Health (Good!) News

My  mother was concerned when I once mentioned I was on my third cup of coffee of the day. Even now, I realize that may have been a little extreme (Did I really need that much caffeine to get me through the semester?) But good news is in sight! In the latest health research, nutritionists, dieticians, and neurologists are raving about the long-term benefits of coffee! Check out the research below and while you’re at it, have a cup of joe!

Coffee may prevent endometrial cancer.

More good news about coffee.

Another cup? Coffee may lower risk of diabetes.

Why coffee and tea are “super” good for you.

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100 Calorie ‘Tis-The-Season Snacks!

Just because it’s Christmas time and you’re trying to be health conscious doesn’t mean you have to give up all the treats you love. You can still indulge without packing on the pounds.  The key, as always, is moderation. But to help us (I’m still learning too) along the way, WebMD has compiled 25 great holiday snacks to let us still experience this time of year.

Snacks include: Slow-churned ice cream, baked apples, blueberry smoothies, baked potatoes with salsa and more!

 

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Hot-for-the-Holidays Fitness Plan

As a college student, I’m always afraid of gaining weight– add end-of-semester celebration treats from teachers, shared care packages from moms and dun dun dun, winter break at home (How can you say no to Mom’s apple crisp?), and I go into panic mode. So I was particuarly excited when my new issue of Women’s Health arrived.

This month, addressing the high-fat, high-calorie, high-everything lifestyle that usually accompanies the holidays, WH offers a “Hot-for-the-Holidays” fitness plan that is extremely manageable. Check out specific instructions online. Get a glimpse at the basic yet effective moves below.

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Stressed Out for Finals?

No, your finals cannot magically disappear and no, extra hours will not appear in the day so you can squeeze in a yoga class or a few extra z’s. But there’s still hope! Turns out some foods can actually help you de-stress. Imagine– relaxation without having to do anything but eat (and this isn’t binge eating!). Check out the slide show on Self.com to learn about 5 “super-foods” that will help your body calm down so you can stay sane and focused as you take on the hardest week of the semester.

Spoiler:

1. Spinach

2. Oranges

3. Chocolate (yes!)

4. Fish

5. Oatmeal

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What’s Cookin’?

Tonight’s Meal: Salsa salmon over spinach, carrots, onions and brown rice (shocker!)

Preparation time: About 25 minutes. *Defrost salmon by moving to the fridge in morning!

Ingredients: 

1 salmon fillet — I bought a pack of 13 frozen fillets from Wegmans. They were farm-raised (a lot of health sites say is not as great as wild salmon, but I prefer the taste).

1 carrot — Peeled and chopped into quarter-sized pieces.

Fresh spinach — As much or as little as you’d like (Only 20 calories/cup).

Green onion — Again, decide how much is right for you.

1/4 cup of brown rice (optional) — This is the recommended serving size.  It looked small when I was preparing it but ended up being the perfect amount!

Salsa — Your choice on the brand, quantity, etc.

Olive oil

1 clove garlic

Pepper — For some extra zing!

Directions: 

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Skin carrot and chop into circular slices. Slice onions to desired size. Fine chop garlic clove.

3) If you’ve forgotten to take your salmon out in the morning, put frozen fillet in microwave for 20 seconds. Continue to warm until defrosted but make sure it doesn’t start cooking!

4) In an aluminum foil pan, pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread vegetables evenly around. Place fillet in the center. Cover with a little more olive oil!

5) Lightly pour desired amount of salsa around pan and on top of salmon. It should only lightly cover the salmon — you’ll taste it. Add pepper for taste.

6) When oven is heated, place pan inside. Flip fillet over after about 8-10 minutes. The salmon is done when it has pinked all the way through.  You may need to flip a few times– use your discretion.

7) While your fish cooks, prepare your rice. When ready, pour pan’s contents over rice. Bon appetit!

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What’s Cookin’?

In the midst of my blog neglect (sorry!), something magical has begun to happen. Slowly but surely I am turning into a cook. And it turns out my “I just don’t have the talent,” “Can’t get a handle on it,” “Not my cup of tea,” excuses of the past few years have merely been me ignoring the fact that I am lazy.  Because, as I’ve found out in only two weeks, cooking (and we’re talking basic, fills-you-up cooking) is not hard.

