5 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick In College

girl study

By:  Esther Garcia, UC Davis Healthy Aggies Intern            

As winter approaches, students are seen sneezing and coughing in class. There is no evidence on why students are more prone to get sick in the winter, compared to other seasons. We all tend to be inside more, where everyone comes in contact with the same things.  It may be simply because viruses peak in the wintertime. However you get it, we all know there are many struggles that come an illness of any kind: skipped classes, missed (or late) assignments, and even missed exams. To help avoid an illness and the consequent academic nightmare, there are five tips below to minimize your risk of getting sick.

Wash Your Hands! – Everything is full of germs. The pencil that you shared, the notebook your friend let you borrow to study, and your desk – all have various good and bad germs.  It is important to wash your hands each time you come in contact with an object. Make sure to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds:

  • Before eating
  • Before rubbing your eyes or nose
  • After using the restroom
  • After sneezing and coughing
  • After shaking hands

Rest – Sleep is the last thing on a student’s mind, however; “all-nighters” are not be effective for infection control! The body needs rest to regenerate and fight any viruses it came in contact with. Students who get an adequate amount of sleep tend to have a better immune system than those who don’t. So, having a consistent sleeping schedule not only gets the body ready for your school day, but also for a healthy day!.

Eat a Balanced Diet – Having plenty of fruits and vegetables strengthens our immune system. The vitamins and minerals we get from fruit and vegetables provides ammunition to fight illness. Many of us tend not to eat many fruits and veggies during the winter; however, having at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits can help our immune system utilize vitamins and minerals like Vit C and potassium work together to get the body stronger. Proteins like lean meats, legumes, and  dairy is also important because the amino acids help the body create strong components  of the immune system.

Physical Activity  Staying active during the winter is difficult because most students want to remain in doors where it is cozy and warm; nonetheless, evidence has demonstrated that people who exercise year round tend to get less sick. Similar to eating a balanced diet, exercise helps the body get stronger for any viruses. If it’s too cold to go for a run try:

  • Going to a gym
  • Finding an exercise video
  • Going for a walk around the library
  • Taking an indoor exercise class

Stay Hydrated – During the winter, most of us opt out from consuming water and prefer to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. As much as we enjoy the warm cup of liquids, theses type of beverages tend to dehydrate us. Water is important for staying hydrated and transporting all of the vitamins to the site of absorption.

Considering these tips will not only help you get through a healthy school year, it will help many others too! Always remember, clean hands and a healthy balanced lifestyle will help keep you free of infection by viruses and bacterial.

Sources:

http://www.hhs.gov/blog/2014/12/29/why-sleep-important.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/does-cold-weather-make-you-sick#culprits

https://ozzz.org/how-college-students-can-avoid-getting-sick/

https://www.ketteringhealth.org/communityoutreach/pdf/wn/December2017.pdf

Healthy Late Night Snacking

late night snack

By Marisa Morales, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

In college, you will likely find yourself staying up late at night just to finish your paper that’s due at 11:59pm, or study for an exam you have the next day. Seems like it is just part of college life. You may also notice that the longer you stay up the hungrier you get-you may even find yourself eating as a response to the stress you’re feeling. Have you ever wondered what these late-night snacks might do to your health?

There have been numerous studies on the hypothesis that gaining weight occurs more easily with snacking past 8pm. A nutrition professor at Penn State University, Barbara Rolls, confirmed that this hypothesis is a myth. She states that of the studies and surveys conducted thus far, there has been no significant correlation between weight gain and snacking at night. There is, however, significant evidence showing a positive correlation between weight loss and eating breakfast. In general, we shouldn’t focus on when we eat but instead focus on what we eat. If you feel the urge to snack past 8pm try to opt for nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods are those that provide a high amount of nutrients for the calories. For instance, oranges are a nutrient dense food while cookies are low in nutrient density (provide few nutrients relative to the large amount of calories). Check out the list below for some nutrient dense late night snacks!

  • Apple slices with nut butter
  • Carrots with hummus
  • Greek yogurt
  • Walnuts
  • Plain popcorn
  • Banana and nut butter on wheat toast
  • Eggs
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Celery with nut butter
  • Frozen/unfrozen grapes
  • Protein smoothie

I have always believed that we should listen to our body’s signals. If your body is telling you it is hungry, feed it. Your body knows when it needs energy and it knows when to tell you. I, for one, find it very difficult to continue any task if my mind is focused on food. I know how difficult it can be to find the time to eat when you are running around campus going from classes, to office hours, to work, etc. What you must remember is that in order to get through the day you need to eat. Pack a lunch box with some of the snacks mentioned above (they make great mid-day snacks, too!). If you can try to avoid the hunger, I would highly encourage you to do so. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels like eating a full-on feast of pizza, burgers, and ice cream when I let myself get too hungry. I’ve found that if I have a morning snack, afternoon snack, and night snack in between my normal meals then I feel perfectly satisfied eating smaller, healthier portioned meals.

