Hello SNO! I hope you all had a great first week back at school...I know I did. Yay for O-Chem!
For those of you who are part of the SNO Facebook group, you’ve probably seen a few of the blogs and podcasts I’ve shared from time to time. I’ve gotten messages asking about some of the resources I’ve shared, so I decided it would be a good idea to compile a bunch of online information sources in one post! All of these blogs, podcasts, and social media accounts are nutrition-related and headed by RDs, health professionals, or nutrition students. In addition, most of these bloggers integrate some sort of intuitive eating or Health At Every Size approach as well. I know that many nutrition majors I’ve talked to here at State are interested in these approaches. It’s good to know that they are becoming more commonly used among RDs and health professionals. I hope you find this guide useful and that is helps you to further immerse yourself in the world of nutrition!
The Real Life RD
Rachael Hartley Nutrition
The Lean Green Bean
Paige Smathers, RD
Jessi Haggerty Nutrition
My Daily Declarations
Freedom Nutrition Wellness (AKA the Donut Eating Dietitian)
Julie Dillon, RD
Heather Caplan, RD
Kara Lydon (AKA the Foodie Dietitian)
RD Real Talk
The BodyLove Project
Nut Butter Radio
Finding Body Freedom
Don’t Salt My Game
Instagram (many of these are the accounts of the aforementioned bloggers)
There you have it...a whole lotta dietitian and nutrition bloggers to fill your Instagram feed with some positivity, real talk, and nutrition knowledge. Whether you’re an avid reader like me, a podcast enthusiast, or someone who can’t stop scrolling, I hope these inspirational bloggers can be helpful to you. If you stumble upon something from this guide that you particularly find useful, feel free to share it on the Facebook page so all of your fellow students can draw inspiration from it as well!
Have a great second week back, SNO! Happy reading...or listening...or scrolling!
Freshman at SDSU. Foods and Nutrition Major.
2018 is officially here! What better way to ring in the New Year and make some positive changes than to start implementing a healthy routine? Routines don’t always have to be strict and structured; they can give you the ability to do healthy, positive activities on a regular basis so that, before you know it, they become habits. Here are some ways to start your own healthy routine for 2018 and set yourself up for the best year ever…
2. Find what makes you feel good...and do that!
When it comes to diet and exercise, you don’t have to dedicate yourself to Whole30 or go on a BBG kick to get healthy. Simply figuring out what foods nourish you and what movement brings you joy can help you be your healthiest, happiest self. Browse Pinterest for recipes that seem interesting and appealing to you while still packing in the nutrients, and try out different forms of exercise to find what fits best into your lifestyle. Once you start incorporating more nourishing foods and joyful movement into your life, you can make a habit out of it by stockpiling recipes to make throughout the week or meal prep, and make exercise regular and rhythmic. Maybe you exercise every day or maybe you exercise twice a week; finding what works for your body and your schedule are key components to any kind of sustainable health plan.
3. Do things that nourish your soul.
It’s all well and good to nourish yourself physically, but what about emotionally and mentally? Self-care is so much more than taking care of your body; it’s taking care of the whole self. Some healthy options I could suggest are journaling, reading, walking on the beach, volunteering or spending time with loved ones; any activity that boosts your mood can help you to fully embrace the healthiest, happiest version of you. Self-reflection helps you evaluate how you’re doing in this current phase of life and pay attention to your struggles and triumphs. Giving back to the community allows you to connect with others and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Incorporating both of these wellness components can give you a major self-esteem boost and help you take care of yourself so that you can give back to the world around you.
4. Balance work and play.
If you’re like most college students, your daily life is a constant battle between huge amounts of school work and academic commitments on one hand and friends, family, and fun on the other. One without the other is a recipe for disaster, so try to plan a couple fun events or outings each week, so that amidst the busyness and chaos of college life you will have a few things to look forward to that give you a much-needed break from school work.
5. Use a planner or calendar to stay on track.
I have found that using a planner with a fun design and easy-to-read format really encourages me to write down your goals and stay on track, but if planners aren’t your thing, a calendar (paper or digital) can also help you accomplish the same goals. Define when you will work on certain assignments, take note of deadlines, write out club meetings, your work schedule and volunteer events, and keep track of all of the healthy habits you’re trying to start and maintain. For example, you can write down what days you plan on making what meals or make grocery lists, and figure out which days you have a block of time that you feel you can use for exercise and other physical activity. Last but not least, schedule time for yourself, whether that means meeting a friend for coffee, taking off for the beach, or simply planting yourself on the couch for a Netflix marathon. This will help you to maintain that work-life balance and ensure that you are taking care of all areas of wellness, versus the two that most people focus on this time of year (diet and exercise). Try to keep your schedule fairly regular so that these healthy habits become rhythmic and, well, more habitual than scheduled. Before you know it, you’ll have a routine that allows you to stay on top of all of your commitments and take care of yourself and give back to others, so that you can truly become the healthiest version of yourself in 2018.
