What You Should Know Before You Go

food-travels-bnr

Planning to hit the road or fly to a new destination? You may be at risk for becoming sick or having a medical emergency, especially if you’re traveling to developing countries (including most of Asia, Africa, Mexico, Middle East, and Central and South America)! Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness; though it is not life-threatening for most healthy adults, it can cause an unpleasant trip.

You can reduce your risk for traveler’s diarrhea and other related diseases with safe eating and drinking habits. Here’s what you need to know on how to steer clear of travel sickness so you can enjoy your vacation or quick getaway:

FOODS

Usually safe to eat:

  • Fully cooked, hot food (served steaming hot)
  • Dry or packaged food (unopened and factory-sealed)
  • Fruits and vegetables washed in safe water and peeled yourself
  • Pasteurized dairy products

Avoid:

  • Raw food (includes fruits, vegetables and fresh condiments)
  • Street food
  • Bushmeat (i.e. local wild game – source of animal-origin diseases)
  • Flavored ice or popsicles

BEVERAGES

Usually safe to drink:  

  • Bottled or canned drinks (carbonated are safer)
  • Hot water, coffee or tea (served steaming hot)
  • Pasteurized and sealed dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese and yogurt)
  • Alcohol (avoid drinks “on the rocks” or with ice)

Avoid:

  • Tap water (includes swallowing water when showering or brushing your teeth) 
  • Fountain drinks
  • Ice (most likely made with tap water)
  • Freshly squeezed juice (unless fruit was properly washed in safe water)

 

HAND HYGIENE

  • Wash hands properly with soap and water* (especially before eating and after using the bathroom)
  • Check to see that utensils and dishes are clean.
  • Keep hands away from your mouth

*If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

 

For more advice, check out this infographic and download the Center for Disease Control’s app  “Can I Eat This?” on making safe food and drink choices during your travel!

 

Sources: 

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002433.htm

Photo source:

http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/home/us/en

 

 

 

 

Freedom Never Tastes So Good

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By Bernice Kwan

It’s time to fire up the grill and celebrate Independence Day in the most delicious way possible! Impress your family and friends (and even yourself!) this weekend with these quick-and-easy patriotic dishes and red, white and blue recipes that will make your Fourth of July extra fun and tasty!

Patriotic Fruit Kabobs

Try these colorful combinations for a cool and refreshing treat that are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help you fight off disease and feed your body with what it needs to function at its best! 

Ingredients (try one of the 3 combinations): 

  1. Strawberries, bananas, and blueberries 
    • Strawberries have vitamin C which can help prevent common colds and relieve stress.
  2. Raspberries, white peaches, and blackberries.
    • White peaches are high in fiber which promotes proper digestion. 
  3. Watermelon, apples, and purple grapes.
    • Watermelon is a great way to stay hydrated – it’s about 90% water.

Directions:

  1. Cut and remove stems from your selection of fruit.
  2. Thread fruits onto skewers, alternating between different colored-fruits.
  3. Place finished skewers on a platter and refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

Constitutional Caprese Cup

Mix up your average caprese salad for a sweet and festive flare!

Ingredients

  • Red cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Blueberries
  • Chopped basil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions 

  1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and blueberries in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette and toss until all ingredients are well-combined. 
  3. Top with chopped basil and and serve! 

 

Untraditional Potato Salad 

Enjoy a lighter yet flavorful version of one of the most popular sides at summer cookouts with these simple tips: 

  • The spud: Leave the skin on the potatoes (more fiber!) and combine potatoes with other starches like cauliflower, sweet potatoes and parsnips.
  • The veggies: Add colorful veggies (e.g. green beans, peas, carrots, radishes, celery, and bell peppers) and herbs for a more flavorful and nutritious profile.
  • The dressing: Replace mayo with plain Greek yogurt

Try these recipes:

 

Need more ideas? Check out these recipes for a fresh and delicious summer picnic or cookout.

 

Wishing you all a safe and healthy Fourth of July weekend!

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1001-vitamin+c+ascorbic+acid.aspx?activeingredientid=1001&activeingredientname=vitamin+c+(ascorbic+acid)

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/11/15/364110004/a-journey-through-the-history-of-american-food-in-100-bites

http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/topic_id/16/id/105/

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2015/07/21/how-to-build-a-healthier-potato-salad/

 

 

 

Summer is Here!