Recipe: Bedtime Smoothie

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1 ripe banana

1 tbsp almond butter

2 tsp flax seeds

2 kiwis

½ cup almond milk

Instructions:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together, that’s it!

*take a look at this website for more information on the sleep benefits behind these tasty ingredients! https://helloglow.co/bedtime-smoothie-better-sleep/

What is your favorite late night snack?  Let us know in the comments!

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/late-night-snacks

 

Be S.M.A.R.T. About Your Health

SMART

By:  Cecilia Chen, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

“I will eat a lot of fruit and vegetables…”

“I will exercise more…”

“I will never skip breakfast again…”

“I will go to bed before 12 am…”

“… but I never did.”

Do any of the above statements sound familiar to you? College life can be stressful when you need to balance your social life, academics, and health. Often times, students will compromise health because they do not have enough time for things like meal prep, working out and sleep. When a new quarter starts, do you find yourself vowing to eat healthy or exercise more. Maybe you have tried going to the gym for a week when the quarter first starts, but midterms come up, and you never go back. Then, you feel bad about yourself and not achieving your health goal. How could you set up lifestyle change goals differently?

Instead of setting long-term goals, break down the goal into little steps that are more manageable and trackable. We call this SMART goal setting. Building SMART goals about your health consists of five components: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

  • Specific: Being specific about your goals means you need to consider who, what, where, why and how.
    • Who will make this change?
    • What do you want to change, and what is your plan?
    • Where will your plan be carried out?
    • Why do you want to make the change?
    • How often will you make the change?
  • Measurable: Your goals need to be measurable because it is easier to track how you are doing when it can be measured with a specific number. For example, your goal can be to cook dinner two times per week or meet with the nutrition peer counselors once a week.
  • Attainable: Attainable means realistic. Is your goal something within your capability and not out of your reach? Setting your goal to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day is unrealistic if you barely eat any now!
  • Relevant: Is your goal related to what you value in life? Will achieving this goal make a meaningful change?
  • Timely: Set a specific timeline for your goals can be helpful. For example, if going to the gym for the next month seems a bit challenging, you can set your goal to go to the gym two times during the next week. See how it works; adjust as necessary. Again, be specific in how you’ll carry out the change.

Instead of saying, “I want to be healthy,” say, “I will eat an apple for breakfast this Friday,” or “I will go to the gym at least two times this week.” Setting up your SMART goals can not only help you actually achieve your goal but also improve your sense of confidence.

Now it is your turn. Work on a SMART goal today and let us know how it goes!

 

References:

“10 ‘SMART’ Healthy Eating Goals.” 10 “SMART” Healthy Eating Goals – Unloc Food,www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Weight-Loss/10-SMART%E2%80%9D-Healthy-Eating-Goals.aspx

IU, Positive Outcomes for Women. “How to Make SMART Nutrition and Physical Activity          Goals for Your New Year’s Resolution.” POW IU, 2 Jan. 2018, pursuinghealthi   ness.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/how-to-make-smart-nutrition-and-physical-activity-goals-for-your-new-years-resolution/.

Save the green – healthy eating on a budget

save the green

By Marisa Morales, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

Money is a powerful tool; it allows us to travel, have shelter, further our education, and most importantly to purchase food, an obvious necessity in life. How many times have you struggled with money and ended up skipping meals or eating a cup of noodles because it saved money? As a college student, I understand how difficult it can be to shop for healthier food items, such as produce and meat, when less healthy food items seem more affordable; things like frozen meals and boxed cereal. Fortunately, there are some tricks that will help you save on money while still eating healthy.

  1. Beans, beans, beans! Canned beans are often less than a dollar each which allows you to stock up on a variety of them for several meals, such as black beans for tacos, kidney and garbanzo beans for salads, etc. Beans are a great source of fiber and can be used as a source of protein, instead of meat, which can often be expensive for a college student.
  2. Bulk up! If you find that you are purchasing the same food items quite frequently, I would recommend buying them in bulk to 1) save money and 2) save time.  Plus, the larger amount is a great opportunity to meal prep for the week ahead. Check out the recipe below for my favorite meal prep!
  3. Freeze everything! If you find that a lot of your food is spoiling faster than you can eat it, store your leftovers in the freezer. Most foods can be stored in the freezer for a significant amount of time without losing any nutritional value. Speaking of which, purchasing frozen vegetables and fruit is a great idea when certain produce is out of season and if you don’t have time to cook/prep the produce. Also great for making smoothies!