I hope that these tips to start a healthy routine for 2018 inspire you to take charge of the year and fulfill its potential to be the best one yet. As always, do what feels good for you, be patient with yourself, and know that nobody has it “all together” (especially nutrition majors, am I right?). If you see healthy living as a journey rather than a destination, you can enjoy the trip, rather than focusing on the end goals.
Happy New Year, SNO! May your sweet potatoes be sweet and your biology lectures even sweeter!
Freshman. Foods and Nutrition Major.
Hello, fellow foodies! I’m back this week for another recipe roundup, this time with some cozy recipes requiring minimal prep and minimal stress. The holiday season is finally here, which means it’s time to bust out the cozy sweaters, Christmas movies, and festive mugs. However, along with all of the holiday festivities comes studying for finals, shopping for gifts, traveling, busy schedules, and long days that make you wanna throw the towel in and just order take-out by the time they’re finally over. Here are some easy and cozy recipes to throw together this holiday season that will leave you feeling nourished, warm, and glad you cooked after all!
1.Slow Cooker White Chicken & Quinoa Chili via Eat Yourself Skinny:
2.10 Minute Healthy Crispy Chicken and Avocado Wraps via Gimme Delicious:
3.Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato via Kara Lydon, the Foodie Dietitian:
4. Southwest Chicken and Quinoa Bowl via Frugal Mom Eh:
5. BBQ Sweet Potato Pizza via Vegan Richa:
6. Mexican Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Skillet via Recipe Runner:
7. Spiralized Zucchini, Quinoa, and Turkey Sausage Stuffed Peppers via Foodie Crush:
8. Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Farro Chili via Eat Yourself Skinny:
9. Cashew Chicken Quinoa Bake via Fit Foodie Finds:
10. Sweet Potato Nachos via Fit Foodie Finds:
I hope you enjoy this recipe roundup and that you get some meal inspiration to carry you through the holiday season! Go ahead and add those ingredients to your grocery list so that you have them on hand, and get ready to cook up some cozy dishes. Have a great finals week and holiday vacation!
Freshman. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition.
Finals are upon us, which is definitely a stressful time for every student, but have no fear, because I’m here with some tips to perk up and sharpen up so you can make the most of your endless hours in the library!
I hope some or all of these tips were helpful :) I know all you health-freaks are studying your butts off right now and I wish you all the best of luck on finals. Remember, take care of yourself for this last little push and you’ll be physically and mentally able to enjoy your winter holidays!
Junior. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition Major
Finals are finally here...and that means stress, stress, coffee, and more stress! Here are some tips to keep you healthy and on top of your self-care game during this busy time of the semester.
1. Make a game plan.
Write down a list of everything that you want to accomplish during the day, including which assignments you want to tackle, upcoming tests and study plans, deadlines, and any events or meetings. This will help you see the overall objectives, and whether or not you’re putting too much on your plate. Too many things on your Monday to-do list? Figure out which ones can be put off and schedule them for another day!
Another tip: instead of cramming last minute, try studying for tests a little bit at a time; for example, focus on a chapter or two a day for each class. This will help you apportion your workload into manageable fragments and make the task of studying for finals far less daunting!
2. Write down positive affirmations.
Stressful times can really cause us to question ourselves and our abilities, so make it a point to write down a positive affirmation every day. Write it in a place where you know you will see it often, such as in your planner, on your calendar, on your desk, on a sticky note on the fridge, or on the bathroom mirror, so that it will catch your eye several times throughout the day. You can find examples on a positive affirmation app, get ideas from Pinterest, or simply create your own. Encouragement and inspiration can really motivate you to tackle your to-do list. You can also ask your friends or roommates to check in with you to make sure you’re staying on track. Gently, of course!
