Vegetarian Taco Salad

by Ashley Hassett, HealthWorks Peer Educator

This colorful and zesty vegetarian taco salad tastes amazing! Packed with protein and fiber from the beans, this recipe will keep you satisfied and energized.

Makes: 6 servings, about 1 ½ cups each

Total time: 40 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges for garnish




  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
  3. Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, garnish with lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa at the table.

See the link below for photos and more delicious recipes.

Eat Well in Pollock Dining Commons


Learn how to create a well balanced meal while eating on campus in the dining commons. Maggie Dempsey, a HealthWorks Peer Educator, will give you a brief tour of Pollock Dining Commons and share with you how to choose foods that make up a well balanced meal. You can create many different delicious meals suited to your taste buds by following these guidelines.

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

Delicious mushroom caps with  tomato sauce, spinach and grape tomatoes topped with mozzarella cheese.
Delicious mushroom caps with tomato sauce, spinach and grape tomatoes topped with mozzarella cheese.

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

by Marina Kakavelos

This is a healthy, delicious, and easy alternative to pizza that’s also wheat free! The best part is that it’s completely customizable so feel free to experiment with your own favorite pizza combinations. I decided to top mine with mozzarella cheese, spinach and grape tomatoes. This recipe feeds 2 but again, it’s easily adjustable for a dinner party of any size!


To start out, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Then, gather the following ingredients:


  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps (many grocery stores sell them in packs of 2-5 in plastic wrap for under $5)


  • 1 small jar of pizza or tomato sauce of any kind


  • ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese


  • 2 cups of raw baby spinach


  • A small container of grape tomatoes


  1. Scoop out some of the insides of the mushrooms with a tablespoon, deepening the space for your fillings
  2. Spoon as much tomato sauce as desired into the mushrooms, leaving space for the rest of your toppings
  3. Add the spinach leaves on top of the sauce, followed by your shredded cheese
  4. Cut the grape tomatoes into halves and place on top of the cheese
  5. Place your mushrooms in a lightly greased casserole dish, and bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and golden)
  6. Take the dish out of the oven and let the mushrooms cool for about 10 minutes, they’ll be extremely hot!
  7. Enjoy your mushrooms with a fork and knife, or put them in the refrigerator and eat them like a regular slice of pizza!


Bon Appétit!

Zucchini, Fennel, and White Bean Pasta

by Ashley Hassett

Fresh mint and cheese make this healthy pasta dish delicious! Plus it contains almost half the daily recommended value of Vitamin C and Calcium, which is great for protecting the immune system and helping to support strong bone health. Each serving also contains 12g of fiber. Fiber is great for regulating the digestive system and helping to control blood sugar levels. It also helps you feel full longer. Go ahead and dig in!


Makes: 4 servings, about 2 ¼ cup each

Total Time: 40 minutes




  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus 1/2 cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Quarter zucchini lengthwise. Toss the fennel and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  5. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add the vegetables, beans and bean-cooking liquid (or other liquid) to the pan with the garlic and place over medium-low heat. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan. Toss thoroughly and add tomatoes; toss until just warm. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and mint. Season with pepper.

Click for photos and more delicious recipes!


Free Yoga Classes to Continue This Summer

As if you needed another reason to stay at PSU this summer:

UHS will continue to offer free yoga classes from May 20  July 15! Join us Wednesdays 4-5 pm in 205 Student Health Center to learn yoga basics with instructor Anna Engels. Whether you’re taking summer classes, working, or just hanging out, yoga can help you relax and improve fitness & flexibility. No fitness membership is required, and yoga mats are provided.

Free Yoga Classes- Summer 2015

Penn State Student Health Assessment Report- Spring 2014

Are PSU students catching enough Zzzs? Eating their fruits and veggies? Getting enough exercise?

If you’re curious about the answers to those questions and more, look no further than the Spring 2014 Penn State Student Health Assessment Report. This report provides a snapshot of PSU students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions based on data collected as part of a national survey organized by the American College Health Association.

The report highlights results of this survey for Penn State. In March 2014, a random sample of 10,500 University Park undergraduate students was contacted by email and invited to complete the online survey. A total of 1,624 students completed surveys, with an overall response rate of 15.5%. When compared to the overall University Park student population, females, White students, and Asian students were over-represented among the survey respondents. As a result, caution should be taken when interpreting these data as they may not accurately reflect the health and health behaviors of the University Park student population as a whole.

Rx Medications: They’re Prescription for a Reason!

