Vitamins for College Students



Vitamins are a group of organic compounds with regulatory functions. Vitamins cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by the body; therefore we must obtain them in adequate amounts from food. There are 13 universally recognized vitamins: 9 water-soluble vitamins and 4 fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in body (except Vitamin B12), and mostly are non-toxic when we intake them excessively. On the contrary, fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in body, and most of them are toxic at excessive doses. Generally it is not recommended for people without malabsorption issues to take vitamin supplements, because we can get enough through a healthy diet! While every vitamin is essential,today our emphasis is on vitamins that are beneficial to college students.

Vitamins D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and has many functions that help people stay healthy. Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin from the sun, and helps the body absorb calcium. Along with calcium, vitamin D helps to keep our bones healthy and strong. Vitamin D also plays an important role in our immune system, which protects us from illness and infections. Good food sources of vitamin D include: liver, beef, veal, eggs, dairy, some saltwater fish, and foods fortified with vitamin D. College students have large amounts of physical activities, so intaking enough vitamin D can help students have healthy bones to do daily activities.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is another fat-soluble vitamin, and it is stored in the liver. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy eyes, keeping the immune system strong and helping cells function properly. There two forms of vitamin A: retinoids and provitamin A, also known as carotenoids. Retinoids are found in animal products such as liver, dairy, eggs, fish oils, tuna, and sardines. Carotenoids are found in plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables that are bright colors to yellow, orange and red. Since we have stressful academic works everyday, it is really important to take adequate vitamin A to protect our vision.

B Vitamins

B vitamins include a group of 8 water-soluble vitamins called the vitamin B-complex. Vitamin B-complex has a very important role in energy releasing. One or more B vitamins are involved in every aspect of catabolic process, and provide energy to us by breaking down molecules through process. Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins in this process. Vitamin B12 also has functions in the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. Good food sources of vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products. We also can choose foods that are fortified with vitamin B12.

All 13 vitamins are essential for our health, so it is important to follow the “My Plate” template and choose a wide range of foods to get enough vitamins, as long as they are not in any serious diseases or conditions.–vitamin-d-deficiency-


Sustaining Your New Year’s Resolution


By Jackie Ahern

It’s a little over a week into 2018: a perfect time to reflect on the successes and struggles of those pesky New Year’s resolutions we all seem to make. For those of you that have stuck to your goal of going to the gym more often, or eating more leafy greens, congratulations! Research has shown it takes 21 days to make something a habit, so you’re halfway there! For those of you that haven’t been so successful, you’re absolutely not alone.

New Year’s resolutions are tough. For one, there are a lot of expectations and hype surrounding becoming a newer, better version of yourself, al starting on January 1st (or the 2nd if that NYE party was a real rager); however, in reality, time is relative. There’s no difference between starting a new habit on January 1st or June 1st, other than those 6 months. Granted you live for at least 20 more years (here’s hoping), 6 months is a pretty small fraction. What I’m trying to say is that January 1st isn’t the end-all-be-all for changing your life for the better. If you aren’t able to stick to your first resolution for whatever reason, whether it be that it’s too expensive, too time-consuming or just too difficult to keep up, that’s okay. You don’t have to abandon the resolution; just modify it. When an engineer designs a building but it gets painted the wrong color, they don’t tear down the whole building. They just repaint it.

A good New Year’s resolution, or any lifestyle change for that matter, needs to be something you can see yourself being able to continue for the rest, or most, of your life. For example, I know I cannot completely cut out desert forever (have you ever had ice cream?) but what I could do is cut down on my portion size, or only have it a couple times a week instead of every night. Additionally as a student, working out every day at 7am isn’t exactly sustainable, but working out after class 3 or 4 times a week could be. If down the line you find yourself suddenly hating ice cream, or craving more workouts, you can definitely switch some things up, but in the beginning, its best to start small with more attainable goals.