If you are ever at UC Davis Memorial Union, I highly encourage you to stop by Aggie Compass located just past the Market on the first floor. Aggie Compass is a one-stop-shop for all your basic needs. They offer resources for housing, financial wellness, mental wellness, and food security. I spent the past year volunteering with Fruit and Veggie Up!, a program run by Aggie Compass. The goal of this program is to help reduce food insecurity amongst UC Davis students. We understand that not everyone lives close to a grocery store or has enough money to buy food. This program is great because it allows you to pick free produce two days a week as long as you have your student ID!

One Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies

Prep time: 15 minutes             Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots (~2 cups)
  • 2 red potatoes (~2 cups)
  • 1 small-medium zucchini (~2 ⅓ cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers (~2 cups)
  • 1 head of broccoli (~1 ½ cups)
  • 16 ounces Smoked Italian Turkey or Chicken Sausage

Seasoning:

  • ½ tablespoon EACH: dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, dried thyme
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

*this recipe is very easy to make and can be prepared with a variety of ingredients and seasonings, but I highly suggest that the veggies be prepared exactly as instructed in order to ensure they all cook at the same time*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil to avoid messes. Set aside.
  2. Wash, peel and cut the carrots into thin slices (save the peel for a nutritious snack later   on!) Wash, peel the red potatoes (this is optional, I love the peel on) and cut into small wedges.
  3. Wash, halve the zucchini and cut 1 cm thick coins of zucchini. Chop the head of broccoli into florets. Wash and remove the stem and seeds from the red bell peppers, then cut into medium-sized slices. Chop the sausage into thick coins.
  4. Pour all the prepped veggies and sausage onto the lined sheet pan.
  5. Use a small bowl to combine the desired seasonings and olive oil, mix well.
  6. Drizzle all the seasoning and oil mixture on top of the veggies and sausage. Thoroughly toss to coat.
  7. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and stir the veggies and sausage before placing it back into the oven for 10-20 more minutes, or until they are crisp tender.
  8. Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Serve with rice or quinoa and enjoy the meal!

The great thing about this recipe is that there are many possible variations depending on vegetables and seasonings you prefer. I have made this dish so many times that I don’t even measure out my vegetables or seasonings anymore, I just add to the dish until it looks yummy!

Original recipe:  https://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/one-pan-healthy-italian-sausage-veggies/

blog photo

Keep your strength up!

By: Tuchau Bui, Healthy Aggies intern

Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means! Time to hang out with friends and family at the beach while drinking ice cold lemonade and soaking up the warm sun. This is the perfect season to relax and unwind.

Unfortunately, after a few months of staying indoors during winter you find it difficult to become active again. During long periods of inactivity, our muscles are not being used which leads to a loss of muscle strength and endurance. But you needn’t rush to the gym. Start slowly and gradually add in more exercise along the way.

Here are three easy exercises you can begin with at home to help you prepare for a strong summer. Remember to stretch before starting and rest for 15-30 seconds in between sets. Also, keep a water bottle close by to stay hydrated!

  1. Squats

Muscles targeted: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstring, hip abductors and adductors, gastrocnemius, soleus, tibias anterior, rectus abdominals, and erector spine

 

Benefits:

  • Increase leg and bone strength
  • Improve core stability and overall balance
  • Strengthen thighs and glutes

Workout: 10 reps, 3 sets

Start by standing with your feet at about shoulder width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees while keeping your spine straight and looking straight ahead. Your body will bend forward a little as you squat. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Finally lift yourself back up into a standing position.

squats

  1. Walking lunges

Muscles targeted: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings

 

Benefits:

  • Strengthens leg muscles and glutes
  • Improves core strength and stability
  • Improves overall balance

Workout: 10 reps each leg, 3 sets

Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with one leg and bend your knee until it is at a 90-degree position while bending your rear knee until it nearly reaches the ground. Your back should remain straight. Then stand up again by stepping forward with your rear leg while straightening your front leg.

walking lunges

  1. Triceps dip

Muscles targeted: triceps, biceps, shoulder muscles of upper arms

Benefits:

  • Strengthen triceps and tones the back of your arms
  • Strengthen biceps
  • Improves core strength and stability

Workout: 10 reps, 3 sets

Start by sitting on the mat with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place hands behind you with fingertips pointing toward your feet. Lift hips above the mat. Then bend your elbows and lower your hips until they almost touch the ground. Straighten your arm to bring yourself back up.

Triceps dip

Repeat these exercises at least 3 times a week. As you progress, you can slowly increase your workouts to include more reps or mix in additional exercises. Eventually, your ideal amount of exercise should be about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week.

By engaging in regular exercise, you will be able to reap the multiple benefits it brings to your body. Your muscles and bones will be strengthened, you will burn more fat and calories, and your metabolism and immune function will improve. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get up and get our move on!  Let me know how it goes for you.

