options cover everything from vegan, vegetarian, sweets, breakfast, and all the basic options you can imagine, but what do you do if you eat at the same section 7 days a week? At a certain point you’ve eaten everything there and begin to eat repeat foods. This is your new dining hall survival guide to help you get through the rest of the year.

  1. Take a Walk Through to Preview all of the Options

Don’t just pick the first food you see for your meal, walk through the entire dining hall before you make your choice. This will help you pick a healthy and balanced meal instead of picking the same food every time you go eat.

  1. Everything’s Better in Moderation

We all love pizza and burgers, but let’s face it they aren’t the healthiest options. Try limiting those foods to just once a week so that you can eat a variety of food yet still get your junk food fix.

  1. Create a schedule

There is always a plethora of dessert the second you enter the dining hall. You may be temped to grab a few of those gooey delicious cookies as you leave, but again, it’s best o limit yourself. Although you may be tempted to take that chocolate cake you saw when you came in, try to create a schedule for yourself so you only have one dessert each day. By eliminating the binge on sweets, your sugar craving will be satisfied yet you won’t be overloaded.

  1. Make Use of the Deli/Sandwich Station

Can’t find a meal to fit your mood? Don’t forget to check out the Sandwich Station for a new variety of options. They can make pretty much anything you ask for and even have a Panini machine for hot sandwiches.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Toaster

Not in the mood for a big meal? The bagel toasting section is open morning through night, so don’t be afraid to make some toast or eat a bagel if you are in need of a change. If cream cheese or jam isn’t your thing, use peanut butter instead and savor the warm, creamy taste. Peanut butter is a good alternative to butter or cream cheese because it has healthy fat and lots of protein to keep you feeling full.

  1. Keep Sugary and Caffeinated Drinks to a Minimum

Although juices and sodas taste really good, they are loaded with unnecessary sugar. In addition to sugar, sodas sometimes have caffeine. There are definitely times when you want the caffeine to finish some schoolwork, but try not to drink caffeinated drinks unless it is absolutely necessary. Instead, make an effort to drink water daily and only have sugary drinks on occasion. If you’re the type of person who needs some flavor, a good trick is to fill your cup halfway with juice and halfway with water. That way, there is less sugar in it.

Get creative, try new things, and make your own meals by picking a variety of food everyday.

By Lina Sullivan

Eat Smart

Pinterest Hack: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Craving pizza, but not the calories and weighed-down, sluggish feeling you gain after indulging in a few slices? Look no further than this Pinterest-inspired cauliflower crust pizza recipe by Dear Crissy. Cauliflower, with only 27 calories per cup, is an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K (“Cauliflower, raw”).

Cauliflower provides the perfect base to create a light, crispy crust that is packed with nutrients and devoid of the refined carbohydrates found in regular pizza dough. Not a fan of cauliflower? Not to worry—this crust is filled with the flavors of Italian seasonings, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to mask the taste of any unwanted vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasonings
  • ½ tsp. crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Marinara sauce and pizza toppings (of your choice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Rice cauliflower in a food processor until the cauliflower is reduced to rice-sized bits. If you don’t have a food processor, simply use a cheese grater.
  3. Microwave the cauliflower in a bowl for 5-8 minutes. After microwaving, transfer the cauliflower to a strainer and drain any liquid, and then transfer the cauliflower to a dried dishtowel or cheesecloth to press out any excess water.
  4. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower, 1 egg (beaten), and Parmesan cheese. Then add in the Italian seasonings, garlic, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet and pat it out into a 9’’ round.
  6. Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and then top the pizza with sauce and your favorite pre-cooked toppings.
  7. Place the pizza back in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted–be careful, this will only take a few minutes!
  8. Take out from the oven and enjoy!

When I tested this recipe out, I added sliced tomato, sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and pesto, but feel free to get creative with the toppings! Opt for fresh vegetables and lean meats to add even more nutrient power to this pizza.

