Lacto Ovo vegeterians


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Original Image by Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

 

Lacto vegetarian (sometimes referred to as a lactarian; from the Latin root lact-, milk) diet is a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, cream, and kefir, but excludes eggs. Furthermore, this term is used to describe a vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products. Many Hindu vegetarians are lacto-vegetarians who avoid eggs for religious reasons while continuing to eat dairy. The prefix “lacto” comes from the Latin word for milk

Some vegetarians eat a wide variety of foods that may include fish, eggs and even meat-based broths. Others are stricter and eat no animal products whatsoever, including honey and gelatin. Lacto vegetarians fall in the middle of the spectrum. They eat milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products, but they do not eat eggs or fish

The term “lacto vegetarian” comes from the Latin word lactis, meaning milk. Historically, many lacto vegetarians have followed religions that are widespread in the Far East, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, which incorporate nonviolence and respect for animals into their belief systems. In addition to avoiding meat, most lacto vegetarians avoid eggs because they are undeveloped embryos. A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats both eggs and dairy products.

Eating dairy products is the main factor that distinguishes lacto vegetarians from vegans. Lacto vegetarians eat milk and milk products, yogurt, cheese, butter and cream. However, they do not eat dairy products made with gelatin, such as some puddings and custards, because most gelatin contains pulverized animal hooves, bones or marrow. Lacto vegetarians also avoid dairy products containing animal-based rennet, a collection of enzymes that cheese-makers normally get from calves.

Additional foods that do not contain animal products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and plant-based proteins, make up the rest of a lacto vegetarian diet. Examples include citrus fruits, berries, root vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, wheat products, oats, corn, beans, legumes and soy products. According to the USDA, a lacto vegetarian diet that is balanced among all of those foods plus dairy items can help reduce risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other health problems.

Menu Plan

A lacto vegetarian menu plan can look a lot like a plan for a traditional vegetarian, but without the eggs. A sample breakfast might be oatmeal with milk and berries, a yogurt and granola parfait or a tofu vegetable scramble. Lacto vegetarian lunch options include a green salad with a side of tofu and fruit, meat-free chili or pasta with vegetables and olive oil. For dinner, lacto vegetarians might have a bean burrito, lentil soup with bread and salad or a vegetable curry with rice.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians may have higher blood cholesterol levels because of the eggs they eat, so choosing to follow a lacto vegetarian diet may improve heart health and encourage weight loss or healthy weight maintenance. According to a 2004 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” self-identified lacto vegetarian women have a lower risk of overweight and obesity than women who eat meat. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic reports that all vegetarians tend to weigh less and consume fewer calories and fat grams than meat eaters.

Sources:http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/lacto-vegetarian-foods-5885.html

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/lactovegetarian.htm

Tofu Chocolate Pudding


IMG_9046By: Nikki Nies

I love experimenting with staple ingredients, challenging myself to use them in nontraditional ways. As a recent college graduate, I still have the budget conscious mindset. What have I learned over the past year? You can use pureed prunes in replacement of butter in desserts, by freezing bananas, you can prolong their use and when blended it makes a creamy, ice cream like texture. However, one of my favorite nontraditional uses of ingredients is tofu. Yes, I said tofu! While, I’ve used pureed tofu instead of ricotta cheese in lasagna, as someone who has a sweet tooth, I always gravitate to how I can make desserts healthier.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and February filled with chocolate day celebrations, everything from Dark Chocolate Day on February 1st to Chocolate Mint Day on February 19th, it seemed fitting to experiment with tofu and chocolate. While pureed tofu and chocolate may not be the initial pairing, it works! They say that chocolate makes everything better, well I say chocolate and tofu makes dessert better! This is where tofu chocolate pudding comes in!

This dessert leaves you nutritionally satisfied and with only four ingredients, it can be made in minutes! By using chocolate chips, these tiny morsels can be the great sugar fix you need while also helping to lower blood pressure, improve satiety and improve blood circulation! Since tofu is a chameleon food, adapting to the flavors and ingredients it is paired with, it is perfect to combine chocolate! There is no need to use sugar to make pudding, as the chocolate chips are sweet enough!

