Tips for Eating Healthier at Restaurants



By Anran Shao and Elizabeth von Klan

For college students, eating out with friends constitutes one of the main ways we socialize. However, peering at the high-calorie, high-sodium options on the menu might make you hesitate to dine out frequently. Fear not—it is possible to dine out and socialize while at the same time nourishing your body! Here are a few tips geared towards choosing healthier meals without the worry.
1. Be aware of portion sizes and nutritional requirements

Restaurants of different cultural backgrounds may vary on their portion sizes and ingredients. For example, standard Americanized-Italian restaurants tend to double or even triple protein and carbohydrate portions and can be higher in sodium compared to the recommended meal. You may find other restaurants (like Japanese, Thai, Greek and Indian food, or more) are more likely to serve grilled meat or other non-fried options such a spring rolls and dips with less fat such as Tzatziki. Choosing these options may prevent overconsumption of protein and sodium, and also prevent you from eating excessive unhealthy fats. There are potentially healthy options at any restaurant of any cultural background, so don’t be afraid to ask the waiter/waitress if they have dishes that fit what you’re looking for. Which, speaking of…

2. Ask for it your way

Don’t be afraid to ask for changes in the dish you ordered. Many restaurants design their menus based on preference of their frequent customers, but cooks can still change up minor components in the dish if it appeals to your nutritional needs. For example, you can easily substitute the fries that come with your dish with a side salad instead. If the meat is fried, ask your waiter/waitress if there is a grilled option. To balance out your plate and increase your vegetable intake, ask for a smaller portion of meat and larger portion of vegetables. These details will help you keep healthy and more energized to hang out with your friends on a night out!

3. Drink water throughout the meal

Some people believe that drinking water during meals is harmful, but it actually can help to control overeating. Drinking water through the meal triggers signals transmitted to your brain that allow you to feel full, which can help with portion control. Try to refrain from sodas or other soft drinks as a replacement for water; these contain added sugars.

4. Choose a salad without cheese or meat

Even though a standard salad has a solid foundation with mostly raw vegetables that are high in vitamins and low in calories, many salads are accompanied by meats or cheese. For example, Italian antipasto salads have salami, spicy hams and cheese as well, negating the nutritional benefits of the salad itself. It may be a wiser option to choose a Caesar salad with grilled chicken to have more lean protein, as opposed to a fully-loaded Italian Antipasto salad. As for other salads on the menu, you can also ask to modify the salad to adjust the amount of meat and cheese added or remove it completely, and add more vegetables for fiber that will keep you feeling just as full. It’s also wise to ask for dressing on the side so you can make the decision of how much to add!

With these tips, you will be well on your way to sticking to your health goals without having to give up eating out with friends!

Are there Possible Benefits behind Gluten-Free Diets?



By Isabelle Huang

Grocery store shelves and restaurants are increasing their variety of gluten-free options as more and more people begin adopting gluten-free diets. While a portion of these individuals do so because of celiac disease, a genetic disorder which interferes with nutrient absorption in the intestinal tract, others pursue this eating habit based on consumer fads.

This begs the question: what is gluten, and are there any possible benefits behind a gluten-free diet?

Gluten is a type of protein most commonly found in wheat, barley, rye, and those grain derivatives, foods that are associated with a rich source of fiber and other complex carbs, B vitamins, and minerals. Some of the gluten-free grains listed here provide you with these vitamins and minerals, while non-grain sources of fiber can be found here.

Those who’ve gone gluten-free often say that they feel an improvement in weight, energy, and productivity, three reasons that encourage others to follow the same path. However, studies show that these effects are not necessarily due to the lack of gluten itself, but rather other food components that are found in gluten-containing products. A few of the differences between gluten and gluten-free diets are number of calories, and amounts of sodium and fiber.

Gluten rich grains, such as whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals, have become pantry staples.  When eliminating these, instead choosing a gluten-free substitute, smaller amounts are often consumed because the product has a different taste and texture. This results in a decrease in overall calories that can cause weight loss.