So what is a good way to assess an attainable, smart goal? Well, there’s a convenient acronym for that. It’s called SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Specific refers to a clear definition of the goal, such as “I will take a 30-minute walk in the morning, 3 times a week” versus just, “I will get in shape.” Measurable means having a way to evaluate how thoroughly the goal has been met, such as marking exercise days on a calendar or keeping a food journal. Achievable means the goal must be within the realm of possibility; for example, “I will lose 1 pound a week” instead of, “I will lose 20 pounds this month.” Talking to a professional like a doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer can help to navigate how achievable a health-related goal is. Relevant refers to how much the goal fits in with your lifestyle and other pursuits. For example, while in school, a resolution such as “I will learn how to swim” may be more relevant than “I will learn how to scuba dive.” Lastly, timely means that the goal should have some defined checkpoint or endpoint, such as “I will eventually be able to meditate for 20 minutes by adding 5 minutes to my meditation every 2 weeks.” Of course, from there you can decide to modify the goal.

And finally… Think about where you were 3 months ago. If you had made just a small lifestyle change then, today could a very different day. With time flying by the way that it does, who knows where you could be in just a few months by taking a small step towards a healthier future, today.

The Truth about carbs



By:  Michelle Sweeney, Nutrition Peer Counselor,  Fit-well Center, UC Davis

Carbohydrates, and whether or how much to consume, fill our social media feeds, but many people don’t know what carbohydrate is and what function is serves in our bodies.

Why do we need carbs in the first place? Carbohydrates are our body’s first choice in energy. We need carbohydrates to fuel our everyday activities, as well as any exercise.  Carbohydrates are long chains of starch molecules that break down easily to the simple sugar, glucose, our brain depends on. We need carbohydrates in our diet for fuel so that other macronutrients such as protein and fat can work to build muscle, repair your body, and regulate systems.

Carbs, or carbohydrates, can be classified into two categories: simple and complex. The simple ones are what most people think of first. These are usually made from refined grains, with added sugar and can raise blood sugar quickly. Complex carbs, on the other hand are high in fiber and starch. They are usually less processed and are digested more slowly. They are more-filling than simple carbs due to the fiber content.

While most people thinks carbs are only things like pasta and bread, carbohydrates are found in many different foods, including, but not limited to: fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains. These foods offer important vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, which are essential to both short-term and long-term health.

Choosing important and healthy carbohydrates everyday does not have to be a difficult process. You can switch out refined grains (white bread, French bread, white pasta etc.) for whole wheat or whole grain versions. You should try to have about a quarter of each meal be carbohydrate-rich grains, and shoot for at least half of your grains in a day as whole grains. Carbohydrate-rich foods work as a great base for meals. Whole wheat pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables and a bit of olive oil provides whole grains in the pasta, complex carbohydrates and nutrients in the vegetables, protein in the chicken, and healthy fat in the olive oil – great example of a balanced meal!

Many people try to avoid carbs because they believe it will help them lose weight or avoid various health problems, like inflammation. The reason cutting out carbs can give the appearance of weight loss is because carbohydrates bind to water in your body. Then, when you stop eating them, you lose water weight, not fat tissue. In the long run, the fiber provided by complex carbohydrates can give you a trimmer, less bloated appearance. Whole grains and other complex carbs play an important role in reducing inflammation and inflammatory markers indicating better overall health.

Overall, carbohydrate-rich foods provide many additional, non-carbohydrate nutrients and they can help improve your health in the long-term. They also provide your body with the energy it needs to thrive. So feel free to “carb-up”, just opt for complex carb sources like whole grains and fruits and vegetables, instead of refined simple carbs like white bread and sugary sweets.

A Supervisor Guides You Through the CoHo at UC Davis



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By:  Jackie Ahern, Nutrition Peer Counselor, Fitness and Wellness Center, UC Davis

Every visit to the Coffee House seems to feel like an obstacle course. Do you wait in a 20 minute line just to wait another 15 for a latte? Should you get a salad? But the pizza line is pretty short… Where did she get that poke bowl?

Fear not. Let me guide you through saving money, time and options for plant eaters.

Saving Pennies        

As a college student, I’ll take any opportunity to save a few cents. Bring your own coffee cup to get 25 cents off any espresso drink and coffee refills for only $1.50. On top of that, bring your own clean plate or bowl for food purchased at the Coho and get 25 cents off your purchase. Saving pennies and the planet! And more: Skip the tortilla on your taco salad and save another 50 cents.

Skipping the Line

This year, the Coho rolled out a fancy new system: Tapingo. Through an app on your smartphone, you can now pre order and pay for your meal through the Tapingo app. No more waiting in line, nifty!