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References:

“Cauliflower, Raw.” SELF Nutrition Data. Condé Nast, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

“Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe: Delicious & Healthy.” Dear Crissy. N.p., 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart

8 Delicious Snacks To Keep You Full

The biggest barrier most people seem to face when trying to eat healthy is portion control. In America, we are all about excess and convenience: the biggest franchises, the most expensive cars, fast food chain restaurants, etc. But bigger isn’t always better—especially when it comes to diet. Focus on eating smaller portions that will satisfy your hunger. This way, it is easier not to overeat during any one meal, and to have calories to spare for healthy snacks. Keep that metabolism going strong!

1) PB Burrito

Take an 8-inch whole-wheat wrap and spread a thin layer of organic peanut butter on it. Top it off with a quarter cup of granola or Oats N’ Honey cereal and drizzle with a touch of honey. These are super easy to make and perfect to hold you over until your next meal! (Tip: Buy organic natural peanut butter for a less-processed option—Teddie’s All Natural Flax Seed PB from Trader Joe’s is delicious!)

2) Apple Dippers

Mix plain yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey to go along with your apple of choice! These are great for days you seem to be eating big meals but still feel chronically hungry. P.S., yay for apple picking season!

3) Savory Avocado-Topped Rice Cakes

Spread fresh avocado onto two whole grain rice cakes and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. #trendy

4) Sweet PB&J Rice Cakes

Switch out your avocado with some natural organic peanut butter and a low-sugar jelly or jam!

4) Smoothie Bowl

Blend together mixed frozen berries, a touch of almond milk, some orange juice, and ice. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and slice up some fresh bananas to go on top. If smoothies aren’t your thing, substitute with plain Greek yogurt!

5) Protein-Packed Kale Roll Up

Spread a thin layer of hummus onto an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla (the Fiber One brand is my personal fave) and top off with a thin slice or two of turkey breast and a ton of kale.

  1. Whole Grain English muffin

Keep it quick and simple! Toast up a whole grain English muffin, and top with a serving of apple butter and berries. Add some flax or chia seeds for a little extra fiber. (Fiber=feeling full…Yay!)

  1. DIY On-the-Go Trail Mix

Throw together some lightly salted almonds, dried cranberries, roasted peanuts, crunched up pretzels, and a few dark chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag. It’s great to make a few of these ahead of time to grab on your way out the door to class. I recommend about a handful as a portion. (Tip: Nuts are nutrient dense meaning that they provide a lot of different nutrients but are also high in calories. So again, portion is key!)

References:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthy-eating/andi-guide

By Sarah Kinzler

Eat Smart

Overnight Oats Recipes Perfect for Fall

Scroll through your Pinterest feed and chances are you’ll stumble upon recipes for overnight oats – a quick, versatile and delicious breakfast that is taking health blogs by storm. According to NHANES data from 2001-2010, oatmeal consumption is associated with better nutrient intake, higher diet quality, smaller waist circumferences, and decreased risk of obesity than in non-consumers (O’Neil). Oatmeal is not a new player in the health-food world; however, overnight oats provide a new twist on this classic to spice up your morning routine. Here are five variations to try out this upcoming week!

The framework for overnight oats is ½ cup steel-cut oats (not the quick cook type), ½ cup of liquid (almond milk, milk, etc.) and an optional 1 tbsp. of chia seeds. Add your toppings and mix-ins to customize your oats, and then stir everything together in a Mason jar or cereal bowl and let your concoction settle overnight. In the morning, simply grab a spoon and dig in!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats – Throw it back to your elementary school days with this variation of overnight oats. Leah from the Grain Changer blog recommends stirring in peanut butter, honey, and frozen raspberries to recreate the nostalgic flavor of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats – It’s October, which means ‘tis the season for pumpkin-flavored everything. Why not make pumpkin pie inspired overnight oats to complement your obligatory fall PSL? Catherine from Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth mixes canned pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice into her overnight oats.

Blueberry Pie Protein Overnight Oats – In addition to the soluble-fiber action of the steel-cut oats, this recipe packs antioxidant power from blueberries and filling protein from Greek yogurt. Each spoonful will taste like a slice of delicious blueberry pie.

Cocoa Banana Overnight Oats – Feeling extra indulgent? Ciara from My Fussy Eater combines a mashed, sliced, or chopped banana, yogurt, cocoa powder, and honey or maple syrup to her oats for a sweet breakfast without excess added sugars. Cocoa contains flavanols, a compound found in plant-based foods that acts as an antioxidant and may provide beneficial cardiovascular effects (“Corti”).