3. Eat satisfying meals and snacks.
When I say “satisfying”, I mean foods that you genuinely enjoy, are nourishing, and will give you sustained energy. This can be especially hard to do during finals season, when all you wanna do is drink some coffee and hit the books, but will really ensure that your brain has enough sustained energy to endure long hours of classwork and studying. Focus on healthy fats, plenty of protein, and filling foods that will help you power through. Snacks are also an important way to sustain energy, so pack some healthy options with you on your way to class or the library, such as fruit and nut butter, a protein bar, or veggies and hummus. Stock up so you always have these on hand!
4. Make time for YOU!
Yes, you can have fun during finals week. Plan on leaving the last two hours of your night open to do whatever it is that you want to do, whether it be watching a good movie, reading a book, creating something, or spending time with a friend. Knowing that the two-hour break is in your schedule, and then actually giving yourself this much needed break after a long day of hard work will help to rejuvenate and relax you before bed so that you don’t feel like you just got hit by a train full of textbooks when you wake up the next morning!
5. Get a good night’s sleep.
This is especially important. You may be the king or queen of pulling all-nighters, but this may prove costly when it comes down to how you’ll feel in the thick of finals week, when productivity is necessary. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night so that your brain can really soak in all of the information you have been working so hard to retrieve and so that you can have enough energy to tackle your to-do list and tests. The aforementioned point about leaving the last two hours of the night for yourself will help you wind down after a hard day of work, so make sure to incorporate some fun and playfulness into your day to ease you into a good night’s sleep. Avoiding screens for the last hour before bed will also help you get quality sleep.
Finals don’t have to be frightening; by following these five tips you can emerge from finals week like a champion and put all of your unnecessary worries to rest. With a little bit of time management and a whole lot of self-compassion, anything is possible...even passing biochem! Good luck on finals you healthy, hummus-wielding warriors!
Freshman. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition.
Alright, whip out the fairy lights and mistletoe because it’s December, people!! To celebrate the season I thought I would share a seasonal recipe that my mom used this past Thanksgiving and is to freaking die for. Winter squash is in full swing, so what better than a super tasty butternut squash soup? You can find the recipe below, pair it with your favorite sandwich and/or salad for an ideal winter meal.
To make a vegan version like my goddess of a mother did for me, simply leave out the brown butter and replace the sour cream with vegan sour cream. According to her the vegan sour cream, “would make a pretty dollop” so I highly recommend.
Junior. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition.
Hello, turkeys! It’s almost Thanksgiving which means friends, family, and FOOD. To make your holiday recipe scouting a little easier, I’ve put together a list of some amazing and festive fall recipes for you to try out on Turkey Day. Enjoy!
Freshman. Foods and Nutrition Major. SDSU.
Happy Sunday, everybody! Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means two things: no school, and TONS of food. Thanksgiving (these days) is a holiday based around being with friends and family, sharing love, thanks, and delicious meals, which I absolutely love. I want to share some tips and tricks for having the best Turkey day you can have!
Thanksgiving is a lovely time for so many people, but I know from all my Thanksgiving experiences that it's super easy to overeat. Over-eating is extremely common among Americans who can afford to do so, especially around the holidays. According to calorie control.org, the average Thanksgiving meal is about 3,000 calories, and could be up to 4,500 (keep in mind that’s 1,500 calories more than USFDA recommends for an entire day). Overconsumption of calories is a major contributor to obesity in the U.S. today, and very easy to fall prey to. While the Americans who can afford to put food on the table often put too much, there were still about 15.6 million households in the United States that were food insecure as of 2015 (meaning they can’t afford nutritious food or that they can’t afford enough food the sustain the household at all). Foodforward.org, states that, “According to a 2014 EPA study, America throws away more than 38 million tons of food every year”, so of the American households that can afford enough food, a large portion of it is simply thrown in the garbage. This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to not let that tryptophan get the best of you, and eat just until you’re satisfied. In addition, you can donate canned goods and even Thanksgiving leftovers to those in need! If you’re looking to donate leftover Thanksgiving food, most food pantries will take them, and you can find one near you by following this link: https://www.foodpantries.org/.You can also look into donating leftovers, canned goods, or other food to your local food bank! You can find the nearest one here: http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/.
Giving back is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Get some friends and family together to donate food or volunteer (here’s a website to find some awesome non-profits in your area:https://greatnonprofits.org/categories/view/homeless-and-housing?gclid=CMqoofGOybgCFcqe4AodiWoA9A). Give thanks this year by spreading the love and helping someone out! I hope you all have a happy, healthy, lovely Thanksgiving!