The gluten-free diet does benefit some individuals. According to Beyond Celiac, an organization for celiac awareness, those diagnosed negative for celiac may exhibit similar symptoms of prevalent GI-distress, frequent headaches, and joint pain. These individuals might be gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, and a gluten-free diet may mitigate these responses.

If you choose to go gluten-free, make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need for maintaining your health!

Sources of information:

Eat Your Way to Healthier Skin

By Bree Weeden

Now that we’re well into spring quarter, we’re spending more time outside and trading in our jeans and sweatshirts for shorts and tank tops. To help make sure your skin is glowing this Spring, try consuming more of these beneficial foods!

Now that we’re well into spring quarter, we’re spending more time outside and trading in our jeans and sweatshirts for shorts and tank tops. To help make sure your skin is glowing this Spring, try consuming more of these beneficial foods!

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in the carotenoid lycopene, which works as an antioxidant to fight free radicals from the sun, which can damage our body’s healthy cells. In your skin, this antioxidant boosts your natural SPF levels, helping to protect you from sunburn and skin cancer! Other foods that contain carotenoids include carrots and spinach.

Olive Oil: Vegetable oils contain Vitamin E, another well-known antioxidant that protects our skin from free radicals. It may play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases, too!

Beans: Beans are a source of zinc, a mineral that promotes skin repair – meaning it helps your wounds heal faster! Zinc is also present in most animal protein.

Whole Grain: Whole grains are made up of three sections: the bran, germ, and endosperm. White breads are processed to the point where they only contain the endosperm. The mineral selenium is only found in the bran and germ of grain, which is only maintained in whole grains, and has been shown to promote skin protection and elasticity.

Bell Peppers: Red and yellow bell peppers are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Not only does Vitamin C work as an antioxidant, it also promotes collagen production, which keeps our skin firm and taut. You can find Vitamin C in most fresh fruits and veggies, including strawberries, kale, and potatoes.

Nuts: Walnuts are an excellent vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent us from developing dry, flaky skin.

Turmeric: This traditionally Southeast Asian spice is also a powerful antioxidant that may provide some protection from getting cancer. It also has been used as a natural teeth whitener and as an ingredient in facials to promote an even skin tone.

To summarize: eat a diverse, nutrient-dense, and colorful diet to promote healthy skin. Supplement this diet with water and a rigorous sunscreen regimen and you’ll have strong and beautiful skin just in time for Spring!


Healthy Twist on a “Cheat Meal”



By Bernice Kwan

Regular healthy eating can be a very enjoyable experience, but every now and then, you may crave that certain something that you know is more detrimental than beneficial for your well-being. A popular diet plan that is preached by many health enthusiast and followed by many health conscious individuals is an entire week of healthy eating and one meal of any comfort food of your choice. This pattern is very popular because it keeps you in check for most of the week but also allows you to indulge every now and then. If this is something that you follow, it is likely that once a week, there will come a time where you think “It’s finally here, cheat meal time!” You have been doing so well and absolutely deserve it!

That meal, however, does not actually cheat the system and it still contributes to your overall health. If you find yourself feeling a little guilty about your comfort foods, you may want to find a way to have with a healthy twist. Luckily, healthy ingredients can be used to make a delectable meal! Here are slightly healthier variations of 2 popular cheat meals!



Pizza often gets a bad rep for being one of the ultimate “unhealthy foods”!  But, there are lots of ways to give pizza a health makeover!

Pizza with Pesto, Tomatoes & Feta:

  • 1 pound whole-wheat prepared pizza dough
  • ½ cup prepared pesto
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (dairy free alternative: nutritional yeast)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn
  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-inch round crust, about ¼ inch thick. Place crusts on a floured baking sheet.
  3. Put the crust in the oven and bake until crusts are lightly puffed and undersides are lightly browned.
  4. Take crusts out and using tongs, flip crusts. Immediately spread pesto over crusts. Top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with feta and pepper. Put back in oven and bake until the undersides are lightly browned. Sprinkle with basil and serve immediately.

