National Heart Health Month!

Did you know that February is National Heart Health Month? The goal of this month is to spread awareness about heart disease and how to prevent it. Why is this important? Current statistics estimate that every year in the United States, 1 in 4 deaths can be attributed to heart disease. If you’re a college student, you might be thinking, “I’m young, why should I be concerned about that right now?” The simple answer to that is people at every age should always monitor their health and manage their lifestyle in a healthy way. Making good lifestyle and diet choices at a younger age, greatly contributes to the delay, or even evasion, of these deadly heart diseases as well as others that come with age.


So, how can we take care of our heart through nutrition? Here are some tips for making heart healthy choices.

  1. Reduce Added Sugars: The American Heart Association recommends reducing overall added sugar consumption. Many processed foods contain added sugars, and a quick look at the nutrition label will tell you just how much you are getting per serving. Try finding alternative options that cut down on that added sugar, or better yet, go for the whole food alternative. Some of my favorite low sugar snacks are a part skim cheese stick with a clementine, celery with natural peanut butter and a few raisins and hard boiled eggs topped with guacamole.
  2. Limit Saturated Fats: The AHA also suggests limiting overall consumption of saturated fats (unhealthy fats) and increasing plant-based fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats). Good sources of these heart healthy fats include; avocados, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, and other vegetable oils. Remember, not all fats are bad, in fact they are very essential to proper absorption of certain nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Add 2% milk, avocados and trail mix to your grocery list to enjoy some healthy fats!
  3. Limit Salt Intake: Finally, AHA also says that limiting salt intake, especially from processed food sources, will greatly increase cardiovascular health. Keep in mind, too much salt in the diet results in excess fluids being contained in our blood vessels, this will result in high blood pressure. Try reaching for fresh seasonings instead of the salt shaker, cook with cilantro, scallions, cinnamon and cumin to add some extra flavor! Now that you’ve gained a little bit more information about good nutrition, think about what you’re eating before you grab it off the shelf and remember try to choose the options in the dining center with the heart next to them. Happy Heart Health Month!


                                      An info-graphic from the American Heart Association about processed food.


Nutrition at SUNY Oswego

Hello Everyone!

My name is Breonna Rawson and I am one of the new nutrition interns working with Kathryn Szklany, Registered Dietitian, this semester! I am excited to have the opportunity to share my passion about food and nutrition to my fellow classmates, and to get a closer look into the responsibilities of an on-campus registered dietitian. Currently, I am majoring in Biology and have a minor in Nutrition. I plan on completing a masters degree in Nutrition Science at Syracuse University to become an RD, once I have finished my BA at SUNY Oswego.

I do not live on campus, but I have been to the dining halls several times and was surprised by many of the healthy choices that were available despite my earlier suspicions. Being a commuter, I often find it difficult to set aside time at home where I can shop for and cook my own healthy meals. I hope to discuss with others the issues that college students face when trying to make healthy choices, and maybe discover other ways to help students maintain a well-rounded diet even amidst a stressful schedule and tight budget!


         A selection of foods and ingredients from my own kitchen!


Let’s talk about breakfast!

Let’s talk about breakfast; it’s my favorite meal of the day! Not only that, it’s so important too. What you eat in the morning can dictate what you eat for the rest of the day without you even realizing it. Here’s an example: Cereal is a quick and easy breakfast, but it’s also loaded with lots of sugar. The serving size is typically small, at least in my opinion. If you’re not correctly measuring out the recommended serving size, you may be ingesting a lot more sugar than you know. Now, everything is okay in moderation right? Yes. But if you are having cereal for breakfast every morning, you might want to opt for some other breakfast options and switch it up.


So, as mentioned above, cereals can have a lot of hidden sugar. When you wake up in the morning, your body has been fasting for at least eight hours and probably even more for a lot of people. If cereal is what you grab for right in the morning, you are going to spike your blood sugar levels. When people think of blood sugar, they often think of people with diabetes. People with diabetes definitely have to be more cautious of this, especially in the morning, but so do people living without diabetes. What this blood sugar spike means for people without diabetes is you are going to be hungry very soon again and you may crave more sugar throughout the day.


That being said, you may be wondering what you SHOULD eat for breakfast. I don’t eat cereal for breakfast; it’s just not enough. And I know I will be hungry again shortly after. Instead, I opt for breakfast options that contain complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. I rotate through these breakfast ideas throughout the week, and they keep me full and focused well until lunch time. Here are some examples:


  • 2 eggs with mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes on a whole wheat wrap
  • A whole wheat bagel with peanut butter or cream cheese
  • Slow-cooked, rolled oatmeal with almond milk, berries, peanut butter and chia seeds


These are not the end-all be-all choices, but they are healthy and satiating; feel free to give them a try. You won’t be disappointed! If you’re not convinced, here’s a picture of my omelet from a while back:





Eating Healthy while at Home for the Holidays

Hi again! While many of my posts relate to staying healthy at college, this post will talk about taking what you’ve learned home with you on winter break since it is right around the corner. Whether you’re a Health Promotion and Wellness major, someone who reads my blog posts, or someone who has been trying to become more healthy, I’m sure you have learned a thing or two about healthy eating and many of you have probably applied it to your daily life. It can be challenging to take these methods and implement them at home, at least for some of us (i.e. myself).