Banana Bread Overnight Oats – Missing the taste of your mom’s homemade banana bread? Look no further than this recipe by Be Whole, Be You. Combine a mashed banana, pecans or walnuts, vanilla extract, cinnamon, flax seed, and maple syrup to create a new rendition of this favorite baked good.

References:

Corti, R., A. J. Flammer, N. K. Hollenberg, and T. F. Luscher. “Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation 119.10 (2009): 1433-441. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

O’Neil, Carol E., Theresa A. Nicklas, Iii Victor L. Fulgoni, and Maureen A. Dirienzo. “Cooked Oatmeal Consumption Is Associated with Better Diet Quality, Better Nutrient Intakes, and Reduced Risk for Central Adiposity and Obesity in Children    2–18 Years: NHANES 2001–2010.” Food & Nutrition Research 59.0 (2015): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart

All Your Fall Favorites Reinvented

Fall is here! If you’re like me, you love everything about it—from the chilly weather where you can wear boots and sweaters, to the yummy treats that encompass the flavors of fall. One thing we’d like to forget, however, is that those flavors can come with a deal breaker—major calories. Except, they don’t have to. By simply swapping out a few ingredients for healthier alternatives, you can transform our favorite classic combinations into healthy ones. Check out some of these healthier recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth this fall.

Baked Stuffed Apples
A delicious recipe with all the great taste of an autumn apple pie, but with half the guilt!

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup whole-grain cereal with dried fruit
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Trim the tops of the apples and scoop out the center and seeds of each apple. Rub the edges of the trimmed fruit with the lemon. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cereal, sugar, and walnuts. Fill the apples with the cereal mixture. Set the apples upright in muffin tins and bake until tender and bubbly or for about 20 minutes.

Healthy PSL

A healthy twist on your favorite Starbucks drink just made it a whole lot more appealing (if that was possible). With half the calories but the same delicious taste, those 8ams are a little bit easier to get up for.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
  • 8 ounces brewed coffee (or 1-2 shots of espresso)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a cup or saucepan, mix together almond milk and pumpkin. Cook on medium heat on the stove top or microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, spices, and sweetener and place in cup.
    Separately, use a blender to foam the milk — process for 30 seconds or until foamy.
  3. Pour coffee into a large mug; add the foamy milk mixture on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Clean Eating Pumpkin Ice Cream
While it may be getting chillier, ice cream is still always a sweet treat to have while going on hayrides, hitting the pumpkin patch, or just hanging with friends around a bonfire this fall. With this healthier version, you get the best of both worlds!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium bananas, sliced and frozen overnight
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice (no sugar added if purchased)

Directions:

  1. Using a food processor, blend the bananas, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice thoroughly. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 24 hours.

Pumpkin Muffins
This recipe is a combination of my two favorite things: fall flavored foods and breakfast! Though a little time consuming, these healthy muffins will give you a delicious breakfast and boost to help you through your day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Combine pumpkin and next 6 ingredients (pumpkin through egg white); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon the batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and brown sugar; sprinkle over muffins.
  5. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart

Best & Worst: Salad Topper Edition

You’re in line at the make-your-own salad station at Wegmans, and after filling your container with dark leafy greens you’re faced with the choice between the vast array of salad toppers. What do you choose? Craisins, walnuts, or crispy fried onions? Here’s a list of the five best and worst salad toppers to help you design your healthiest, tastiest salad yet!

LOAD UP on these toppings:

Walnuts – Nuts add crunch, a dose of protein, and micronutrients to your salad. Specifically, walnuts are rich in vitamin E—an antioxidant—and magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Walnuts are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Quinoa – This ancient grain provides fiber and protein, which will help you feel fuller for longer, reducing the chance you’ll grab an unhealthy snack a few hours after you eat.

Hardboiled eggEggs are a great source of vegetarian protein, and they also contain 50% of your daily requirement of vitamin B12. Eggs are also rich in choline and vitamins A, D, and E. The healthy fat in eggs will also aid in absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins found in all the veggies in your salad.