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • ¾-1 cup semi sweet morsel chocolate chips*
  • 1-2 T oil
  • 14 oz. silken tofu
  • ½ cup milk 

Instructions

Place oil and chocolate chips on double boiler**, until all chocolate chips are melted. Heat the saucepan over low heat until it just begins to simmer, then turn off the stove and place the chocolate bowl over the water

Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula, once the outer edges start to melt.  When almost all of the chocolate is melted, life the top bowl from the saucepan and set it on the counter. Stir until it is shiny, smooth, and completely melted. Set aside.

IMG_9036Fold and place halved or fourths paper towels on cutting board to absorb moisture of tofu. Slice tofu to at least ½ inch thick slices. With ½ cup milk, puree tofu and melted chocolate in blender until smooth.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve pudding with shredded coconut, raspberries, walnuts and/or sprinkles. Enjoy

How did your pudding turn out? What modifications and/or toppings did you add to your pudding? I hope it’s as delicious and sweet as you are! Happy Valentine’s Day!

*Depending on how sweet of a pudding you aim for, use 3/4 to 1 cup of chocolate chips at your discretion.

IMG_9037**A double boiler is a bowl placed on top of a pan of simmering water. The bowl does not touch the water, but creates a seal with the bottom pan to trap the steam produced by the simmering water.. I don’t have a double boiler myself, but by placing a stainless steel bowl over a pot, I was able to make a makeshift double boiler.

Sources:http://bakingbites.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-double-boiler/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/health-by-chocolate

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270272.php

Milk Substitutes


By: Nikki Nies

For hundreds of years, milk derived from animals only, such as cow’s, sheep and goat. Yet, with lactose intolerance, maldigestion and the preference for non-dairy sources of milk emerging in recent years, the market and need for milk substitutes as increased multifold. Like there are differences in whole milk, 2% and skim milk, the nutrition content, flavor, color and texture of non-dairy milks–soy, rice, oat, 7 grain, hazelnut, hemp, almond and coconut vary.

 

Milk Type Description Texture/consistency Nutrients–1 cup Use
Whole great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 147 calories; 8.1 g fat; 98 mg sodium; 12.9 g carbs; 12.9 g sugar; 7.9 g protein; 276 mg calcium; 349.4 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
1% great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 91 calories; 0.7 g fat; 130 mg sodium; 12.3 g carbs; 12.3 g sugar; 8.7 g protein; 316.2 mg calcium; 419.1 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
Soy–plain obtained from soy bean; closest option to cow’s milk; contains vitamin B12 and D; processed; can be high in sugar; comes in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties such as chocolate and vanilla creamy 100 calories; 4 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 8 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 7 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 300 mg potassium; 119 IU vitamin D vegan–baking, coffee, as is, cereal
Almond made from ground almonds, water and sweetener; has ⅓ of calories as 2% milk; magnesium and protein content is good for bone strength; contains less sugar than soy or rice milk; tends to be high in sodium; contains vitamins A, D & E; low in protein; higher in fat than skim milk thick 60 calories; 2.5 g fat; 150 mg sodium; 8 g cars; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 200 mg calcium; 180 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D cereal, coffee, sipping, baking
Coconut richest, creamiest of all milk alternatives; when purchased in a carton, tends to have a lower fat content and is not as creamy as in can form; high in saturated fat and calories thick, creamy 80 calories; 5 g fat; 30 mg sodium; 7 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 1 g protein; 450 g calcium; 40 g potassium; 100 IU vitamin D ice cream, Thai curry, moistens cakes; coffee; tea
Hemp best for those with nut or soy allergies; rich in omega 3 fatty acids; low in saturated fat; mixture of hemp seeds  and water; contains essential amino acids; fortified with vitamin D and A; low in protein thick, creamy; “earthy” 100 g calories; 6 g fat; 110 mg sodium; 9 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein; 300 mg calcium; N/A potassium; 100 IU vitamin D smoothies; porridge; baking; cereals
7 Grain–original Oats, Brown Rice, Wheat,  Barley, Triticale, Spelt and Millet thin 140 calories; 2 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium; 125 mg potassium biscuits, smoothies and cereals
Hazelnut considered “more agreeable” in flavor with coffee; supposedly “froths” better thin 110 calories; 3.5 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 16 g carbs; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein coffee, baking, vegan cooking
Oat Void of cholesterol and saturated fats; high in fiber, iron; contains phytochemicals, which can protect against heart disease and some cancers; must be avoided by those that need to adhere to gluten free diet thick and grainy 130 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbs; 110 mg sodium; 19 g sugar; 120 mg potassium on its own as a beverage, cereal, gravy, cupcakes, hearty cookies
Rice most hypoallergenic option of all milk alternatives; good for blood pressure due to niacin and vitamin B6 content; low in protein; not recommended for diabetics; highly starchy; often enriched with calcium, vitamin A & D watery, thin 70 calories; 2.5 g fat; 80 mg sodium; 23 g carbs; 10 g sugar; 1 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 0 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D oatmeal, smoothies and cereals–not recommended to be used in baking or cooking due to watery texture