The way you eat at home and the way you eat at school can be polar opposites. Either you buy your own groceries or eat at the dining hall while at college. That is a very controllable situation. At home, you might also buy your own groceries, or maybe your parents buy the groceries and cook for you, or maybe your parents may order food for dinner on some nights. The possibilities are endless, and without some sort of consistency, it can feel like an uncontrollable situation if you are someone who is trying to eat healthy.

For me, it’s very inconsistent, my parents love cooking healthy meals, but they definitely don’t want to cook every single night. I step in sometimes and offer to cook dinner, but a lot of the time, I find myself very lazy at home during winter break. Sometimes, my parents will get lazy with making the next grocery shopping trip and there won’t be much to eat in the house. Well, you can’t just keep complaining to your parents to keep providing you with healthy meals; we have to take some initiative! Having me complain about the groceries that we have or the meals that we eat is the last thing my parents want to hear, obviously. Instead of complaining, here is what I’ve learned to do over the years:

  • Offer to grocery shop for your parents if they are busy and can’t get the next week’s groceries in a timely fashion.
  • If your parents make a grocery list, ask if you can add a few staple items on there for yourself (i.e. things to put in a salad, organic, steel-cut oatmeal, maybe some salmon, etc.). Offering them some money, if possible, for the extra items on the list is never a bad idea either.
  • Help your parents prepare meals! Maybe your parents are sauteing vegetables in butter and you know that this could be a healthier choice by steaming the vegetables instead. Suggest it and then step in to help if they’d like.
  • I find that when I’m laying around all day at home whilst on winter break, I don’t have that much motivation to prepare myself healthy meals. On the other hand, when I am seeing friends and family, going to the gym, and staying active, I find that I don’t mind cooking and taking time to prepare myself healthy, satiating meals.
  • On Thanksgiving and Christmas, don’t worry about limiting yourself! Those are just two days. Maybe don’t stuff yourself to the point of being very uncomfortable, but don’t stress yourself out if you want another slice of pie but you think it’s “not healthy”. Go ahead, eat your grandmother’s pie and be happy.


Excited for Thanksgiving?? Me too!





Staying Healthy on the Go!

If you’re anything like me, you’re running around all week going to classes, your internship, working at your job, doing homework, working out, and trying to maintain some sort of social life. It’s a lot, I know! Some people do even more than that which is just insane. That’s how college is! Trying to complete all of these tasks can be overwhelming. You may have noticed there were a few things missing from the list mentioned above; eating, sleeping and self-care!

It’s VERY important to take care of yourself whenever life gets hectic. Sometimes, a few days will go by where my face is stuck in my planner and I’m really doing nothing else but schoolwork. At the end of that stretch of days, I take a look in the mirror and realize that I haven’t been taking care of myself. This could include not cooking myself quality meals, neglecting that random hangnail that’s been bothering me, and turning down my friends when they want to hang out. After I’ve made that realization, I’ll take the day or half the day (usually on the weekend) and take some time to do my nails, take a nice, hot shower, clean my room, spend some much needed time with friends, and try to get to bed a little earlier than usual.

You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about nutrition yet. Well, here it is! The worst thing, in my opinion, that I do when I’ve got a lot going on is neglecting to prepare myself actual meals. Sometimes if I happen to stop home in between my classes and/or meetings, I generally don’t have that much time and will grab something quick like an apple and a granola bar. While that seems like a healthy snack, it’s certainly not enough for a meal. I’m usually organized and plan ahead, so this is not always what happens. But when I do have an apple and a granola bar for lunch and then try to go about the rest of my day, I find myself unable to focus and sluggish.The moral of the story is that it’s much more beneficial to eat regular meals throughout your busy day than just small snacks, or worse, nothing. This will give you the fuel you need to get through the rest of the day and keep you focused in class or at the library. Your brain will thank you. If you struggle like I do to find time in the day to eat regular meals, here are a few tips to combat this:

