By: Theresa Carmichael
Sodium has gained a lot of attention in the last few years, but what is all the fuss about? Well, studies have shown that Americans are eating well above the amount of sodium that is recommended daily for our bodies (no more than 2,500mg/day, 1,500 for some individuals). This problem is associated with the way we prepare foods, preserve foods, and the frequency in which we eat meals out of the home. A recent study published in the March A.N.D journal explains that restaurants claim to be reducing sodium and other components in their food, but that the study revealed otherwise. Results found that there were no significant changes over a 1-year-period of time for chain restaurants in the United States. The Center for Disease Control, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, all explain that too much sodium in the diet leads to a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. How on earth do we consume so much? Our overwhelming consumption of pre-packaged, canned, preserved, and processed foods is largely at blame. As our own food activist, we must rely on our own nutrition knowledge to guide us to healthy eating and decrease our sodium consumption. Below I have listed some tips to cut down the amount of sodium in your diet:
Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. Typically, fresh foods have a lower amount of sodium due to their lack of preservatives. Preservatives found in processed and pre-packaged foods contain high amounts of sodium to prevent microbial growth and add flavor. Processed and packaged foods include hot dogs, sausage, bacon, deli meat, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, and fast foods.
Be aware of foods that contain natural sources of sodium. Foods that contain natural sources of sodium include some bread, dairy, meat, and fish. When bought fresh, these foods actually contain small amounts of sodium. But, it is important to know these foods so you can make sure to plan your meals accordingly and create a balanced amount through out the day (compared to all at one meal).
Reduce sodium in the kitchen and at the table. When cooking, you will find many recipes ask to add salt or seasoning. Try this: add only half of what the recipe calls for (if you are in a daring mood, try adding no salt). You can make up for this flavor by adding herbs and spices such as oregano, cayenne pepper, cilantro, parsley, citrus from fruit, and more. Also, always make sure to rinse your canned foods used in recipes in order to decrease sodium content about 30%. When the food hits the table, you may have a habit of adding table salt to your foods. Challenge yourself by forgoing the additional table salt (1 teaspoon= 2,326mg sodium!!!) and use the alternative flavors listed above. If you must add salt, try to keep it to a “dash" (1/16 teaspoon).
By: Theresa Carmichael
So many of us rely on multiple cups of coffee, energy drinks, 5-hour energy shots, and more to keep us going through out the day. These drinks, when purchased multiple times a week, turn out to be extremely expensive and not as effective as you think they might be. Although coffee in small amounts can have positive effects on the body, people normally take it over-board by consuming more than 3 cups a day. Other energy drinks are also loaded with caffeine, sugar, or both and may cause nervousness, sleeplessness, and rapid heart beat. Labels claim these products are “all natural” and “naturally found in the body”. Well, the absolute truth is that the only way to know for sure that you are getting the best energy source is by eating calories from whole foods (Calories= Energy!). The list of foods that contribute to a good amount of energy without any empty calories include foods such as blueberries, broccoli, eggs, spinach, oranges, bran flakes, whole grains, and more. Most of these foods contain the perfect amount of calories to be consumed multiple times through out the day to keep a consistent energy level. By taking these snacks on the go instead of all at one meal, your energy becomes more regulated among a longer period of time. Also, whole foods are usually filled with antioxidants known to prevent damage to cells that may cause cancer or other diseases. Wouldn’t you like to gain rejuvenation through out the day without the irritable side effects and costly prices? Next time you want to buy your addictive energy alternative at the store, play a game of “consume this, not that” with yourself and feel the difference!
By: Theresa Carmichael
Happy National Nutrition Month! As you begin shopping for healthier choices this week, you may begin to wonder how on earth you are going to be able to afford it all! Due to some of the high prices found at grocery stores, buying healthy food on a budget can be pretty challenging. College students constantly on the go are finding that healthy food shopping is pricey and time consuming. Unfortunately for the time being, fruits and vegetables are costing more than the sodium and calorie packed items found in main aisles of the store. In order to stay healthy and keep off that “freshman fifteen”, here are a few tips on how to manage your money wisely and still get quality, whole food:
1. SHOP LOCAL. Research any local farms, farmer’s markets, or neighbors that sell food in your area. This food is not only extremely fresh and organic, but also a lot less harsh on your wallet. These distributors also give you opportunities to try foods not typically found at grocery stores to help keep a variety of foods in your diet.
2. KEEP A RUNNING LIST. Keeping a list in your smart phone is a perfect way to track meal ideas for the coming week. This cuts your time at the grocery store in half so you can get back to your school work. Keeping track will also give you an idea of how much you are going to spend BEFORE you get to the check out line.
3. BUY FROZEN. There is a stigma associated with frozen foods that implies that they are “bad” for you. Well, this is untrue for the most part. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables will allow them to last much longer and allow for any sudden changes in your planned meals. Also, research has shown that frozen seafood is actually fresher than seafood found prepped at the market. Typically, the fish is caught and immediately “flash frozen” for quality freshness. This is a very efficient way to extend the life of your perishable foods.
4. SAY GOODBYE TO 1 OR 2 ITEMS. You may find yourself falling for advertising perks and discounts once or twice during your shopping experience (don’t worry, we ALL do it!). This causes you to indulge in something you didn’t plan on getting and takes you over the budget planned. Try this: Every time right before check out, take at least 1-2 items out of your shopping cart, and tell yourself you will get it next time. This way you can focus on the meals you had planned and not over-spend.
Until we begin seeing coupons in the food industry discounting fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, we must rely on a bit of practice with shopping strategies such as these to keep within budget. Follow these 4 easy tips and make for a happy wallet!
ABOUT THE BLOG
Our goal is to present nutrition facts and advice in a fun and interesting way! We want to get our members involved in a healthy lifestyle as well as share articles that shine a light on nutrition and health.