Feta cheese – Choose a cheese with a stronger flavor, such as feta, which will pack a larger flavor punch than milder cheeses like cheddar. Per ½ cup of cheese, you’ll be getting about 10 grams of protein and 37% of the daily value of calcium.

Avocado – Avocado is chock-full of monounsaturated fat (the healthy kind) and fiber, which will boost the filling power of your salad. Avocado is also rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids and vitamins E and C, which help to fight free-radical damage in the body.

PASS on these toppings:

Dried cranberries – These tangy treats seem like a smart choice, but you may want to reconsider after learning only 1/3 of a cup contains a whopping 26 grams of sugar! A one-ounce portion of dark chocolate contains almost half this amount of sugar.

Candied nuts – Avoid any nut labeled with the words “glazed” or “candied.” These words disguise this topping as being healthy, when in reality they are loaded with added sugars that offers no nutritive value. Stick with the raw versions.

Croutons – One cup of croutons contains 122 calories, the majority coming from refined carbohydrates. You’re better off getting your crunch from raw veggies, nuts, or seeds.

Crispy fried onions – This crunchy topping provides you with little to no nutritive value while adding empty calories and saturated fat to your meal. Pass!

Creamy dressings – Creamy dressings not only up the caloric value of your salad, but manufacturers also often sneak in added sugars to their dressings. Opt for a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress your salad for fewer calories.

Now that you’re armed with a few techniques for building healthier salads, go ahead and experiment with different flavor combinations to find what pleases your palate. When all else fails, opt for real, whole foods to spice up your salad over processed items.

By Julie Kameisha

Eat Smart · Nutrition

Food Prep: 5 Tips to Make Life Easier

When it comes to establishing healthy habits and making smart food choices, often one of the biggest and most challenging barriers to overcome is access to healthy and convenient food. Sure, the walk to Marshall Street is never long and Wegmans is only a short ride away, but knowing what to buy and how to prepare healthy meals are sources of struggle for many. Here are five food prep tips to optimize the goods from your grocery haul.

  1. Make big batches of meals once a week. Commit one hour of your week to preparing big batches of meals that will last you the week. Roast a head or two of broccoli in the oven, grill a few chicken breasts, or prepare a casserole dish. Try this 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie for easy lunches or prepare this easy chicken sausage and spinach frittata for a no-hassle breakfast.
  2. Prepare your meals for the next day the night before.Scoop your coffee into its filter, transfer a slice of your big batch meal into a Tupperware, and throw some silverware into your lunch bag all before you go to sleep. In the morning, all you have to do is press brew and grab everything before you run out the door. These ten minutes the night prior will save you money and calories as opposed to grabbing fast food because you were unprepared.
  3. Make your freezer your best friend. Prep too much food? Transfer some of your meal into containers and toss them in the freezer to reheat at a later date. Worried your spinach will wilt before you get to use it? Toss it in the freezer and add it to green smoothies. Bananas starting to brown? Slice them into rounds and spread any nut butter on half of them, and then sandwich the remaining rounds on top. Put them in the freezer and voila, you have an instant snack if you’re craving something sweet.
  4. Invest in some nice Tupperware. Preferably the glass kind so you can safely microwave your meals. Choose a set that comes with big and small containers, and make sure you grab some tiny ones for on-the-go dressings!
  5. Always have protein prepped for quick grabs. Protein is the most satiating food group, so having some protein foods stocked in the fridge ensures you’ll always have a safe snack for when you’re hungry. Some examples include hard boiled eggs, rotisserie chicken, deli meat slices, plain Greek yogurt, or packaging a variety of nuts and seeds into baggies.

 

Need some more inspiration? Enlist some help from social media. Browse posts on Instagram using the hashtag #mealprep or search “meal prep” on Pinterest to see what other healthy food enthusiasts are doing!

By, Julia Kameisha

Eat Smart · Nutrition

What NOT to Order Eating Out

On a meal plan, how likely are Syracuse University students to dine at a nice restaurant? Perhaps occasionally. These days, students can become so overwhelmingly excited to escape the monotonous dishes served in the dining halls that they decide to overeat or order unhealthy options when eating out. Of course, most students know that when… Continue reading What NOT to Order Eating Out