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The countdown is over. Summer is officially here! The Summer Solstice arrived yesterday on June 20th, which marked the beginning of summer and the point when the sun was directly over the Tropic of Cancer. This translates to the most daylight hours for Earth’s Northern Hemisphere – did you notice it was a longer day? 

With warmer and longer days, summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, be active and spend time with friends and family. However, it is also important not to overlook  common problems that creep up during this time of year. Get ready for the upcoming months with these simple tips to help you have a safe, fun and enjoyable summer!

Beat the Summer Heat

Too much sun can cause painful burning and increase the risk of skin cancer and heat stress. Take precautions to prevent skin damage:

  • Stay out of direct sunlight for an extended period of time. 
  • Plan outdoor events early in the morning when it’s cooler.
  • Wear sunglasses and light-colored, lightweight clothing and hats with wide brims. 
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF >30 and both UVA and UVB protection (even on cloudy days).

*Reapply after swimming or after staying outside for more than two hours.

Eating and Dining Out

Foodborne illnesses peak in the summer. Follow these steps to avoid food poisoning:

  • Follow proper food safety by cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling your food. 
  • Check the food safety inspection reports from restaurants.
  • Pack perishable cold foods in an insulator with ice or frozen “gel-packs” to keep the temperatures below 40° F (do not eat perishable food that has been left out in the sun for over 2 hours or one hour if over 90°F; when in doubt throw it out). 

Click here to learn more on food safety during cookouts and camping trips. 

Traveling 

Anticipate issues that may arise during your trip and practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself from injury or illness: 

  • See your doctor to check your health status before you travel. 
  • Check what shots may be required or recommended for your destination. 
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.

Click here for a more complete survival guide to a safe and healthy travel.   

Swim Safety 

Swimming is a great recreational sport and a popular summer activity. Be aware of how to swim safely before you head out to the pool or open water:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Never swim alone (even experienced swimmers may need help).
  • Do not leave young children or non-swimmers unattended.
  • Know your local emergency number and/or learn CPR (it’s a lifesaving skill, literally).

Self-Care 

Make the time to look after yourself to make sure you stay well and fit so you can enjoy the pleasures of what this season has to offer:

  • Maintain good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule.
  • Apply bug spray with DEET and avoid insect breeding grounds and contact with wild animals.
  • Hydrate and drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration.

Read more on Staying Active in Warm Weather and Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy.

 

Resources: 

 

http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-summer-2016-summer-solstice

http://www.webmd.com/women/features/8-summer-steps-for-healthy-living?page=2

http://www.health.ri.gov/seasonal/summer/

 

 

Keep Calm and Study On

Keep-Calm

 

 

By Bernice Kwan

Finals are about to begin. With the distraction of summer and the blazing heat, it may be difficult to focus on your studies. Remaining calm can help improve your ability to think and improve your test performance. Keep your mind at peace and take these tips to help you get through finals and finish this school year off strong!

  • Chew your food slowly: When it comes snack or meal time, slow down and taste your food. This lets you practice mindfulness and helps you take your mind off your stresses by allowing you to savor the flavors and enjoy your food. Also, your body is given more time to sense that you are full so you may probably end up eating less than you otherwise would have.
  • Get your body moving: Take a study break and get moving! Physical activity can help balance your stress hormones and keep your mind at rest. Moreover, exercise promotes oxygen circulation and stimulates your body to make endorphins, which are mood boosting hormones. Head over to the ARC to get your workout in, play some basketball with your friends, or just go for a stroll in the Arboretum!
  • Snack Smart: Many conventional snacks like candy are packed with sugar which raises your blood glucose and can make you more restless. Try something like dark chocolate dipped strawberries instead! The vitamin C in strawberries reduces stress induced free radicals and dark chocolate reduces stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Try Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid and a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm. Pairing Tryptophan with food high in carbohydrates can activate the release of serotonin. However, keep in mind that it also has the capability to make you feel sleepy or tired! Tryptophan is found in a variety of foods including whole grains, turkey, chicken, milk, soy, and nuts.
  • Load up on vitamin B: This vitamin has been found to have a positive effect on mood, which in turn can help you feel more level headed. Eating foods containing vitamin B can help keep anxiety at bay. You can find it in meats, citrus fruits, rice, nuts, and eggs.
  • Warm Up: Studies have shown that when your body gets heated up, you tend to feel more relaxed since it reduces muscle tension and anxiety. Also, warmth affects serotonin levels and may control mood. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, lay out in the Quad in between your classes to soak up some sun and take a hot bath to unwind your day!
  • Reflect on Your Accomplishments: Though you may feel like you have a million things to finish up and worry about getting everything done in time, take a minute to reflect on everything you have accomplished so far. You have made it this far and are almost done with the 2015-2016 school year. This can help build the motivation and confidence you need to get through this last week – you can do it!