By using whole-wheat dough, you have more complex-carbohydrates, fiber, and nutrients. Basil will give your pizza a kick, and has an array of health benefits. Refer to for more details!


Tacos are easy to make and tasty, two characteristics that make it a perfect cheat meal. Though tasty they may be, if you’re not paying attention, tacos can deliver more calories and fat than they have to! With the right combo of ingredients, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Turkey Tacos

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Whole wheat small tortillas
  • Nutritional yeast (cheese alternative), diced Roma tomatoes, diced red onion, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, plain greek yogurt (sour cream alternative) for serving
  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add turkey and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing and breaking up turkey occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes until sauce has reduced.
  4. Serve mixture over tortillas with desired toppings.

Lean ground turkey is a good alternative to regular taco meat because it is a good source of complete protein, is a rich iron source, contains B vitamins, and contains less saturated fat than higher fat meats. Another alternative suggestion for this recipe is to replace the tortillas with Romaine lettuce leaves to switch out the carbohydrates for a refreshing dose of veggies!

Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t have your favorite foods! There are many ways you can choose to modify the recipe and you could even end up enjoying your new creation better than the original!

Six Spices that Support Healthy Living



by Isabelle Huang

Over the course of history, people all over the world have been incorporating spices into their diet for their homeopathic uses. Spices are the seed, bark or root of a plant that not only provides added flavor to dishes, but also healthful perks. Here is a list of spices that we think would be great dietary additions:
1. Cayenne pepper
Although it might seem contradictory, capsaicin, the chemical compound in peppers that give them their spicy kick, also helps to lower inflammation. In addi-tion, it increases your body’s metabolism, causing you to break down food nutri-ents faster. Add a sprinkle of cayenne to jazz up your dish.

2. Ginger
Ginger is a root plant that also reduces inflammation, but works with your body’s nerve signals to act as a pain reliever as well for cold and flu symptoms. Some say it’s also great against airplane sickness, and that’s because it does yield some nausea relief. You can get this root plant in powdered form or freshly grat-ed yourself. For ginger, a little goes a long way in terms of flavor.

3. Cumin
There are a number of benefits you can get from cumin, but to touch upon a few, this seed aids digestion and helps you combat symptoms of the common cold. Cumin contains iron and moderate amounts of vitamin C, which is also said to boost cognitive performance in the long-run.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric is widely used as a natural colorant to foods due to its bright orange color, but it has nutritive uses as well. Just a teaspoon of this spice in your diet can help with pain, inflammation, and problems with decrease in appetite. Fur-thermore, some studies show that there are chemopreventative agents in turmer-ic, meaning it works against cancer-causing substances!

5. Cinnamon
Multiple studies have shown that cinnamon decreases the risks of cardiovascu-lar disease and controls glucose metabolism for diabetics. In everyday use, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that help prevent the build-up of harmful substances in the body.

6. Nutmeg
Nutmeg has an odd variety of different benefits you can get from it. While it acts as an antibacterial agent to protect oral health, it can also help detoxify your body of harmful materials, and reduce skin inflammation. However, some stud-ies show that incredibly large amounts of nutmeg may result in hallucinogenic properties. So keep the dosage to just a sprinkle to add some spice!
Using spices is a great way to liven up your palette. Whether you are a frequent home-cook or not, consider adding one or more of these spices into your meals and reap their benefits today!
Sources of information:

Benefits of Meal Prepping


By Wilson Ho

As a college student, you may constantly be thinking about your next meal and how you should prepare for it. With a busy schedule of juggling study time, exams, and exercise, it may be difficult to cook daily. One solution is to meal prep at the beginning of the week to have all your meals ready whenever you are hungry. Some benefits of meal prepping (besides the sheer convenience at meal time) include: controlling salt, sugar, portion sizes, and costs.

