Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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

Importance of Breakfast

You have heard the adage before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  Is it though?  Let’s look at some data:

  • Individuals who eat breakfast have higher intakes of vitamins and minerals like fiber, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients (Nicklas, Bao, Webber & Berrenson, 1993).
  • Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function and academic performance, and reduced absenteeism (Taras, 2005).

Taking a little time for breakfast can make a big difference even if you are in a hurry.  Here are some quick grab and go breakfast ideas: a nutrition and a piece of fruit, yogurt with nuts or overnight oats packed in a to-go container.  If you have more time, try making scrambled or hard boiled eggs with a piece of whole grain toast.

For more great breakfast ideas, download the Time for Breakfast brochure. The brochure was created by Alexandra Kummerer, an undergraduate nutrition major at Penn State.

Health Promotion and Wellness now accepting applications for peer educators

Health Promotion and Wellness is currently accepting applications for HealthWorks, a peer outreach and education program at University Park. The deadline to apply is March 2.

HealthWorks offers two unique opportunities for students who are interested in health and wellness. These opportunities include facilitating one-on-one wellness services and conducting outreach events and educational workshops. During the application process students prioritize which opportunity they are most interested in.

Participation in the program is a three semester commitment, which includes one semester of training (during fall 2018)  and two semesters of service. For this reason, students who wish to apply must plan to graduate in fall 2019 or later.

Training for the program requires the completion of a three-credit course offered through Biobehavioral Health in the fall semester.  Students learn about the following topics in the course: alcohol and other drugs, financial literacy, sexual health, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress. There are no prerequisites required to register for the course.

After completing the 3-credit course, participants are required to complete 45 hours of service each semester. Members participate in one of two opportunities:  1) deliver free wellness services about stress and time management, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, sexual health and healthy relationships, and financial literacy;  or 2)  conduct educational workshops, hold outreach events, plan and implement health promotion initiatives.  A few examples of the health promotion initiatives include conducting healthy cooking demonstrations, writing blog and social media posts for Healthy Penn State and appearing in The Body Monologues.   A small group of students are trained to provide HIV test counseling.

If you’re passionate about health and promoting the well-being of all Penn State students, then HealthWorks is a great fit for you,” said Christina Volpicelli, a senior majoring in biobehavioral health.  “HealthWorks also offers many leadership and learning opportunities for its members such as video editing, leading health campaigns, public speaking and teaching skills to educate the Penn State community.  Everything you will learn and the people you will meet through this organization will benefit you throughout any career you wish to pursue.”

For more information about HealthWorks, including an application, please visit  http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/wellness/healthWorks.shtml.

 

Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping and Cooking…Oh My!

Meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking for yourself can be exciting but it can be overwhelming.  Healthy eating, when cooking for yourself, is possible when you are on a college student budget.

Let’s explore ways you can plan out meals for the week:

  1. Map out meals for the week.
  2. Know what foods you have on hand already.
  3. Think about your schedule.  Choose meals that are easy to prepare on busy days and save longer recipes for weekends or days when you have more time.
    • Cook several meals at once when you have free time.  In other words, make lasagna or a casserole that can be used for several meals. The extra food can be reheated or finished after a busy day.
    • Use a crockpot to create meals that are ready when you get home.
    • Check out nutritious and delicious recipes and view cooking videos on www.healthypennstate.psu.edu for ideas.
  4. Make a grocery list
    • Can use scratch paper, templates or mobile apps.
    • Keep an ongoing list in your kitchen or on your phone.

Discover Intuitive Eating

Do you find yourself dieting frequently, feeling guilt after eating certain foods, or setting up rules for yourself surrounding eating patterns?  Do you often feel like you’ve failed when it comes to eating and weight?  If you identify with any of these concerns, you may want to consider intuitive eating.  It’s not a diet, rather it’s a way of eating that encourages you to make peace with food.  Intuitive eating can help you achieve the natural weight that is the best fit for you. There are 10 “rules” that will help you to ditch diets and start enjoying your food, your body and your life.

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality: Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. They don’t work.
  2. Honor Your Hunger: Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.
  3. Make Peace with Food: Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing.
  4. Challenge the Food Police: Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating under 1000 calories or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.
  5. Respect Your Fullness: Listen to the signals from your body that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that you’re comfortably full.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content, likely with less food.
  7. Honor Your Feelings without Using Food: Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues and emotions without using food.
  8. Respect Your Body: Accept your genetic blueprint. A person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six. The same is true for body size. Learn to feel better about the body that you have.
  9. Exercise and Feel the Difference: Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Focus on how it feels to move your body, instead of how it “feels” to burn calories.
  10. Honor Your Health With Gentle Nutrition: Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters; progress not perfection is what counts.

If you’d like more help with planning a healthy well-balanced diet, make an appointment with a dietitian at by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting our website.  Nutrition visits are free for all Penn State students.

Source: Resch, E, Tribole, E. Retrieved from Intuitive Eating.