Foods and Nutrition Major. SDSU.
Hey SNO fam! Today I wanted to share something a little different that has really been igniting my passion lately: Health at Every Size.
If you haven’t already heard of the "Health at Every Size" movement, it was started by Linda Bacon who wrote the book Health At Every Size which is has now essentially become “a website and a social movement whose purpose is to encourage bodily acceptance and self confidence with one's body, often by the rejection of dieting. Proponents aim to improve the standard of living for people who are overweight or obese by promoting healthy lifestyles and anti-discrimination efforts. Generally, these efforts do not include weight loss as a direct goal.” (Wikipedia) A lot of people are probably thrown off by this title and think, "Well, what about the millions of Americans and people worldwide who are obese? And what about people at the other extreme? They certainly aren't healthy at their size."
And you might be correct, depending on the individual circumstances.
But the point of Health at Every Size is that health shouldn't be limited to weight or an appearance of health, but rather the feeling of health and the existence of health...even if it isn't visible. A thin body may be diseased and an larger body may be in top-notch health, but sadly our society makes associations and assumptions that are often scientifically incorrect, equating body type with the presence or absence of health. Health is so much more complex than weight and calories and nutrients...it's about the little things that you are doing each day to take care of yourself and make sure your needs are met: nourishing your body, moving your body, engaging your mind, connecting with loved ones, savoring the things that bring you joy, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks when you need them. If all of these are habits that make a person healthy...then why are our assumptions about health determined, judgmentally, by how much space we take up?
Of course unhealthy lifestyle habits lead to lifestyle diseases...but these diseases can occur in any sized body. Until current and future health care providers start looking past the number on the scale and looking toward patients’ self-care practices, it seems that society will always be waging a war against weight.
That being said, I don't expect every health care provider to drop what they're doing and switch to a HAES approach. My hope is that even if all health care providers can't adopt HAES, they can at least learn from it, and see why America's obsession with weight is anything but healthy. And for all of you future dietitians, nurses, doctors, psychologists/psychiatrists, counselors, and other health care personnel, I hope that HAES might open up your mind a little more to the ways in which we can create a culture that embraces bodies of all shapes and sizes and acknowledges the ways that they can be healthy, happy, and nourished.
Here is Dr. Bacon's book. Take a look if you are interested in learning more about Health at Every Size:
Freshman. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition.
I'm back for part two of my series on gut health. If you haven't already read my post on why gut health is important, go ahead and read it here:
Now that you have an idea about why gut health is important and all of the things it can do for our mood and optimal functioning, here are some tips to get your gut on track! I have personally dealt with gut issues off and on for the past few years, but once I discovered these health habits, I saw radical changes in the way my gut functions and the way that I feel overall!
2. Eat sprouted grains
While eating sprouted grains doesn't necessarily introduce more bacteria into your gut microbiome, it does ensure better digestion and makes the grain’s nutrients more readily available. Soaked and sprouted gluten is easier to break down in the digestive tract, which means it’s easier for the gut to do its work. In addition, sprouted grains tend to have more fiber and be more nutrient dense than regular non-sprouted grains. If you're looking for a good sprouted bread to try out, I recommend Alvarado Street Bakery!
3. Cut down on stress
I cannot emphasize this enough y'all!!! Managing stress is a hugely important component of optimizing gut health, as you can probably tell from my previous post. Stress can wreck havoc on the little guys in our gut and alter digestive processes via the gut-brain axis (the connections between the gut and the brain) which can lead to anything from indigestion to full-on digestive disorders such as IBS and leaky-gut syndrome! Cut down on stress by:
Exercise not only promotes peristaltic contractions to occur in the gut which can promote digestion, but it has also actually been found to increase the number and diversity of microbial species in the gut! This doesn't mean that you have to go out and run 10 miles every day because #guthealth...this implies that moving in any way that feels good to you could actually go a long way as far as promoting healthy gut flora. Walking, running, biking, hiking, rowing, yoga, swimming, dancing...whatever way it is that you like to move, do that! There is no "right" way to move...simply getting some movement in each day can have amazing effects on your microbiome, and not to mention your mood, energy, and focus.
I hope you find this guide to a healthier gut useful and that you are able to apply a few of these suggestions to your life. As I mentioned earlier, I can attest to each and every one of these...since developing these practices, my gut has changed phenomenally and let-me-tell-ya, it feels amazing. Here are the sources I consulted when compiling these tips...feel free to visit them for more information on gut health!