Control salt, sugar, saturated fat levels:
Whether you are trying to achieve new fitness goals or become healthier, meal prepping can be a great option to control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat you consume. You can measure out exactly what goes into your body if you are prepping all your meals. According to the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the recommended intake of saturated fat should be less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. That may be a good rule of thumb to follow when considering the amount of fat you should include in your meals.

Control portion size:
Controlling your portion sizes may also be an important aspect of reaching or maintaining your fitness goals. Meal prepping can help you figure out exactly how much you will eat for each meal and it will also encourage you to only eat what you have planned. Sometimes you may still want to snack in between meals so it’s a good idea to have snacks planned out early on too! Some ideas for great snacks include: bananas, oranges, granola bars, and yogurt. It is always important to remember that controlling what you eat is just as important as the amount you eat.

Control costs:
With all the health benefits, it is also important to for us to budget and keep the costs low. With meal prepping we can have a good estimation on how much we will spend on food at the beginning of each week. Generally speaking, you will be spending a lot less by cooking at home versus going out to eat. You may also get higher quality foods like locally sourced, organic, and vegan products and yet still save money compared to eating out. As college students, being on a budget is important and you will start to notice a big difference once you starting cooking more!

Meal prepping may be a good option for you to consider, but don’t forget to treat yourself! Eating out occasionally can be great way to switch up your daily meals and to catch up with friends. In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, you will also get the benefit of saving time by meal prepping. Check out this popular Pinterest board for inspiration, and get cooking!

5 Foods that Increase Your Productivity




By: Viktoria Cojan

We all strive to be the best we can, striving for optimal productivity in our lives. Whether we want to be more productive at school, at work, at home, in our hobbies, daily activities, sometimes we look for something to give us that little boost. Many times, we find that we just don’t have the energy or the will to do what we need or want; many of us run to coffee and energy drinks to get our day going. However, there are healthier alternatives to enhance your efficiency. Here are a few foods that you can include in your diet to make you more productive in one way or another.

  • Salmon
    • Salmon is the number one source of vitamin D, which is hard to get from diet, but readily available from the sun. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce cognitive decline over time. In addition to its vitamin D content, salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are really good for improving memory and mental performance, particularly helping depression, which can decrease productivity. Therefore, try eating more salmon or taking a fish oil supplement to promote productivity.
  • Berries
    • Berries are extremely useful in boosting productivity due to their high number of flavonoids. Flavonoids are a very effective antioxidant, which reduces inflammation and stops free radicals from doing damage to our bodies. In addition, antioxidant-rich foods are excellent for increasing memory. Keep in mind that the darker the berry, the more antioxidants it contains, and the more benefit it has.
  • Dark chocolate
    • Like berries, dark chocolate contains antioxidants which enhance focus and concentration. In addition, chocolate contains caffeine, which makes you feel more energetic and focused. It also has magnesium, which naturally relieves stress. Don’t feel guilty about indulging on a moderate amount of chocolate (suggested amount is 1 ounce) when you’re in need of an energy-boost!
  • Nuts
    • Nuts, like almonds and walnuts, contain antioxidants, vitamin E, and amino acids. These things contribute to you memory and brain performance, which are essential for a productive day. Nuts have other benefits as well. They are known to lower blood pressure and stress, and they are a great source of protein and natural fat, which are essential for a healthy body.
  • Bananas
    • A single banana contains high amounts of glucose, a carbohydrate your body needs to have energy. Bananas are also a better alternative for glucose than other sources that have excessive amounts of added sugars. Because the fiber in bananas make them very filling, you can focus on your studies for a longer period before feeling hungry again.

If you are looking for ways to be more productive, you don’t have to go too far. Aside from salmon, which needs a touch of preparation, these food items are easily accessible and easy to grab on-the-go. Give them a try for a healthy boost of energy!