Fruit contains too much sugar. Or does it?

TooMuchFruit-1080x675

By: Clara Matsumoto, Healthy Aggies Intern

Up until recently, many people believed that the main dietary culprit of many of America’s most common chronic diseases was fat. People began to adopt low-fat diets while not paying attention to sugar intake; chronic disease continued to proliferate. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume less than 6 teaspoons or 25 g of sugar per day, but this advice was shadowed by the intense focus on fats. As time passed and more research was published, it became clear that there was a significant relationship between sugar and chronic disease. Using the research, the FDA proposed a change to the food labels in 2016 to reflect our current nutrition understanding, and soon, hopefully, the new label will be officially adapted.

Two significant changes will be the addition of added sugars underneath the sugars section and the deletion of calories from fat in foods. The goal is for people to be aware of added sugar and place focus on what types (vs how much) of fat are being consumed.  Although the updated food label is a great stepping stone to helping people make healthier choices, it’s also important that consumers have more detailed information about sugar in foods Many consumers do not know what “added sugar” technically is. The USDA defines it as sugars and syrups added to foods in processing or preparation. For example, if the product is honey, there is no added sugar in it; all the sugar is naturally occurring. White dairy milk contains lactose (milk sugar) but that is different than “added sugar”. However, if honey was an ingredient in a food, then the grams of honey added would be listed in the added sugar section of the food label.

What about fruits?  A medium apple contains 19g of “sugar”.   The difference is that it is naturally occurring sugar in a whole food.  If we compare soda, a 12 oz can of soda containing 39g “sugar” (USDA), it is all “added sugar”. Whole foods containing naturally occurring sugar also contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber is useful for controlling appetite since it slows down the rate of sugar absorption.  As long as you’re healthy and consuming foods from all the food groups daily, more fruit is better!

So the next time that you are reaching for that box of Oreos at the grocery store, take a look at the amount of added sugar and consider swapping those cookies for a healthier option such as dark chocolate covered blueberries instead. Not only will it help satisfy your sweet tooth, it will help you follow the recommendation for sugar intake. I hope this information helps clarify what an added sugar really is and shows that consuming fruit can be part of a healthy diet even with its sugar content.

References:

https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/The-New-and-Improved-Nutrition-Facts-Label-%E2%80%93-Key-Changes.pdf

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-sugar-per-day

https://www.coca-colaproductfacts.com/en/faq/sugar/how-much-sugar-in-coke/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health#section1

 

Integrating Veggies (college edition!)

food_epicurious1-1

By:  Ines Cheng, Healthy Aggies Intern

As college students it is often difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The time and energy it takes to make healthy meals can sometimes seem burdensome. However, there are many different strategies to more easily integrate vegetables and fruits and other healthy foods into your everyday life!

  1. Smoothies!

It can be difficult to eat as many fruits as you would like throughout the day. One easy way to incorporate fruits is to make smoothies in the morning. Combine some of your favorite fruits and add some protein (like yogurt or soy milk) to make a smoothie for a quick and easy breakfast. An extra step is to add spinach! Spinach is great for your skin, hair, and bone health and provides protein, minerals, and vitamins.

  1. Pack Veggies as Snacks

A great way to incorporate veggies throughout the day is to pack them before you leave the house. This way if you are hungry throughout the day you won’t have to buy a snack; the one you have is healthier than the alternative you could buy at the store on campus. Some easy snacks to carry around are carrot sticks, tomatoes and celery; pack a little cup of hummus or a string cheese stick to round it out.

  1. Meal Prep

Everyone is constantly raving about meal prepping because it really helps! Setting aside a couple hours in one day is much more efficient than spending time each day making food. Create big batches of healthy meals that you will be able to eat throughout the week. You will be less likely to eat out if you know you have food all ready to eat.

  1. Side Orders

It can be difficult to choose the healthier option at a restaurant. However, by making a conscious effort to replace one side with a healthier alternative benefits you. An example is to choose a salad instead of fries. Or replace certain pieces of the meal with healthier choices, such as a lettuce wrap instead of bread with a burger. This is a fantastic way to incorporate vegetables in meals when you go out.

  1. Know Where To Eat Out

In Davis it can be difficult to find restaurants that have healthy options. However, most restaurants will have at least one healthier option or one that you can alter in some way. Whenever you can, look for that balanced plate in the meal your order – a serving of protein, a whole grain, if possible, and some fruits and veggies.  Ask for what you want!

Overall, living a healthy lifestyle can seem difficult but it is all about making small changes over time. Choosing healthy options over others (and doing it consistently) will alter your health for the better. Incorporating any of the above tips will help you eat in a more healthy manner without dramatically changing your life.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php