  • Plan ahead!
    • If you live off campus, make your meals the night before a busy day and bring them with you to class, work, or the library.
    • If you live on campus and know you won’t be able to make it to the dining hall for lunch, have the dining hall staff prepare you a bagged lunch at breakfast so that you can bring it to class with you. You can also get a bagged dinner made for you at lunch. It takes all of ten minutes, trust me!
  • Pick a day on the weekend and do some light meal prepping. You don’t have to go all out, but you can make something in a large quantity and put the leftovers in the fridge. Some examples include pasta, salad, and chicken with brown rice and vegetables. Sometimes, I will even boil a bunch of potatoes so I can easily heat them up to add to my eggs at breakfast or with my salmon at dinner.
  • If you live off campus, bring some extra cash with you to campus and check out any of the cafes located in the academic buildings. I have an 8 AM class in Shineman and I don’t always wake up early enough to make myself breakfast. If I did happen to miss breakfast, I’ll stop at Fusion on my way out of class and grab a multigrain bagel with cream cheese which costs under $3.00.
  • Make sure you’re carrying around a water bottle throughout the day! Hydration also contributes to your level of focus. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and dehydrated!

Now, try to take this message and utilize these tips to make your busy days a little less daunting. Taking care of yourself goes a long way. I don’t always practice what I preach in these blog posts, but I try to! And when I’m able to wake up after a nice 8 hours of sleep, eat substantial, healthy meals throughout the day, and maybe hang out with my friends after the day is over, it makes my busy days not seem so busy after all.

Eating Healthy while Living Off Campus

Do you live off campus and find yourself not eating as well as you could? I know grocery shopping can be annoying or maybe even confusing, but it’s vital! A common myth is that healthier food is more expensive, and I’d have to disagree. Think of a bag of chips. At Walmart, they might have two family size bags of Lays for $5 if you’re lucky. I could buy 3-4 bags of carrots with that money. I spend about $30-$40 a week, which is a lot less than what some of my friends spend.

Here’s what’s typically on my grocery list:

  • Spinach (Aldi)
  • Carrots (Aldi)
  • Mini portabella mushrooms (Aldi)
  • Cherry tomatoes (Aldi)
  • Avocado (1)(Aldi)
  • Honeycrisp apples (2)(Aldi)
  • Frozen raspberries (Aldi)
  • Frozen peas and/or mixed vegetables (Aldi)
  • Eggs (Aldi)
  • 100% Whole wheat bread (Aldi)
  • Whole wheat wraps (Aldi)
  • Whole wheat pasta (Aldi)
  • Salmon fillets (Aldi)
  • Marinara sauce (Aldi)
  • Tortilla chips (Aldi)
  • Salsa (Aldi)
  • Organic granola bars (Aldi)
  • Almond milk (Aldi)
  • Sweet potatoes (Walmart)
  • Amy’s gluten free/vegan frozen burritos (2)(Walmart)
  • Pizza dough (Walmart)
    • Cheese (I try to stay away from dairy, but I buy this when I want to make pizza)

This list lasts me all through the week, however, it doesn’t include random things I may need every once in a while such as olive oil or condiments. Also, the food I enjoy eating may not be what you like so our lists may vary! Aldi is a great place to grocery shop. The prices are very fair, especially compared to Walmart. Also, many items from Aldi are organic and many of the items, such as the tortilla chips I buy, only have a few ingredients which I love.

Some of examples of meals I make for breakfast and lunch with the items on this list include scrambled egg wraps with spinach and mushrooms, avocado toast, and spinach salad with tomato, sunflower seeds, carrots and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. A few meals for dinner include salmon with sweet potato fries and peas, pizza with red sauce, spinach, and mushrooms and cheese, and egg salad sandwiches if I’m feeling a little more lazy. Here’s a picture of my salmon, sweet potato fries, and peas dinner:

Salmon, sweet potato fries, and peas.

There are plenty of healthy snacks included in this list. I love the burritos also. I’ve never been a huge fan of frozen food, but the burritos at the end of the list are made with natural ingredients and are very good for you! At the end of my busiest days, when I have the least motivation to cook, I’ll make one of these instead and pair it with some salsa and maybe some carrots or some other vegetable option.

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be this huge, daunting task! I even try to organize my lists based on what I will run into first in the aisles at the grocery store. There are various small tips and tricks you can learn to become a more efficient grocery shopper, but the most important skill I’ve learned is bringing in all the bags at one time. No way am I making two trips, ha! Now make a list and stay focused; you’re gonna do great!

Healthy Snacking

As college kids, snacking is something many of us do often, sometimes excessively, and rarely healthy. When our schedules change constantly and workload builds up, we can tend to neglect our health and opt out for convenience and low cost. Snacking can be a great way to hold you over until your next meal and if you’re eating healthy snacks, they can contribute essential nutrients to your diet. Here are some suggestions on what to reach for the next time you feel yourself needing a snack.

Hummus– Hummus is a great dip because you can pair it with vegetables, whole grain chips, or use it as a spread on a sandwich. Hummus is a great source of healthy fats.