With cow’s milk allergy reported to be the largest allergy in infants and children, it’s safe to say that these milk substitutes are a valuable resource. What’s your experience with these different milks? Have a particular preference you want to share? If you’re up to the challenge, why not make your own milk?
Sources: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273982.php

http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/milksubstitutes.html

http://www.wellnesstoday.com/nutrition-recipes/which-nut-milk-is-right-for-you

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-is-hazelnut-milk-the-new-almond-milk-20140416-story.html

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

http://www.pacificfoods.com/food/non-dairy-beverages/nut-grain-beverages/organic-7-grain-original.aspx

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

SF Cinnamon Vanilla Rice Pudding


By: Nikki Nies

Thanks Food and Nutrition Magazine for sharing this sugar free rice pudding recipe!

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Kosher Kitchen


032210-kosher6By: Nikki Nies

While I’ve enjoyed writing for this blog for the last year and half, I’ve also used it as a channel to challenge myself to learn new concepts and review important points. Being aware of cultural and religious customs of others than yourself not only makes you more appreciative of the differences, but provides an obvious respect to how the differences are actually quite similar. If you’re like me,you recognize those differences, but don’t want to offend other parties by admitting you can’t articulate the exact differences.  So, today, with Rosh Hashanah upon us, there’s no better time to learn what it really means to have a ‘kosher’ kitchen.

In the Jewish community, the separation of meat and dairy products is crucial for the celebration of multiple holiday. The mixture of these two food groups is prohibited in Jewish law, which derives from the book of Exodus in the bible, which forbids [a goat] in a mother’s milk. This Jewish law prohibits against cooking a mixture of milk and meat, eating a cooked mixture of milk and meat and deriving any benefit from a cooked mixture of milk and meat.

During my research, I learned that creating a kosher kitchen does not have to be a daunting task, but one that is appropriate for the holidays. Prior to the revamp of a kitchen, one can start with purchasing only products that are certified kosher. If you’re not sure if a product is kosher or not, it’s best to put aside or discard.  It should be noted some new purchases will be necessary, including, but not limited to: dishes, some additional pots, plastic drainboards, and basins for the sink.

Many of the dishes and/or utensils will require the immersion into a mikvah before use.  Next, decide which drawers and/or kitchen cabinets will be used for the meat and dairy.  Labeling such designation may be helpful.  Many of the kitchen equipment and utensils will be permitted to use after koshering.  Koshering can be done by heating the item with a blowtorch or immersing it in boiling water.  The method of koshering will be dictated by the material the equipment is made of and/or its use. Once, it’s been decided which items need to be koshered, an appointment with rabbi needs to be made.

kosher-labels-LAccess to a kitchen for kashrut observance with two sinks, two stoves and separate working areas, would be ideal, but it’s not necessary! To ensure separation, there should be two sets of dishes, pots, trays, salt shakers, draining boards, draining racks, silverware, sponges, dish towels, tablecloths, cleanser and/or serving dishes. A practical way to accomplish this feat is planning the sets of meat and dairy utensils around a color scheme–red for meat and blue for dairy.  However, whatever color scheme works for you should be used!

Additionally, start separating your meat and dairy in the fridge.  Yes, every kitchen layout is different, but I’m sure there’s a way to make the necessary accommodations, even if that means having to get the creative juices flowing!