Avoiding Peak Hours

            If you’re able to, try to avoid the peak times. These include 9-10 am and 12-1 pm. Additionally 10 minutes before and after the hour are generally pretty busy any time of the day. Plan ahead to avoid the rush.

Vegetarian & Vegan Options

            I’ve spent my entire college career scouting out vegetarian and vegan options. It’s been a long process but here’s the wisdom I’ve gathered at each food area:

Swirlz: You can get almost any espresso drink made with soy for a few more cents. The only drink that can’t be made with soy are blasts, which are made with ice cream. Shucks.

  • Vegan note: The caramel, pumpkin spice and white chocolate sauces all have milk in them, but the chocolate sauce is vegan!

Ciao: Check out the hot sandwich line to the left and load up a delicious garden patty or black bean burger!

  • Vegan note: All the breads are vegan except for the whole wheat bun; it has yogurt in it.

Cooks: Stop by on Meatless Monday for delicious meat-free options every week at Cooks. They also distinguish vegan and vegetarian options on the menu.

TxMx: Ask for ½ beans ½ rice on your burrito or taco salad for an inexpensive and complete protein option! Also try out the Tofu Rojas made with delicious seasonings.

  • Vegan note: Make sure to ask for “no cheese” on your tortilla, as their default has cheese

Croutons: Load up a build your own baked potato or build your own salad for a nutritious and filling meal. Once it’s made, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast (those yellow flakes) for a nutty, cheesy and vitamin packed topping.

Chopstixx: Get your soup on with vegetarian pho (made with vegetable broth) and try out the quick and easy vegetarian sushi roll made with avocado, cucumber and carrots.

Fickle Pickle: Tofu salad is a great vegan addition to your usual sandwich, or throw it on a bagel with hummus!


Best wishes for managing the CoHo maze. In the end the drinks are caffeinated, the food is warm and the company is good. And if you have questions, just ask an employee. They’re there to help!

Making healthier choices eating out


By: Debbie Dang, Nutrition Peer Counselor, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness Center

As students trying to survive the brutality of the quarter system at UC Davis, we sometimes find ourselves having little time to cook during the week. This forces us to go out and buy foods that are fast and easily accessible. But how can we eat healthy AND optimize our time simultaneously, living this lifestyle? Here are 10 tips to achieve both!

  1. Check what is in the food you’re considering ordering

The first step to eating healthier is to scan the ingredients. Doing this will help you make a decision that supports your nutrition goals.  Keep choosemyplate in mind and look for entrees with a balance of grains, protein and fruits and veggies. If you can’t find one, order a side of veggies.

  1. Go with a plan

People tend to arrive at a restaurant or food joint without a plan. This increases the chance of buying impulsively. Looking at the menu ahead of time can help you decide on a healthier meal and decrease that risk of buying an extra order of fries! So, take a quick study break and peruse the online menu.

  1. Practice portion control

Restaurants will often serve two to three times more than what is considered a serving on their food label. Instead of eating that whole platter, ask the restaurant to box up half of the meal into a to-go box. Or if you’re eating with a friend, share a meal.

  1. Watch your fat intake

Many processed and restaurant foods contain saturated fat in order to increase storage life and enhance the taste and mouthfeel. Eating too many of these fats can increase your chances of coronary heart disease. Avoid eating more than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.  That would be about 22 gms per day maximum.  Sometimes this information is difficult to find at restaurants.  Beware of large quantities of fatty meats, cheese and butter.

  1. Minimize your sodium intake

Salt is used to reduce microbial growth and enhance the taste of foods, but eating too much can be detrimental to your health! A high salt intake can result in hypertension or high blood pressure. Limit your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg/day. When eating out, ask the restaurant to minimize the salt and use herbs and spices to add flavor instead!

  1. Skip the sweetened beverage

Sweetened beverages like boba milk tea or soda have a high sugar content, which can increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes over time. Skip these sugar-laden drinks and drink water instead! If water is too bland for you, an alternative is to drink water that is infused with vegetables or fruit.  Most restaurants will provide a lemon wedge. 

  1. Substitute some items on your plate

Making simple changes by substituting foods with healthier choices can make a big difference in the long run. For example, when ordering a taco bowl at Chipotle, you can choose brown rice instead of white rice. Or instead of buying a side of fries, ask for a side of vegetables.