Fruits and vegetables- Preparing fruits and vegetables ahead of time will mean you have a healthy snack ready to go at all times. Both fruits and vegetables will provide good sources of fiber, as well as many vitamins and minerals to fuel your body.

Nuts– Like hummus, nuts also provide your diet with lots of healthy fat. Snacking on almonds, peanuts, cashews raw or in butters mix well with virtually any whole grain. They are filling and also a good source of protein.

Plain Greek Yogurt- Yogurt is packed with protein and calcium. To reduce the amount of added sugar that can come inside many yogurts, purchase plain yogurt and customize it by adding toppings like berries, granola, or honey.

Air popped popcorn- Popcorn is the perfect snack for when you just want to eat something, but you may not even be that hungry. Popcorn is a whole grain and because it is air popped, there is only about 30 calories per cup. If you’re looking to add some flavor, sprinkle some salt and pepper on top, or if you’re craving something sweeter try a drizzle of dark chocolate and peanut butter.


Don’t forget you can take one snack to go from the dining center! Fill your cup with yogurt, fruit and granola, or grab some hummus from the deli and veggies from the salad station!




Healthy Eating on Valentine’s Day

On a holiday notorious for chocolate, candy, and all things sweet, it can seem hard to eat healthy on Valentine’s Day, but here are some tips to help make it easier to make the right choices on date night.

While going out to eat is always fun, it can sometimes be hard to decipher what’s healthy and what’s not just by looking at the menu. One way to ensure you’re getting food cooked in the best way possible, is to avoid any menu item that is fried. Instead, ask your server if it is possible to have the item grilled, or baked instead. This change alone will reduce the calories and fat content of the food.

Vegetables are always your best option when trying to eat healthy, so make sure whatever you order, there are some greens. Many dishes may offer unhealthy sides such as fries or chips, but typically these can be substituted at little to no cost with a salad or steamed vegetables. Similarly to substituting fried foods, this switch will also save you some calories and fat. In addition, compared to the unhealthy side dish, there will be more vitamins, nutrients, and fiber when vegetables are substituted.

Lastly, always choose a whole grain if the option is available. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and will keep you fuller for longer when compared to simple carbohydrates (ex. white bread, white pasta, white rice) and provide more fiber. Ask your server if there is either a whole grain or whole wheat substitute for the carbohydrate in your order. Many restaurants may offer substitutes such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or other grains such as quinoas, farro, or wheatberry.

When it comes to dessert, order one and split it with your Valentine, you’ll still get to try that delicious sounding item, but this will help to prevent overeating.

It may seem impossible to eat healthy on Valentine’s Day, but if you follow the tips above, dining out at a restaurant will still leave you with plenty of options that are both nutritious and delicious!

Meet nutrition intern Maddie

Maddie stands upon a wooden medal stand replica, holding a ski

Hello everyone! My name is Maddie Cerminara and I am one of the nutrition interns at SUNY Oswego with the Registered Dietitian on campus, Kathryn Szklany. I am so excited to be interning and expanding my knowledge on healthy eating as well as inspiring others to make healthy choices on campus by using social media as a platform to reach students. I have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and I love photography and digital media, so this internship encompasses many of my interests and what I want to pursue when I graduate.

I am a Communications major and an English minor so I am also very interested in social media and writing. Oswego has given me so many opportunities to be involved on campus so I have taken advantage of being in PRSSA (Public Relation Student Society in America) and being in the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi. I am from the Adirondacks so I love hiking, skiing and being outdoors. I am a junior and have lived on campus for my first two years at Oswego, so I know what eating in the dining hall is like. Sometimes making healthy choices is difficult, especially when there is a table full of desserts after every meal! But, I hope through this blog and our posts on SUNY Oswego’s instagram we can help students to achieve a balanced lifestyle while at college!


Meet nutrition intern Alessia

Blogger holding a painting of a whale

     Hi everyone! I’m Alessia Pizzino and I am one of the Nutrition Education interns working with the campus’ Registered Dietitian, Kathryn Szklany this spring. I’m really excited to work as one of the nutrition interns because I have a passion for educating people on eating and healthy lifestyles. My major is Wellness Management, and my minors are Nutrition and Health Science. The classes I have taken here at SUNY Oswego, furthered my knowledge and desire to enter the health field, and educate people on how to make healthy lifestyle changes.

     In addition to being one of the nutrition interns, I also intern as a personal trainer at the fitness centers and work at the Pathfinder dining center. Working at Pathfinder is where I learned that we have a Registered  Dietitian on campus, something that many other schools may not have. I am a senior this semester and will be graduating this May, I am sad to leave Oswego, but excited to join the “real world.”  After graduation, I will try to find a job and eventually go on to graduate school to hopefully become a registered dietitian myself!