Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Healthy eating in college is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Eating Healthy during the Holidays

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays often mean family, friends, and plenty of food. Because holiday treats aren’t exactly known for their nutritional value, it can be tricky to maintain a healthy diet. Here are some tips to help you navigate your next holiday gathering:

  • Eat a healthy snack (try our yogurt parfait or trail mix) before a big meal or get-together. This can reduce the chance that you’ll overeat.
  • Take time to savor your food. Eat slowly so you can enjoy the flavors of your holiday favorites.
  • Give yourself time to re-assess your hunger before going back for seconds. Catch up with relatives or watch a favorite movie to stay occupied.
  • Quench your thirst with water (refreshing AND zero calorie) instead of beverages like cider or punch.
  • If you do overindulge, don’t despair! Move on and resolve to do better at the next gathering.

How to Make a Turkey Burger

Living healthier is about the small choices, and today, our latest recipe illustrates one of those simple choices to make: lean turkey over the fattier kinds of meat.

Watch as our HealthWorks volunteers cook up a turkey burger.  This recipe can be customized to your tastes by adding vegetables, spices, or cheese.

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below about what you did to make it yours.

How to Make Sweet Potato Fries

If you’re cooking up the turkey burger or black bean burger recipes we’ve posted lately, you’ll want to follow this next recipe for the perfect complementary side dish: sweet potato fries.

Sure, you can buy sweet potato fries in the frozen food section, but making them fresh yourself means you’ll know what goes into making them.

Watch our HealthWorks peer health educator whip up a batch of sweet potato fries in our latest cooking video.

How to Make a Black Bean Burger

Grilling season is here!  If you’re looking for a healthier burger to bite into, our HealthWorks volunteers have the perfect recipe for you.  Try this Black Bean Burger recipe as a meatless option that’s high in protein.

Load your burger up with tomato, lettuce, pickles, and other veggies to get more of your recommended daily servings of vegetables.  If you opt for a bun, try a whole wheat or whole grain bun to complement this healthy alternative.

Have you tried this black bean burger recipe? Let us know in the comments what you think!

For more cooking videos like this, visit our Healthy Recipes for College page.

Healthy Superbowl Party Recipes: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Next up in our series of healthy Superbowl party dishes is our recipe for Black Bean and Corn Salsa.  Not only is this recipe delicious, it’s easy to make – no kitchen appliances needed.  Make it fresh right before your guests come or let it sit in the fblack bean and corn salsaridge for an hour so it can absorb its flavors.

 Black Bean and Corn Salsa (Adapted from


1 (15 ounce) can yellow corn, drained

1 (15 ounce) can white corn, drained

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

4 roma tomatoes, chopped

5 green onions, finely sliced

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup lime juice

1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced

2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Wash and rinse your vegetables.  Chop the onion, green onions, and bell pepper into small chunks.  Add them to a serving bowl (this dish’s colors are visually appetizing, so you may want to add it to a glass serving bowl, if you have one.)
  2. Next, peel and dice your avocado.   For tips on how to peel an avocado, check out our previous blog post.
  3. Rinse all of your beans and corn in a strainer under water.  Add them to the mixture.
  4. Finally, lightly stir in your lime juice.  Be sure not to crush your avocado chunks.
  5. When ready to serve, add the olive oil and stir gently.


Serve with baked tortilla tips or pita bread.



Healthy Superbowl Party Recipes: Homemade Guacamole

The Superbowl is this weekend, and besides debating who will win, you may also be wondering what to make for your Superbowl Watch Party.

This week, we have just the thing: a series of recipes that are perfect, healthy snacks to have on hand for the big game.