  1. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets

It’s easy to fall into the temptation of all-you-can eat buffets. Eating at a buffet oftentimes invokes students to “eat their money’s worth.” But the foods at buffets are usually high in fat and salt. Overeating these foods may increase your risk for high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart disease! Take the opportunity to load up on veggies at the salad bar.

  1. Ask for sauces and dip on the side

Restaurants will often mix your salads or fries with the sauce for your convenience. Some of these sauces can make your healthy meal unhealthy! Asking for sauces on the side will help you monitor how much you use. 

  1. Practice mindful eating

It takes time for your body to send cues to your brain to tell you you’re full. Oftentimes distractions like your phone or favorite TV series may cause you to be less attentive to your body cues. This can lead to overeating. However, being mindful of your body cues will help you avoid this. To practice mindful eating, eat slowly and without distractions. Listening to how much your body actually wants will help you practice eating only until you’re full.

Try these tips the next time you go out to eat! Choosing healthier choices will be beneficial in the long run and help you take control of your life.


Get Juicy, Aggies!

By Monika Ax, Nutrition Peer Counselor, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness

Whether you spent the weekend eating junk food, had a little too many drinks the night before, or simply need to get in a vegetable fix, pressed juice is a healthy, and refreshing way to satisfy your cravings. Finding the right place can be difficult, especially as a college student who can’t afford to throw down $10 or more for a light snack- and lets be honest, juices do not fill you up like a meal. I chose three popular spots in Davis to sample: The Nugget, Jamba Juice, and Sun and Soil. Specifically, I chose only green juices, so that I could select the most similar juices at each place. Through careful tasting and evaluating, I was able to find a favorite supplier that fit my college budget and taste preferences.

So here goes my honest opinion…

Nugget Market

  • Time to make: 3 ½ minutes
  • Price: $5.00
  • Verdict: The “Purifier” was recommended. It contains kale, ginger, lemon, pineapple, and cucumber. Surprisingly, I was the only customer at the time, and the juice only took a few minutes to come out. Granted, every other time I have come to Nugget to get a juice or acai bowl, it’s been busy and taken at least 10 minutes to get what I ordered. I received a 12oz plastic cup, with another 4oz cup full of the leftovers. So I got about 16oz total for only $5. The taste was overall refreshing and cleansing. It was pretty tart from the lemon, but I enjoy tart flavors and it did not bother me. There was a subtle sweetness from the pineapple, and you couldn’t taste the kale at all. After finishing the whole drink, I had that “Ah I feel so refreshed” feeling. Another plus is that all of their produce is locally sourced.  It was definitely a good juice given the price and amount.

nugget juice

Jamba Juice

  • Time to make: 4 minutes
  • Price: $5.99
  • Verdict: The juice I ordered was called “Tropical Greens” and it had apple, pineapple, super greens, and chia. It also came in a 12 oz plastic cup, but this time with no extras. I’m not sure what the “super greens” were, but they definitely gave the juice a more chalky consistency. It was blended with ice, which made it thicker than a normal juice. The apple and pineapple were more overpowering in this juice and made it a lot sweeter. It definitely did not feel very refreshing, and the sweetness and thickness made it heavier than what I was expecting from a green juice. At this point, I was wishing I had my nugget juice back.

jamba juice

Sun and Soil

  • Time to make: none, because they are already prepared
  • Price: $11.50 (but you get $2 back if you return the bottle, so technically $9.50)
  • Verdict: Now, I know that the price is almost double that of Nugget’s and Jamba Juice’s, but the juice is organic and comes in a recyclable glass bottle. I ordered the “Sweet Greens” which has apple, cucumber, spinach, filtered water, lime and ginger. The juice was very flavorful and the perfect consistency: not too watery and not too thick. It was also not as tart as the juice from the Nugget. I give this place creds for their eco-friendly reusable bottles and use of organic fruits and veggies.

So which juice would I recommend to my fellow broke college student craving a healthy fix?

I would rule Jamba Juice out of the equation. Although it was relatively cheap, I couldn’t get over the chalkiness and thickness. It was more like a melted smoothie than a juice.

Sun and soil definitely had high quality ingredients and great tasting juice, but it cost me $9.50 for 16oz, whereas at the Nugget it was only $5.  Now, if $9.50 per bottle is in your budget, I would definitely recommend Sun and Soil. But personally, the Nugget is within my price range, and perfectly satisfied my green tooth.

What is your favorite juice place?