SDSU. Freshman. Foods and Nutrition Major.
It seems like fall fell overnight here in sunny San Diego. The weather went from 107˚F one day to brisk and foggy the next. I don’t know about you, but I’m super into it. Changing of the seasons from summer to fall is one of my favorite things on earth, especially because it means there is a lot of good autumn food in store for the next few months. Since we’re still a little bit away from Thanksgiving and a long, long way from Christmas, I’ll spare you the holiday recipes until another week. This week, I present to you one of my absolute favorite warm & satisfying comfort foods: coconut curry. The best part about it is that you can improvise as much as you want and it will always be delicious; that’s why I’ve included a list of my favorite ingredients in addition to a yummy and reliable recipe that I like. Put it in your repertoire for the next time it drops below 65˚F in San Diego!
My Simplified Adaptable Autumn Coconut Curry Recipe
For the sauce:
A Completely Detailed Coconut Curry Recipe
Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry
A few other good recipes for inspiration:
Junior. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition major.
So a lot of you have probably noticed the jargon on social media, whether on wellness websites, health podcasts, or related platforms, about the gut: the microbiome, the second brain, the gut-brain connection, gut flora. At least one of these probably sounds familiar.
But what's the big deal?
It's just your gut, right?
Actually, the gut is a lot more important than you think it is, in that yes, it functions to help us digest what we consume, but more extraordinarily, it participates in a mutual interaction with our sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system as well as our brain that can affect not only the way that we digest (or rather the quality of our digestion), but also the way we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It's pretty cool. But how does it work?
The mechanisms of the gut can be altered by the brain, and the brain can also be altered by the mechanisms of the gut.
Let's start with the influence of the brain on gut health. When we are in a high-stress state, we are said to be in sympathetic mode, meaning our bodily functions perform in such a way as to allow us to most effectively respond to the stressor. This includes dilation of the pupils, constriction of the blood vessels, increase in heart rate, decreased production of digestive fluids, and decreased gut activity. This means that if you're in a high-stress state for prolonged periods of time, your gut will not be functioning optimally since your body is trying to "perform", or feels that it is in the flight-or-fight response 24/7, and by inhibiting gut activity, your body can respond to the stressor more effectively. No wonder so many Americans have digestive issues, given the high-stress state in which we are constantly living, with everything from work to school to obligations. The American hustle culture is the gut microbiome's worst nightmare!
In contrast, if we are in a low-stress state, we are in parasympathetic mode, which causes the pupils to constrict, the blood vessels to dilate, the heart rate to increase, digestive fluid production to increase, and gut activity to increase. This is why it's so, so, so important to figure out ways to manage your stress daily so that you can be kind to yourself and to your gut, because digestive issues are serious business.
So now you see how the brain can influence the gut, but how can the gut influence the brain?
Aside from the fact that your mood tends to be better when your digestive system is on point and worse when it's less than optimal, healthy bacteria in the gut has been proven to alter one’s mood, and a gut bacteria imbalance has even been linked to conditions such as anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. The gut has its own communicative system called the enteric nervous system (ENS), which consists of about 100 million nerves lining the gut. I guess that's why the phrases "you've got guts" and "you've got a lot of nerve" are so interchangeable! The gut communicates to the brain via the vagus nerve, which is one of the major nerves bringing information to the brain from all over the body. So basically, the gut and the brain are true homies, so closely linked that they influence each other in profound ways. This has been shown in various studies in which the bacteria found in anxious animals' guts have been replaced with calmer animals' bacteria and vice versa, producing an exchange in anxiety levels between the two that corresponds with the type of bacteria found in the gut (good bacteria balance = good mood, dysbiosis = not so good mood).
I don't know about you, but a smoothly running digestive system and a happy brain sounds like a pretty freakin' nice existence to me, so gut health has really become a priority for me. Stay tuned for part two. Next week, I'll teach you how to improve your gut health, and how I've improved mine.
The sources below will show you more about why the gut is a much more vital part of your health than you think.
San Diego State University, Foods and Nutrition Major. Freshman.
It’s recipe week, my dudes! This weekend I got the lovely opportunity to fly home to San Francisco to see my family for a few days and celebrate my dad’s birthday. In lieu of birthday celebrations I’m bringing out my TOP SECRET WEAPON: the best vegan chocolate cake you will ever have. I would not lie to you, guys, this cake has been described by many as: fluffy, moist, decadent, life-changing, and “the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had”. Now that I’ve sufficiently raised your expectations to the point at which you might actually be disappointed no matter how good this cake is, here’s the recipe. Taste the magic.
