Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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

A Consistent Sleep Schedule may Lead to a Healthier Diet

If you average about 7-9 hours of sleep per night, your sleep habits are probably already in good shape. However, new research says that you might still benefit from fine tuning your sleep schedule.

A study conducted by Penn State researchers and presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting suggests that the consistency of your sleep schedule, in addition to the average number of hours you sleep per night, may influence eating habits.

The study, which examined teenagers’ sleep and dietary habits, found that participants averaged 7 hours of sleep a night. However, teens with irregular sleeping patterns (for example, getting too little sleep one night and sleeping in the next night), ate more calories and were more likely to snack than teens with regular sleeping patterns.

In fact, participants consumed 210 additional calories (think a small slice of pizza or a candy bar) for every hour of difference in sleep night-to-night. Over time these differences could add up—check out the example sleep schedules below to see how.

Although more research on this topic is sure to come, getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule seem like good steps toward better habits and health.

sleep schedule comparison

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

All of the spice and flavor you look for when thinking Mexican for dinner, but completely vegetarian! Simple, fresh and packed with veggies and protein!


  • 1 bell pepper (red, green, yellow, or orange)
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 sweet onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 oz pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup corn (fresh or canned)
  • chili envelope (or dash of chili powder, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper)
  • slice of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp plain greek yogurt (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)


  • baking sheet
  • medium skillet
  • spoon
  • fork


  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F and spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Wash outside of pepper, cut in half and remove seeds.
  3. Chop onion and garlic.
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat; sauté olive oil, onions and garlic for 3 min.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes, corn and spices to skillet.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the bell pepper and cover with cheese.
  7. Bake in oven until cheese melts and pepper begins to brown.
  8. Top with yogurt and hot sauce if desired.

Recipe adapted from

Steroid Abuse Not a Healthy Shortcut to Fitness

steroidLance Armstrong. Marion Jones. A-Rod. Almost everyone has seen headlines exposing famous athletes caught in illegal steroid abuse scandals. While less commonly discussed, steroid abuse is also a concern for the “regular Joes” of the population.

Steroids (full name anabolic androgenic steroids) are substances that mimic testosterone. They are used medically for their ability to stimulate the development of muscle tissue and male sexual characteristics.1 Some individuals abuse these substances, using them not for medical purposes, but to quickly increase muscle mass. Luckily, steroid abuse appears to be relatively uncommon—research estimates that 3-4% of men abuse steroids at some point in their lives. However, the prevalence of steroid abuse is estimated to be higher among regular gym-goers.2

Individuals who use steroids without a prescription and those considering it should be aware of the negative consequences of steroid abuse. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies steroids as a Schedule III controlled substance; the penalty for possessing steroids without a prescription is a minimum $1,000 fine and maximum of one year in prison for first drug offenses. Additionally, steroid abuse has been linked to many negative health consequences. Short term effects can include acne, baldness, breast development in males, and shrinking of the testicles. Long term effects can include infertility, heart problems, and liver cancer.1

Gains in fitness don’t happen overnight— getting in shape requires patience and dedication. If good old fashioned hard work and sweat alone aren’t cutting it, here are three resources that Penn State University Park offers to help students get fit naturally:

1. Fitness Center Orientations- Learn what the Rec Hall, Intramural, and White Building Fitness Centers have to offer with a free Fitness Center Orientation! Whether you just need a lay-of-the-land or want to learn how to use equipment, fitness center members can sign up for one free session per facility. See a fitness training or desk attendant for details.

2. Personal Training- Stay motivated and reach your fitness goals with a personalized exercise program designed by Campus Recreation’s qualified Personal Trainers. Single sessions, as well as 5 and 10-session packages are available. An initial fitness assessment is included in 5 and 10-session packages. Each session is 60 minutes one-on-one with your personal trainer. You must have a fitness center membership or purchase a day pass in order to use training sessions. Sign up at the Rec Hall, White Building, or IM Fitness Centers. Contact Erin Raupers at with questions.

  • 1 session: $25 (Student), $33 (Faculty/Staff)
  • 5 sessions: $112.50 (Student), $150 (Faculty/Staff)
  • 10 sessions: $200 (Student), $280 (Faculty/Staff)

3. Nutrition Counseling- Healthy eating and exercise go hand-in-hand, and individual nutrition counseling at UHS can help. You’ll meet one-on-one with a registered dietitian who will tailor your diet to meet your personal health needs. Make an appointment on the UHS website or by calling 814-863-0461. Costs vary by insurances.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006
  2. Rahnema et al., 2014

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.