As you can see, I’m not expert on the ins and outs of a kosher kitchen.  I’m always open to hearing about personal touches and/or traditions that occur that I may overlooked.  Please share any stories that you feel comfortable with!

Photo Credit: The Kitchn and Jewish Recipes 

Sources: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kosherkitchen.html

http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm

http://judaism.wonderhowto.com/how-to/keep-kosher-272992/

Your Kosher Kitchen

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/82667/jewish/Koshering-Your-Kitchen.htm

Trans Fat


By: Nikki Nies DeepFat141Cafe

There are two types of trans fat, the naturally occurring and synthetically made trans fat.  Naturally occurring trans fat can derive from the gut of animals, such as milk and meat products.  The second type of trans fat, artificial trans fat or trans fatty acids are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make more solid.  The industry gravitate to use of trans fats in their foods as their inexpensive to use, provide more texture and taste and contain a longer shelf life, which means rancidity decreases and profit increases for food companies.

The good news: changes are coming with trans fat! Recently, the FDA announced complete elimination of trans fat.  Until those changes are implemented and permeates the system, it’s still important to be aware of how bad tarns fat really are and why reading nutrition food labels is more imperative than ever!Until the 1990’s, we didn’t know how bad trans fats are for the public.  However, with increased research and awareness of the impact, more and more products are providing consumers easy access to information on the fat content and a breakdown of the ingredients.

The caveat: Products are allowed to advertise themselves  if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving!

Why are trans fat so bad you ask?

  • Raises “bad” LDL cholesterol
  • Reduces “good” HDL cholesterol, which adds to the clogging of arteries
  • Increase lipoprotein and triglyceride levels
  • Increases risk for heart attack, stroke and/or diabetes

I’m glad to see the government is recognizing the harm of trans fat trumps any potential “benefits.” On a label, you may recognize the artificially made trans fats as “partially hydrogenated oils.”  Thankfully, as of November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration no longer recognizes partially hydrogenated oils as listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS)! Additionally, several nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Canada and jurisdictions, California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD, have taken measures that have either reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.

Until the new trans fat regulations are put into effect, how are you curbing your trans fat intake? What products have you been surprised to find contain artificially made trans fat?

Photo Credit: Stalking the wild breaded pork tenderloin in Iowa

Sources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/understanding-trans-fats

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/transfat.html

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079609.htm

MyPlate for Older Adults


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Source: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/hnfs/enafs/MyPlate.php

Portions ≠ Servings


By: Nikki NiesPortion-Control

Depending on where you live in the U.S. you may refer to Coca Cola or Sprite as soda, pop or soda pop.  To be honest, I still haven’t gotten used to hearing or interpreting pop as soda even though I’ve been living in the Mid West for the past year.

While soda and pop are synonymous, the same can’t be said about portions and servings.  Yes, it’s understandable how servings and portions could be used interchangeably, but it’s important to recognize the difference and not fall into the pitfalls of “sameness.”

Portion: amount of food we choose to eat

Serving Size: amount of food  recommended by the Dietary Guidelines

If you’re familiar with the Dietary Guidelines then your portions may be line with the suggested serving size.  However, too many people do not discern the difference.  Let’s use some practical application.  The Dietary Guidelines state a serving of pasta, rice and/or couscous is 1/3 of cup.  However, it’s common practice for one to fill the plate up with pasta, which can easily be at least a cup.  In essence, someone’s who’s eating a cup of pasta is eating three servings.

Notable serving sizes:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 6″ tortilla
  • 1/3 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or raw
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable or fruit juice
  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or  pear
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
  • 1 cup of milk or yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese (i.e. Cheddar)
  • 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
  • 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1/2 cup of tofu counts as 1 ounce of lean meat
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter  or 1/3 cup of nuts counts as 1 ounce of meat

My point is that it’s not a BAD thing to be eating grains, but to make sure you’re aware of how much you’re eating and how much in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines.  The issue that often comes up is that people are eating several servings for several or all their meals on a regular basis.