http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management

http://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-diet-stress-exercise

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19074539

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/the-truth-about-tryptophan?page=2

 

 

Hydrate to Feel Great

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By Rachel Ho

Summer is coming and so is the blistering heat! An important yet overlooked tip to prepare for the upcoming months is to hydrate. What you choose to drink is just as important as what you choose to eat. Many beverages have added sugars and offer little to no nutrients. Here are a few tips to help you make better beverage choices!

What to drink

Most often: Choose these beverages most often – they provide proper hydration and key nutrients to support bodily function to feel and perform your best.

  • Water (essential to life – your body is made of more than 50% water!)
  • Milk (great source of calcium and vitamins)
  • Unsweetened soy beverages (great source of protein)

Less often: Choose these beverages less often – they can be nutritious but may contain added sugars or be missing key nutrients to help you function properly.

  • Flavored milks and soy/non-dairy beverages
  • Fruit and/or vegetable juices and smoothies*
  • Sweetened teas

*Missing nutrients (e.g. fiber) – it is recommended to eat whole fruit or vegetables!

Limit: Enjoy these beverages occasionally but generally avoid these options – they most likely are high in sugar and provide little to no nutrients:

  • Regular soda or pop
  • Energy and sports drinks
  • Fruit flavored drinks (e.g. fruit punch or lemonade)
  • Specialty coffee or tea drinks (e.g. frappucinos or sweetened lattes)

How often to hydrate

The Institute of Medicine recommends that most women drink 12 cups and most men drink 15 cups of water a day; however, everyone’s needs are very different. Most of us can get enough water from various foods and beverages, but it is important to hydrate properly. Your individual needs depend on many factors including:

  • Age
  • Body composition
  • Weather and temperature conditions
  • Physical activity level
  • Sickness or injury

Check the facts

Use the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list to help you choose the best beverage choices to hydrate and fuel your body.

Rule of thumb: If sugar is listed as one of the first three ingredients (or if there is more than 12 grams of sugar per 12 oz. serving), rethink your drink and go for a more healthful option.

Know where sugar is hiding

There many different names for sugar. Limit beverages that attempt to disguise sugar as the following ingredients:

  • glucose
  • fructose
  • dextrose
  • maltose
  • sucrose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • corn syrup
  • molasses
  • juice concentrate
  • honey
  • cane or beet sugar
  • and more!

http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html

http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/healthy-eating-active-living/sugar-smarts/be-sugar-smart/Pages/How-to-Spot-a-Sugary-Drink.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/drinking-enough-water-topic-overview

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

What You Need to Ask Yourself Before Moo-ving Off-Campus

Prep

 

By Taylor Owyang

The academic year is coming to an end and many of you may be planning your first move to live off-campus or to a new apartment complex. This can be a very big transition, especially for those of you who are currently living in the residence halls and/or on a meal plan. There can be many lifestyle changes that come with living on your own, but an important question to ask yourself is: are you ready to prepare your own food?