As finals approach, it isn’t uncommon to see frazzled-looking students camping out at the library, spending hours at the computer lab, or waiting in long lines for coffee. But what about prescription stimulant abuse? How often do students take these drugs without a prescription, and what should you know about these medications?

Prescription stimulant medications like Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Concerta are drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When used under medical supervision, these medications can benefit people diagnosed with ADHD. Prescription stimulant misuse and abuse occur when people use the medications incorrectly or without a prescription. According to the American College Health Association’s Spring 2014 National College Health Assessment, approximately 8.3% of college students reported using Rx stimulants that weren’t prescribed to them within the last 12 months. That means that the majority of college students don’t use prescription stimulants that aren’t prescribed to them, and for good reason:

  • Prescription stimulants can cause negative side effects like nausea, anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia. That’s why they’re only safe when used under medical supervision.1
  • Prescription stimulant drugs are classified as Schedule II controlled substances (like meth and cocaine) that may lead to psychological or physical dependence.2
  • Possessing prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed to you is against federal and state laws, as well as Penn State policy.
  • Research shows that prescription stimulants have little to no beneficial effect on learning, memory, and cognitive performance in students who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD.3, 4


  1. MedlinePlus, 2010
  2. US Drug Enforcement Agency
  3. Ilieva, I., Boland, J., & Farah, M.J. (2013). Objective and subjective cognitive enhancing effects of mixed amphetamine salts in healthy people. Neuropharmacology, 64, 496-505.
  4. Smith, M.E. & Farah, M.J. (2011). Are prescription stimulants “smart pills”? The epidemiology and cognitive neuroscience of prescription stimulant use by normal healthy individuals. Psychological Bulletin, 137(5), 717-741.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

One in 5 women and one in 16 men has been sexually assaulted while in college,1 and an estimated 90% of sexual assaults among college students are never reported.2

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) aims to address these serious issues. A national health observance that takes place annually in April, SAAM has served as a rallying call to people and organizations across the US to prevent sexual violence since 2001.

This year’s SAAM theme, “Safer Campuses, Brighter Futures: It’s time to act! Prevent sexual violence.” puts the spotlight on college and universities and encourages college students, faculty, staff, and administrators to become educated about sexual violence and take action to prevent it.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Visit the SAAM website to learn how you can play a role in sexual violence prevention.
  • Use your voice to make an impact. Talk to friends about sexual violence. Write a letter to the editor of the Collegian. Use #SAAM on social media to spread the word.
  • Become familiar with the Penn State Center for Women Students and its services for students who have been impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, harassment, and other campus climate issues.
  • Participate in one of the many events UPUA is sponsoring as part of Penn State’s Sexual Violence Awareness Week.


  1. Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, V. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007) The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study (NCJ 221153). Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:
  2. Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G., (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:

Four Reasons to GYT for STDs

Not sure if you should get yourself tested (GYT) for STDs? Here are just a few reasons why it’s a good idea:

  1. STDs are more common than you might think. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about half of all new STDs (that’s 10 million cases per year!) occur in people between the ages of 15-24. If you’ve had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, you could be at risk.
  2. Getting tested can give you peace of mind. While you might feel nervous about getting tested, it’s the only way of knowing your STD status for sure. After all, most people who have an STD don’t experience symptoms. Getting tested means you won’t have to wonder.
  3. If a test does come back positive, you can get treated. The good news is that if caught early, many STDs are curable and all are treatable. Knowing your status and getting treatment can decrease the chance that you’ll spread an STD to others or experience medical complications later on.
  4. It’s the responsible thing to do. Getting tested regularly can protect your health and the health of others. Better yet, having a conversation with your partner about getting tested shows that you care about their well-being. Find tips to get yourself talking

Are you convinced yet? Here’s where to get tested on campus:

University Health Services, Student Health Center, 814-863-0774

  • Appointment-based testing for various STDs
  • Self-testing (walk-in) for chlamydia and gonorrhea

Health Promotion and Wellness, 201 Student Health Center, 814-863-0461

  • Free HIV testing

Thank You to Our Student Staff

FoamBoard Sign w Names 2015Update


As the semester winds down, we’d like to take a moment to recognize and thank our student staff at University Health Services for their dedication throughout the 2014-15 academic year.

Each day our clinic and physical therapy volunteers, HealthWorks peer educators, and EMTs are hard at work assisting patients, educating students to make healthy decisions, and providing vital services for the campus and local community. Their efforts are instrumental to University Health Services’ ability to heal, educate, and care for students and the Penn State community.

Thank you to all of our student staff—we wouldn’t be able to do it without you!