Motivated to decrease your portion size, but not sure how to start? The best way is to pull out your measuring cups and spoons.  We often times “eye” the amount of food we serve ourselves, but when making these portion changes, it’s good to have a good baseline.   Additionally, join the Smaller Plate Movement, which as its name suggests promotes the use of more appropriately sized plates, bowls and cups.

Worried that you’ll be starving with smaller portions? I wouldn’t worry yet! You might be surprised that you’re actually more satisfied with your meals with smaller portions because you really got to enjoy the meals.

I’ve written a lot about portion control on this blog, how portions have changed over the years to what a portion is, but all this information is relevant and important to know to make those permanent healthier lifestyle changes! What progress have you made lately?

Photo Credit: High Heeled Life

Sources:http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967941

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/distortion.htm

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/HealthierKids/HowtoMakeaHealthyHome/Portion-Size-Versus-Serving-Size_UCM_304051_Article.jsp

http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Nutrition-Labelling/Understanding-Portion-Sizes#.U_vegmRdXM0

http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/portion_size_vs_serving_size

https://www.pulseos.com/blog/body/body-mass/healthy-weight-portion-control/

Pesticides, Hormones, Antibiotics, Oh My!


hormones-in-dairy-meatBy: Nikki Nies

Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones are all words we try to shy away from, yet these organic compounds have become a ubiquitous part of our daily food products.  Pesticides are often times in produce, hormones in milk and antibiotics in meat.  While use of these products are intended to heed production and boost food supply, the many downsides of these added products make the argument to continue to use these products are to agree with.

While the testing of these additives has improved for researchers and testers to be able to better identify the contents of products, that has not led to delayed or removal of such products.  Researchers continue to find that the amounts of chemicals found have the potential to cause extensive harm to humans.

Impact of the added pesticides, hormones and antibiotics;

  • Hormones: Added hormones in young livestock leads to an increase in weight faster than normal–>more meat–>more $$; increase the dairy production in cows; most common: rBGH and synthetic estrogen and testosterone; specific concerns of the compound diethylstilbestrol (DES), which has been found to be injected in cows has been found to cause an increased risk of vaginal cancer in the offspring of women who received the medicine,
  • Pesticides: Are often used on many conventionally grown fruits and vegetables; EPA sets limits, also known as “tolerance” on how much pesticide residue can be left on food for consumption;  individual safety profiles don’t take into account the hazard from pesticide effects–while one pesticide may be within tolerance level, it’s hard to tell what the effect of over 32 pesticides combined; highest level of pesticides: peaches, celery, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, apples; by buying organic produce, one can reduce pesticide exposure
  • Antibiotics: farmers have been known to feed their livestock antibiotics to “plump” them up; it’s suspected this practice is contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, but it’s hard to differentiate which meats have been treated with antibiotics and which ones have not since meats are not required to be labeled; can opt for locally grown and/or organically grown 419688902_fresh_vbe3md_xlarge

A lot of the perceived harm related to products has been related to early stage puberty. Yet, there hasn’t been much substantial evidence of such occurences in industry led studies, only in independent studies.  With such inconclusive evidence, the European Union (EU) has banned all beef products.  The EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have banned any and all products that contain rBGH, while the U.S. has no major studies underway to test the safety of hormones in milk and meat.

While it’s known that these unwanted additives can be harmful, it’s still unknown how much of these hormones, pesticides and antibiotics can cause harm. There are a lot of natural hormones found in food, so it can be hard to differentiate between natural and added.

Solution: When possible, buy locally.   It’s not realistic to think people will buy organically, as the cost is often times double the price of conventional foods.  However, by purchasing locally grown foods, one can ask the farmers directly what pesticides, hormones and/or antibiotics were used on the products sold.  Hopefully, the answer is zero, but at least one can get a quick, direct answer.

Furthermore, locally grown produce is the freshest, most direct way to buy produce and is a “greener” route to go as it decreases the amount of wasted fuel, pollution and greenhouse gases produced.  Google your next local farmer’s market as there creeping up more and more beyond just the weekends!