The idea of food preparation may sound daunting, but basic cooking is a life skill worth learning. Not only can cooking help save money, but it can also be very rewarding and develop good personal traits such as self-sufficiency, confidence and creativity. When cooking at home, you have control of what to put on your plate, how to prepare your snacks or meals, and flavors to savor in your food. The taste of homemade food is not something you can find in stores. Equip yourself with these cooking appliances and tools and you may impress yourself with what you can do in the kitchen.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT:

  • Knife: This can be one of the most important cooking tools and help cut your prep time in half! Explore the different types of knives and their intended purpose to help make your job easier and prepare food like a pro.
  • Chef’s knife: a large, versatile knife good for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.
  • Utility knife: similar to chef’s knife but smaller and easier to handle.
  • Paring knife: small and handy for precision tasks like peeling, trimming and slicing fruits and vegetables.
  • Santoku Knife: a multipurpose knife with a thick blade for cutting meats and produce
  • Slicing/Carving knife: good for meats, poultry and fish and has a long, thin blade for neat, even, thin slices. Learn more about the different types of knives and their proper use here.
  • Kitchen Shears: scissors to cut and snip different types of foods ranging from meats to fresh herbs.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: essential for baking and measuring ingredients to make a recipe or your perfect cup of coffee or tea.
  • Can Opener: an overlooked gadget essential to opening many canned goods (e.g. soups, beans, and tuna, etc.)
  • Non-Stick Skillet: good for even heating for a breakfast omelette or pancakes and also a easy clean-up.

APPLIANCES:

  • Electric Kettle: convenient for boiling water for a quick coffee fix or a bowl of instant oatmeal.
  • Blender: great for fresh soups, smoothies, salsas and spreads that you usually purchase but can easily create yourself. Check out incredibly easy recipes you can make in a blender here!
  • Slow Cooker/Crock-Pot: good for flavorful soups, stews, and easy weeknight dinners (and even desserts) that doesn’t require you in the kitchen and saves you time, energy and money. Learn about the surprising things you can make in a slow cooker here!

Experiment with different gadgets and cooking may turn out to be your new favorite hobby! You can discover the fruitful rewards of preparing your own food and unwinding in the kitchen in the midst of your busy student lifestyle. In our fast-paced culture and wide availability of ready-to-eat food, cooking may no longer seem necessary but can strongly enrich your life. Once you are equipped with the right tools and learn the basics and techniques, you can experience how fun and satisfying cooking can be and taste the difference of your very own home-cooked meal.

Sources of information:

http://www.thekitchn.com/10-musthaves-for-cooking-in-your-dorm-room-product-roundup-208304

http://college.usatoday.com/2012/12/21/10-college-kitchen-essentials/

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cutlery/cutlery-shapes-uses/

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fridge, Happy Shelf-life

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By David Luu

The sight of a full refrigerator can be one of the most satisfying things for any college student. But busy as we are, certain foods are bound to spoil if left forgotten. Here are some helpful tips on increasing the shelf life of certain foods to prevent food waste.

  1. Location, location, location!

Certain areas in refrigerators help ensure the food maintains freshness.

  • Leftovers and ready-to-eat foods should be placed on the top shelves. The upper shelves have the most consistent temperature.
  • Place vegetables in the bottom drawers. These are drawers that maintain moisture in fruits and vegetables to prevent them from drying out.
  • Store meat and poultry on the lower shelf in the back of the refrigerator. It can be much colder in the back of the fridge than in the front.
  • Less perishable items should be placed by the door, such as juices. The door is the warmest part of the fridge due to the exposure of room-temperature air.
  1. Do not overstuff your refrigerator

Fridges need to be kept at or below 40°F. In order for the cool air to circulate, it is important to leave some room between the foods.

  1. Try lowering refrigerator temperature to between 34°F and 38°F.

The colder temperature can help slow down the speed at which microorganisms grow.

  1. Blanch and freeze uncooked leftover vegetables

Blanching involves briefly placing vegetables into boiling water, and immediately shocking them in an ice bath. This process stops vegetable from spoiling.

  1. Keep apples away from other fruits!

Apples produce a gas called ethylene that will cause other fruits nearby ripen more quickly. Try placing them in plastic bags to avoid gas exposure and loss of moisture.

  1. Its a wrap!

Tightly wrapping fruits, especially acidic ones, helps keep out oxygen, a major contributor to mold growth. Fruits that are high in moisture, such as berries, peaches, and cucumbers, should be loosely wrapped to avoid mold growth.

Avoid food waste and spoilage and take these tips to keep your fridge happy and more money in your wallet!

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.today.com/food/how-keep-food-fresh-fridge-storing-it-right-place-t89496

http://www.foodsafetysite.com/resources/pdfs/consumers/FSRefrigerator.pdf

http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/six-tips-extending-shelf-life-foods