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!