Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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

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. Tuesday, November 14th join HealthWorks and Healthy Penn State Ambassadors from 6-7pm to color and create your own trail mix as part of de-stressing before finals. On Wednesday, stop by the suite for game night 7:30-8:30pm. Bring your friends and enjoy an hour of fun. More activities scheduled for after break! Check in for updates.

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.

Eating in Season

Gardens and farmer’s markets are bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year.  Eating seasonal produce not only provides you the freshest fruits and vegetables but also contributes to sustainable practices.  Buying local produce means a decrease in transportation time and a corresponding decrease in CO2 production.  Eating seasonally often saves money as well because prices are lower when crops are in abundance.  Below is a seasonal chart showing the growing season for different produce in Pennsylvania.  The chart shows the months when the produce is available to purchase and eat.  The Downtown Farmer’s Market on Locust St. is Tuesday and Friday from 11:30 am – 5:30 pm. Check out the Healthy Eating tab for different ways to prepare many of these foods.

Health Promotion and Wellness offers individual wellness services

Health Promotion and Wellness is now offering free Wellness Services for students. The services are designed to help students increase knowledge and learn new skills that contribute to healthy behaviors and academic success.  Services are available for:

  • Financial Wellness
  • Healthy Relationships and Sexual Health
  • Nutrition/Healthy Eating
  • Physical Activity
  • Sleep
  • Stress (Relaxation and Time Management)

Each service includes three 1-hour sessions. Trained peer educators deliver the services. Students can schedule an appointment by calling 814.863.0461.  The services are located in the Wellness Suite, 20 Intramural Building.

Navigating the Dining Commons

Eating a healthy meal in the dining commons can feel overwhelming with all the choices.  You are offered an all you care to eat buffet as well as individual food stations.  How do you get started?

One helpful way to approach the dining commons is to first review the online menu.  If you plan ahead, you can make a healthier and balanced meal.  If you don’t have time to view the online menus ahead of time, use the MyPlate concept when approaching the food station.  For a balanced meal,fill  ½ your plate with fruits and vegetables, ¼ of your plate with grains and another ¼ of your plate with protein.  Don’t forget the healthy fats!

Look for the RHEAL program in the dining commons.    RHEAL stands for Residential Healthy Eating and Living.  This program is designed to help students identify foods that are healthier options.   Look for the sign with the carrot on it. For more information, click here RHEAL .

Tips for eating healthy in the dining commons:

  1. Check out the fresh fruits and vegetables at the salad bar
  2. Choose a whole grain for pasta, bread and rice
  3. Try other grains such as quinoa or farro
  4. Take a piece of fruit every time you leave the dining commons. (It will be a great snack for later!)
  5. Try other sources of protein including beans and tofu
  6. Add healthy fats to your meal from the salad bar such as nuts or olive oil as a dressing

Eating Healthy: Dorm Edition

Claire Pomorski, a student in Nutrition 360 during spring 2017, created this awesome brochure full of valuable information to help students, living in the residence halls, make healthier food choices.  She highlights healthy food options in the Dining Commons, including getting Green 2 Go and healthy meal essentials found in the convenience stores.  She also includes meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that can easily be made in a residence hall room.  Check it out below.

Brain Food

“The brain represents about 2% of the body’s weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and calories consumed by the body.” (1) New research is being done to identify foods that power and protect the brain.  This research is limited, but there is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids, found in almonds, walnuts, fish, avocados, canola oil, etc. reduce inflammation and promote blood flow in the heart and brain.  Antioxidants, found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, are known to fight cancer causing free radicals and help protect the brain from oxidative stress. (2)  Oxidative stress is the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defenses. Consuming an overall healthy diet consisting of whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables is the best way to keep your brain sharp and energy levels up. (3)  Try cooking up this quick and delicious recipe that contains whole grains, lean protein and a variety of vegetables.

 

  1. Clark D. & Sokoloff, L. (1999) in Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects, eds. Siegel, G. J., Agranoff, B. W., Albers, R. W., Fisher, S. K. & Uhler, M. D. (Lippincott, Philadelphia), pp. 637–670.
  2. Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2008) Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function, Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 568-578.
  3. http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-what-to-eat-for-brain-health/

Frozen Fruit Cups

If you enjoy frozen desserts, you’ll want to make room in your freezer for this recipe. With three types of fruits and non-fat yogurt, it not only tastes great but also helps you to get your recommended fruits and dairy for the day.

Not only is yogurt an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium, it also contains bacteria that’s good for your health, according to the American Society for Nutrition.

Frozen Fruit Cups

Serves 18

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas, mashedsummer salad recipe
  • 24 oz. non-fat strawberry or plain yogurt
  • 12 large strawberries, sliced
  • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained

Preparation:

  1. Line muffin tin(s) with 18 paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix mashed bananas, yogurt, strawberries, and pineapple.
  3. Spoon into muffin tins and freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.
  4. Remove frozen cups and store in a plastic bag in the freezer.
  5. Before serving, remove paper cups.  These are also great to throw into a fast smoothie.  Just add water or milk and blend them in your blender for a fast smoothie.

Another great thing about this recipe is you can use whatever fruits you like! What ingredients did you use?

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