The Wellness Suite

Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) has new space. The Wellness Suite is in 20 IM building, downstairs and next to Adventure Recreation.  The Wellness Suite offers many great resources for students including walking maps, Manage Stress workbooks, Smart & Safe at State guides, and free wellness services.
The wellness services are designed to help you set goals, develop skills and enhance your health behaviors.  The topics include: nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress (with an emphasis on time management or relaxation strategies), healthy relationships and financial wellness. HealthWorks peer educators facilitate the sessions.  The services were developed using research-based models.  Each service is designed to help students increase knowledge and learn new skills that contribute to healthy behaviors and academic success.   Schedule an appointment by calling 814-863-0461.
In the suite, you will find an area with tables, comfy chairs, and a relaxation room.  It’s the prefect place to study or chill out in the middle of a busy day.  The relaxation room features coloring pages and colored pencils, meditation information, a zen garden, and biofeedback software. Visit the Wellness Suite this semester, open MondayFriday 8am-5pm.

Snacks

Looking for new healthy snack ideas? You’ve come to the right place! These snacks are convenient, delicious and will keep your energy up between classes.   Below is a list of healthy snacks that contain both carbohydrates and protein to fuel your body and help fill you up between meals, classes and meetings.

  • Trail mix (nuts, dried fruit & whole grain cereal)
  • Yogurt and berries
  • Pita chips with carrots and hummus
  • Cheese cubes and whole grain crackers
  • Pretzels or an apple and nut butter
  • Nut butter and crackers
  • Nutrition Bar

De-Stress at the Wellness Suite

Enjoy end-of-semester activities at the new Wellness Suite! Visit 20 Intramural Building for stress relieving activities this week. Bring your friends and enjoy an hour of fun.

Monday, November 27th from 6-7pm, enjoy putting together puzzles and prepare your breakfast for the next morning. Learn and make your very own Overnight Oats! If you can’t make tonight’s activity, how about Thursday?  On Thursday, November 30th from 6-7pm make your very own stress ball. Something we could all use as finals approach. Check back in for more updates about activities happening in the wellness suite!

Healthy and Affordable Off-Campus Eating

College students often say that cost is one of the biggest barriers to eating nutritious foods. So we’ve got some tips that will help fuel your body for academic success without breaking the bank.

Cook your own food

Convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant rice, oatmeal, or grits cost more than if you prepare them from scratch. And meals cooked at home cost much less than eating out at a restaurant. Cooking at home eliminates the tax and tip at restaurants, and leftovers can be used for a second meal.

Grocery shop with a plan

Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which “stretch” expensive items into more portions. Make a list of foods you need for the week and stick to it. This will decrease over buying and buying on impulse.

Visit your local farmer’s market

Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. This can help you save some cash and the produce tastes fresh.

Compare and contrast

Most grocery stores provide “price stickers” on the shelf for every item.  The “price sticker “includes the unit price, or how much the product costs per pound, quart, or some other unit of measurement. Purchase the product with the lowest unit price to maximize your savings.

Buy in bulk

It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish, and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables.

Choose low-cost options

Some foods are low-cost all year round. Beans are inexpensive and high in protein. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens or potatoes. Apples and bananas are good fruit choices.

Meal prep!

Prepare a large batch of your favorite recipes on your day off or the weekend. Freeze in individual containers or use throughout the week.

Get creative with leftovers

Spice up your leftovers by using them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad. You could even make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away your money!

If you’d like more help with planning an affordable nutritious diet, make an appointment with a dietitian by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting the UHS website.

Healthy living starts with you

Health Promotion and Wellness offers a 12-week weight management program for students.  Participants meet individually with a registered dietitian six times to discuss personal dietary and fitness goals.  Students with the following health needs are encouraged to enroll in the program:

  • Prediabetes
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Overweight/Obese
  • Metabolic Syndrome

This is a great time to start building healthy habits for life! Learn more by calling 814.863.0461 to make an appointment.

Supplements vs. Food: Who Wins?

With multiple nutrition supplement chain stores opening in State College, many students may be wondering whether or not they should take supplements.  The number of protein powders and vitamin supplements on the market can definitely cause consumers to feel confused and overwhelmed. Don’t worry, a dietitian can help you to become a more informed consumer!

Many students find protein powders to be a fast and convenient source of nutrition. Whey protein, which contains branched chain amino acids, is a popular protein powder. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that food and medication are regulated. Supplements can be put on the market without any proof that they are safe or that they work. The FDA can remove the product from the market later if they deem it to be unsafe.  The good news is that animal and vegetable sources of protein can meet all of your protein needs. If your goal is to build muscle, be sure to get a variety of protein from foods like chicken, fish, lean beef, low-fat dairy, nuts, tofu and beans. Fast and convenient food sources of protein include individually packaged servings of tuna, chicken, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, peanut butter, hummus, and trail mix.  The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is [0.8 x your body weight in kg = _____ g protein/day].

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, most people can meet their nutritional needs by eating a well-balanced diet. Researchers have found that fruits and vegetables have protective properties that prevent cancer, while vitamins supplements do not.

The bottom line: Real food is the best fuel source for your body, and most healthy people can meet all of their nutritional needs with food alone. Your energy levels are best when you eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. If you’d like more help with planning a healthy well-balanced diet, make an appointment with a dietitian by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting the UHS website.