Disclaimer: This beauteous recipe was conceived by my friend, Jenna Jayasinghe. I just modified it a bit. Her blog is below.
((**=see note below))
For Chocolate Cake:
2 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour
2 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup neutral oil (I used canola, but you could use coconut, vegetable, etc.)
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons water (mix the flax and water and set in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until it gets a sticky, egg like consistency)
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar (mix the milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes before adding into the bowl)
2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups boiling water
Chocolate coconut cream frosting (premade or homemade--homemade requires 24 hours of chilling coconut milk):
Premade: SoDelicious coconut whipped topping (you can find it here: http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-frozen-desserts/cocowhip-original)*
Coconut cream (recipe below)
¼ cup cocoa powder
Powdered sugar to taste
*Homemade coconut cream: To make your own you’ll need one can of full fat coconut milk (I find that the brand Thai Kitchen works the best). Let it sit in the fridge for a full 24 hours before making the frosting. Once chilled, scoop out the solidified cream on top and leave the water on the bottom of the can alone (use it to make a smoothie or something). Because of this, the frosting needs to stay relatively chilled.
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside
3. Beat the oil, flax egg, almond milk mixture, and vanilla until combined (~1 min)
4. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined (be careful not to over mix)
5. Add in boiling water (batter will be very thin)
6. Spray 3 9-inch pans with nonstick spray and fill with batter evenly. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
7. Let cool completely before frosting.
`1. Place coconut cream into a chilled mixing bowl and with an electric mixer, beat for about 2 minutes to expand.
2. Add in cocoa powder and beat until combined
3. Add in powdered sugar to taste (I used about 5 tablespoons)
4. Let chill in the freezer for 15 minutes before frosting the cake
Junior Foods and Nutrition Major
‘Tis the season...for apple cider, finally breaking out the sweater collection, and pumpkin spice everything under the sun. For some of you, Halloween probably doesn’t mean much more than watching a few scary movies and (maybe) attempting to throw together a last minute costume, but for others, Halloween entails extravagant parties full of creative costumes, on-point decorations, and lots and lots of FOOD! As with any holiday, it can be hard to balance wanting to be a crowd-pleaser while still keeping your cool, having fun, and staying healthy. Here are some of my tips for a successfully spooky Halloween:
1: Meal Prep
Ah, meal prep, how I love you.
Sadly, as a freshman in college living on campus, meal prep is not as practical (R.I.P. beloved roasted vegetables and chicken), but if you have the means, I highly suggest it, as it reduces a lot of stress around meals. Especially in October, when midterms are in full-swing and there are fall activities galore, the last thing anyone wants to do is divert time away from studying and socializing to put together extravagant meals. Prepping food once a week to keep stored in the fridge for easy on-the-go meals saves so much time and effort. I recommend roasting up your favorite vegetables, prepping your favorite protein source, and maybe trying a side dish or snack recipe or two to keep your meals exciting. My favorite meal prep options are sweet potatoes, roasted zucchini and squash, turmeric spiced chicken, and fun-flavored hummus to put on everything!
2. Get Outside
Fall is such a beautiful time of year, so take advantage of it by getting outside, unplugging from social media, opting for outdoor events and festivities, and putting your stressful tasks and obligations aside for a few moments each day. Taking some time outdoors to refresh and recharge can give you the energy you need to attack your to-do list and channel your productivity into all your fall projects!
3. Sleep...as much as you’re able to!
I always emphasize how vital sleep is to well-being, boosting your mood, and maintaining an optimum energy level throughout the day, but let’s be honest...8+ hours of sleep a night is not a reality for everyone. Especially with all of the Halloween festivities going on, late nights tend to be pretty common this time of year. Try prioritizing late-night events and then choose one or two days to stay out late. One night of less-than-optimal sleep is far better than being sleep deprived every day during the middle of the semester or missing out on all the things you were looking forward to doing.