I owe my revelation to one of my roommates, who this year has essentially taken care of me.  To say I’ve been spoiled is an understatement. Because while a majority of campus is stuck in the dining halls or with Ramen noodles, I’ve been enjoying home-cooked meals nearly every night. So in my attempt to stop being such a mooch, I began following her around the kitchen. And I’ve started to take some of the reigns (though, I must admit, not all of them– I’m still very spoiled). Thus begins my “What’s Cookin’?” segment, where I’ll share with you the recipes I’ve “mastered.”

Tonight’s meal: Ground pork & vegetable stir-fry with brown rice.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients: 

Fresh ground pork — I used 1/4 pound for a single serving, but you can use as much or as little in a stir-fry.

Peppers — I chose orange tonight, partly because it’s all we had and partly because the flavor is great. Also, it looks nice.

Broccoli — Buy a head and cut off as many pieces as you’d like/need.

Asparagus — Chopped in half. I used about 5.

Teriyaki sauce — 2 tablespoons.

Brown rice (optional) — I must admit, I used leftovers for this meal. Typically, though, we (my roommates) will make about two cups of rice in the beginning of the week. We do so in our rice-maker (which I recommended getting). You can also buy instant rice for an easy option.

Directions:

1) On a cutting board, chop vegetables into desired size. I mixed up my pepper sizes (some finely chopped, some big pieces) and sliced my asparagus in halves and quarters. It’s 100% up to you. 

2) Over medium heat, begin cooking pork in a nonstick skillet (or use nonstick spray). Move pork to a bowl when it is mostly cooked (almost all brown). Set aside.

3) Without changing the temperature, put all vegetables in the skillet. Add teriyaki sauce. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are near a consistency that you’d like them.

4) Put the pork back on the skillet and continue to mix until it is completely cooked. Turn off the heat. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5) Pour pork and vegetables over brown rice. Enjoy!

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Quick Strategies

It’s 3 a.m., and you’re still awake.  Why?  Because you’re at a party.  Four beers in and you and your friends are on the way to the nearest pizza place. A pepporoni calzoni is calling your name.

You wake up the next morning feeling exhausted, a little nauesous, still full. And disappointed in yourself for another night of unhealthy decisions.

“It’s college,” you rationalize. “How can I avoid it?”

In reality, though, it is completely possible to maintain control in college situations.  In fact, a few college scenarios are perfect for a healthy lifestyle. Here are four of them:

1) Walk this way.

By grabbing the bus or taking the elevator, you’re skipping valuable (and easy) exercise opportunities. Take advantage of the fact that you have a college campus at your feet—literally. Find a longer route to class.  Always take the stairs. To keep yourself on track, a pedometer is a useful investment.

Walking even has the potential to help you lose weight if you do it right. According to Shape Magazine, a brisk walk can burn around 160 calories in merely 30 minutes.  Prevention Magazine offers several walking workouts, tips and plans to follow.

2) Fourth meal woes.

“Variety, balance and moderation,” advises Ruth Sullivan (@SUNutrition), the Registered Dietician at Syracuse University’s Food Services. “Strive to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins into your meals.”

Sounds easy, but in college it’s not. Why? Fourth meal—the late-night phenomenon that has us munching when we shouldn’t.

To stop the habit, eat breakfast. It will make you less hungry later in the day. And if you’re up until three a.m., you have a meal to look forward to in only a few hours. Plus, unless you’re consistently reaching for Lucky Charms, any breakfast food you choose will be more nutritious than Ramen noodles or Domino’s.

Don’t eat straight from the bag.  Forget where the vending machine is. If you must snack, air popcorn is your best bet—Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop! Popping Corn individual bags are only 120 calories and have four grams of fiber (to keep you full).

 

3) Nurse your drink.

Five 12-ounce beers can be up to 800 calories. Resist peer (more likely, self) pressure.There’s no need to fill your cup. You don’t need a double shot. And cranberry juice will chase your drink as well as Red Bull. Drink slowly.  Your friends won’t be keeping track of how much you’re drinking.  Plus, no one needs to know if you’re alternating in water throughout the night—which you should be.

Need alternative drinking choices? Impress your friends with these low-calorie mixers from Fitness Magazine. They sound fancy but are actually dummy-proof.

4) Most importantly, relax.

I often must remind myself that I’m allowed to be unhealthy once in awhile. A night of binge drinking is okay (it is college, after all). And sometimes late-night Taco Bell is a must.  The key is simply moderation.

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