Sources: http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs37.hormones.cfms

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/safer-food-healthier-you

http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/impactantibiotics.html

http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/about-sarep/def

http://seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-foods/hormones-gmos-harms/

http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/bookstore/foodqa/ch6/6-13.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Food_pesticides_and_other_chemicals

http://www.sodahead.com/living/would-you-be-able-to-eat-only-locally-grown-food-for-a-month/question-1811389/

Healthy Eating in College


eating_healthy_in_college1By: Nikki Nies

With the impending semester upon us, it’s never too early to talk about healthy dining on campus.  While freshmen are often times required to buy a meal plan with tuition, those living in nearby apartments or are juggling school and home responsibilities, the stress of school can quickly get to students.  Unfortunately, the first habit to go is eating healthy.  Yet, it doesn’t make sense to opt for cheesy fries that don’t have as much energy producing qualities as a strawberry banana smoothie when the time crunch is really being felt!

I admit, I find myself eating on the go more often than not, but that doesn’t mean I’m going through McDonald’s drive thru or grabbing a Hot Pocket out of the microwave on my way out! With careful planning before the work load gets into the “meat” of things, you can set up your semester with some healthier options.

Planning ahead for upcoming semester, trimester or quarter, use the following suggestions for long term use:

  • Have a mini fridge in your dorm and/or access to fridge in apartment or suite for on the go breakfast items, such as a piece of fruit, yogurt,string cheese and/or pb&j  to store leftovers and to have produce on hand!
  • Opt for “healthier” options at fast food chains.  Order salads with dressings on the side, pizza with half the cheese, roast beef sandwich, sweet potato and/or fruit cup.  Limit the high fat, greasier options, such as French fries, fish sandwiches and/or fried chicken.
  • Monitor your sugar intake, which tend to quickly add up quickly.  Often times, coffee creamers, cookies, cocktails, cereals are packed with sugar.  Not sure how to check the sugar content? Here’s how to read a nutrition fact label.
  • Keep your room or apartment stocked with healthier snacks so you’re not tempted to head for the vending machines or order late night pizza.  Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes, whole wheat crackers, hummus and/or granola.
  • Keep a reusable water bottle on hand!  It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day.  It’s common for people to mistake thirst for hunger, plus drinking regular bouts of water can keep you focused.
  • Take advantage of the dining hall’s salad bar! Fill up on fresh fruits and veggies, but go easy on the salad dressing!  Vegetables are very filling for few calories!cafeteria
  • Attempt to eat meals on a consistent basis.  Yes, college is known to be hectic and one may not always a have a set schedule, but eat when you’re hungry and avoid skipping meals as much as possible.
  • Recognize your body’s cues.  I understand it’s a lot easier said than done, but listen to your body as it tells you when it’s hungry and when it’s full.  No need to overeat, that’s what leftovers are for!
  • Recognize portion sizes and stick to them.  You often need less food than you think or may like to fill you up! You’ll let meals stretch longer, while sticking to the recommended portion sizes.
  • Limit alcohol intake.  Alcohol is packed with calories, but provides few nutrients.
  • If you’re going grocery shopping.  Mix it up! It’s easy to get bored eating the same meals day after day and to opt for late night pizza, but don’t give in!
  • Fill up on calcium. Just because you’ve graduated high school, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done growing.  Make sure to eat enough calcium rich foods to continue to prevent osteoporosis. You don’t have to be entirely dependent on milk for your calcium, so keep on hand low fat yogurt, green leafy vegetables and/or low fat cheese
  • If you’re out and your stomach’s growling, don’t feel guilty about grabbing fast food.  Sometimes you have to eat what’s available, eating fast food once in a while isn’t going to kill you.  It’s when such habits become a weekly and then daily habit one should worry.

Yes, this is a lot of information to remember, but you don’t have to add all these suggestions tomorrow.  People tend to be more successful long term with small, gradual changes.

Photo Crdit: Diets in Review and Healthy eating in College

Sources:https://www.med.umich.edu/pfans/docs/tip-2012/budget-0812.pdf

http://www.clarke.edu/page.aspx?id=6510

http://jdrf.org/life-with-t1d/college/top-10-tips-for-eating-healthy-in-college/

http://bestfoodsforyourhealthfrieda.blogspot.com/2013/10/shrink-your-belly-in-14-days-routine.html

Food for thought: The challenge of healthy eating on campus

http://www.healthline.com/health/fast-food-effects-on-body