4. Make Your Party Food Palatable (and Healthy!)
Fall activities are not the best places to find healthy food options, but you can put your own healthy spin on your favorite party foods while still keeping them appetizing for your guests. If you’re having your own fall get-together, here are some tasty and festive recipes you can try:
2. Pumpkin Hummus
3. Pumpkin Spice Freezer Fudge
4. Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
5. Have Fun, Stay Safe, and Make Some Memories
So while this may seem like three tips instead of one, they go hand in hand. Making sure that you’re spending time with people you trust (especially on late nights) ensures that you not only have a great time, but also don’t get yourself into a dangerous situation without a loyal friend by your side. Whether that means assigning a designated driver for Halloween night, staying away from places/people you know will lead to trouble, or simply deciding to forgo the party scene altogether and have a low-key Halloween night with your closest friends, it’s all about looking out for number one (AKA your health and safety). At the end of the night, make sure you’re taking care yourself in every way possible...and having a good time in the process!
I hope that you all have a healthy and happy Halloween full of great memories, great friends, and great food! Now excuse me as I go scout around eBay for a kale costume...
Freshman Foods and Nutrition Major
Hello my healthy homies!
Thought I would share with y'all today a little guide on how to make my favorite breakfast of all time…
The sweet potato bowl.
Now being the health nut and nutrition nerd that I am, I have to first give you some background on why exactly this breakfast is freaking amazing (besides that it involves sweet potatoes, which automatically makes it amazing).
First of all, sweet potatoes in themselves are full of nutrients that our body loves...vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, carbohydrates, and even tryptophan (that stuff in turkey that is notorious for making you "sleepy") which helps to elevate your mood.
Not to mention that even more nutrients are added on from yogurt (packed with protein and digestive enzymes and bacteria), nut butters (full of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals), and berries (antioxidants for the win).
So there you have it, this breakfast is pretty much the best.
Now enough of my sweet potato praise, how do you actually make the perfect bowl?
Step 1: Pick Your Potato
I personally just go with a good old-fashioned yam (often synonymous with sweet potato and orange-ish in color), but you could do absolutely any kind of sweet potato, it's all up to you. You could even mix it up and use a purple sweet potato, which are very pretty I must say.
There are numerous ways of cooking the potato: you can bake them whole, roast them, slice them up and sprinkle them with cinnamon, steam them, or simply microwave them (disclaimer: I almost always end up microwaving them in their skin for about 5 minutes...it's just so much quicker). Microwaving is perfect if you NEED that damn potato bowl ASAP but of course roasting is probably a more wholesome way of cooking it. Meal prep some sweet potatoes on Sunday so you can make sweet potato bowls all day long!
Step 2: Choose Your Yogurt
Any type of yogurt will do; use what you like: Greek, non-fat, low-fat, whole milk, Sheep's milk, goat milk, non-dairy...the options are endless.
Although, I do recommend the more natural brands of yogurt, as you will get more nutrients from milk that has been produced by more humanely raised animals that feed on grass. Also, look out for sketchy ingredients...try to find a yogurt that is hella simple! My go to is Siggi's...more protein than sugar in each container, made from wholesome ingredients, and from grass-fed cows. Perfect.
Step 3: Berry It
I'm sorry my puns are cringe-worthy.
But seriously, don't be afraid to add all the berries you want. People nowadays often avoid sugars to the point of avoiding fruit, but I can assure you the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in fruits (especially berries) make them worth adding to your meals.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries...they're all full of antioxidants to keep your immune system strong, fiber to fill you up and help ease your digestive system, and have even shown to have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties
So yes, I'll have all the berries please, thank you.
Step 4: Go Nuts with Nut Butter
Nut butter honestly makes the bowl.
If you haven't tried nut butter and sweet potatoes together, you're missing out.
Of course you can go with classic peanut butter or almond butter, but there are so many other options, such as cashew butter, walnut butter, sunflower seed butter, or even tahini or coconut butter.
Ultimately, I try to look for nut butters that have as few ingredients as possible, because nut butters that live up to their names (butters made out of nuts) just make me feel satisfied as a consumer. Here's a few of my favorites:
Artisana Organics cashew butter...ingredients: raw organic cashews.
Once Again almond butter...ingredients: organic unblanched almonds.
Step 5: Enjoy!
There you have it: the perfect sweet potato breakfast bowl built just how you like it. If you try it out, let me know, and if you need more breakfast inspiration, make sure to follow me on Instagram @kaceyrunsonkale. I have had my share of sweet potato bowls!
Pictured: organic sweet potato (yam), Siggi's mixed berry and acai yogurt, organic blackberries, and Artisana Organic cashew butter...and my favorite cold brew!
Freshmen. San Diego State University
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