First up, we recommend making a guacamole dip.  It’s an easy recipe to make that also packs a lot of nutrients.  The Mayo Clinic says avocados are both high in monounsaturated fat and a good source of lutein, which is an antioxidant that may protect vision.   We also like this recipe because it’s easy to make: no fancy kitchen appliances needed.  Just have a spoon, knife and bowl on hand.homemade guacamole recipe

Guacamole Dip (Adapted from

  • 3 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed.
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Start by peeling your avocado.  Want an easy way to peel it?  Slice it in half around the pit.  Then, pull the avocado apart to reveal the pit inside. With your chopping knife, cut into the pit and twist the knife.  The pit should pop right out onto the knife.  Then, instead of peeling the avocado, make your slices directly into the avocado halves.  Slice both horizontally and vertically.  When done slicing, flip the skin inside out and scoop out the diced avocado chunks into your bowl. Repeat for your other half.
  • Mash up your avocado to a consistency you want.  Some people like their guac a little more chunky while others like it creamier.
  • Dice your tomato and onion.  Mix these into the avocado paste.
  • Cut your lime in half and squeeze both halves over the bowl.
  • Chop your garlic into small pieces and mix into the bowl.
  • Chop your cilantro and evenly to the mixture.
  • Add your pinch of cilantro and mix in.

Once you’re done, you can either refrigerate the guac for an hour or serve it immediately.

You may notice that guacamole turns brown in a relatively short time.  While adding the lime juice and mixing the guac can help, be sure not to leave it out too long and eat it within a day or so.

How to Make a Healthy Yogurt Parfait

Today, HealthWorks is going to show us how to make a healthy yogurt parfait that’s perfect as a study snack during finals or before a big test.

This recipe is simple, but the nutrients in it help with memory and iron absorption.

Healthy Yogurt Parfait Recipe

2 tbsp granola

1/4 cup washed blueberries

6 oz. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt


How to eat healthy in college

As college students, making nutritious choices for your meals can be difficult but not impossible.  Students are often pressed for time and have a limited income, but that doesn’t mean your health should suffer. We’ve compiled some tips for making healthier meal choices – no matter where you live.students at the dining hall

For students with meal plans, the dining halls at Penn State offer a variety of meal options.  If you’re overwhelmed by the options, a little bit of meal planning can go a long way.  To plan your meals, check out the menus that are listed online every day.  There, you’ll see the nutrition information for each meal as well as any ingredients, in case you have any food allergies.  By pre-selecting your food based on this information, you’ll be less likely to make impulsive or uninformed decisions in the dining hall.

In a hurry?  Scan the menus or meal options in the halls for the RHEAL carrot symbol.  Recently added, the RHEAL carrot is a quick and easy way to see which options are healthier for main carrot symboldishes, sides, and soups.  Try to stick to these options.

Living off campus is often the first time students become responsible for their own cooking and meal preparation.  Try these tips to nourish your body and make it stronger:

  1. Add fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks.   Buy them in season to save money.
  2. Choose baked or grilled chicken or fish when eating out and pair it with veggies or a salad.
  3. Stock up on healthy snacks like raw veggies, dried fruit, yogurt, nuts, or instant oatmeal, to have between classes or for late night study sessions to help you avoid ordering out.
  4. Choose super salads at restaurants that are full of color and packed with nutrients.  Don’t forget to ask for the salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount you use.
  5. Go for the smaller burgers at fast-food chains versus the 1/3 pound burgers.  Top them with condiments like ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomato instead of mayo, cheese, and bacon.
  6. Aim for eating whole grain bread, pasta, bagels, and crackers when available to increase fiber intake and provide energy longer.
  7. Pair calcium rich foods like Greek yogurt or string cheese with your snack and get a boost of protein from it, too.

What other tips do you have for eating healthy in college? Leave them below in our comments section!

How to Make Vegetable Salsa

Our latest cooking video shows you how to make a healthy batch of salsa with whole wheat pita chips.  Salsa is a great dip option because it’s packed with vegetables.  Choose a salsa like this that’s fresh over creamy dips for a healthier option.

For more cooking videos like this, visit our Healthy Recipes for College page.