Browsing Tag

eating healthy

Health Other

College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

April 17, 2019

During the fall of 2011, GradGuard’s Director of Customer Experience made the trek from Phoenix to Colorado State University for her freshman year of college. Upon crossing the state line, she decided to slowly adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Like most college students, she embraced the opportunity to express her newfound individuality and values. She had her own fridge, a small student budget, and a newfound desire for sustainability. Little did she know that her creative tricks to ‘veganize’ comfort food would one day land a selfie of her and her grandma in The Wall Street Journal.

The other day, while she was munching on carrots and vegan ranch, we asked her what advice she would give to incoming vegan freshmen on a budget. We expected a simple response and instead received the following detailed guide. Whether you’re vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, or just plain healthy; check out this guide and true tricks for cooking on college campuses.

College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

Surviving In the Dorm Room

Living on campus can be daunting without a kitchen, especially if you’re a foodie. Learning how to cook creatively in the dorm can feel a lot like being a contestant on Chopped. These items made cooking in the dorms not only fun and challenging but healthy!

The Basics The Extras
Mini-fridge
-Microwave
-Electric kettle*
-Utensils Slow-cooker*
-Rice maker*
-Glass containers
-16oz mason jars
-Cutting board with knife*  
-An herb garden
-A fungi-growing kit
-Sprouting jar and lids
-Cheesecloth
-Espresso maker*
-Cold-brew coffee maker
-A homemade kombucha kit  

*Please make sure to check with your residence hall’s rules and regulations regarding these items

Mini-Fridge Staples Shelf-Stable Staples
-Crudités
-Vegan ranch or mayo
-Hummus
-Seasonal fruits
-Frozen burritos
-Frozen vegetables in steam bags
-Beans
-Nuts and nut butters
-Plant-based milk
-Soup
-PastaSauce
-Microwavable rice and pasta

Surviving In the Dining Halls

Over 70% of college campuses are now providing vegan options in the dining halls. Most schools post a weekly menu for each dining hall complete with nutritional information. If you can’t easily find one online, reach out to your university. If your particular college is more vegetarian-friendly, it helps to sneak in your own cheese or condiments.

If you’re on a limited meal plan, it is easiest to skip the bacon and egg-laden breakfast most schools provide and stick to a quick protein bar or shake. Make sure to plan out your meals for the week if you have a limited number of dining hall passes. This way, you can create a short grocery list for the meals you know you’ll need to make.

Overall, being vegan on campus will take a lot of trial and error until you standardize your weekly routine. GradGuard is always here to help you with tips on wellness and college hacks. Here are a few vegan food bloggers’ guides that made being vegan in college look like a breeze:

Emilie Eats’ College Vegan Guide
Graduate of Louisiana State University & Current Colorado State Grad Student

Jordan Waddel’s Easy Packed Cold Lunches for Work or School
Current Nursing student

From My Bowl’s Easy 3-Ingredient After School Snacks
Graduate of the University of Pittsburg

Bon appétit!

Health Other

Eating healthy in College

April 27, 2017

Summer is almost here! The hot weather is starting to be here to stay and along with that comes more revealing clothes and thinner material. Although you should always be eating healthy and exercising. The summer is a great incentive to really get the ball rolling. The good news is you can be proactive by adding quick nutrients to your diet in hopes to minimize your risk of weight gain. When you visit your dining hall be sure to make sure at least 50% of your plate is green and leafy! Like what you see?

 

  1. Visit CollegeNutritionist.com for more info.

This website is a great overview of quick do’s and don’ts to make sure you have great food decisions.

  1. Visit teenvogue.com/story/healthy-college-eating

Teen Vogue has such an easy read on 10 easy ways to eat healthy in college and teaches on how to listen to your body.

  1. Visit nerdfitness.com/blog/a-college-guide-to-eating-healthy/

The quick nerd fitness blog gives a nice overview on workout routines that can be done coupling that with exercise.

  1. Visit http://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/student-nutrition/

This article goes over the recommended daily intake and breaks down how unhealthy food affects the body.

  1. Visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/college

Choose my plate is a movement that is beginning with helping college students eat healthy and work with their campus to promote health in young adults.

Health Other

What to Eat on Exam Day

October 29, 2014
What to Eat on Exam Day

Since it’s the middle of the semester our school work is definitely piling up. That means it’s time for exams. Doesn’t it seem as if your teachers put all of your tests in one week?? It sure seems that way to me. The most important thing about exam day is keeping your body healthy and strong. And what is a better way to do that with something we all love… FOOD! Below are some helpful tips to prepare your brain for exam days!

Brain Foods

One of the best foods to eat to increase your mental alertness is protein rich foods. A few examples are eggs, nuts, yogurt, fish, flaxseed, and cottage cheese. Blueberries are also very good brain food. They help reduce any effects of age-related conditions and also is found to help increase your learning capacity. This is extremely necessary for a college student!

Brain Boosting Drinks

If you want to do well on exams these drinks are perfect for you! Staying hydrated is important and the best way to do that is to drink water and tea without sugar. Drinking these drinks will help increase your alertness, concentration, and energy! How awesome is that? Drinking tea can also help other parts of your body. For example, if you can’t fall asleep before an exam you should drink lavender tea to help you calm down. A lot of people get restless the night before exams so this tea will help calm your nerves as well as increase your concentration!

Light Meals

The best way to optimize your brain activity is to eat light meals. If you eat too much food it can make you drowsy. If you’re drowsy, you’re not fully alert during your exam which can hurt your grade. An example of a healthy, light breakfast to eat is steel cut oatmeal and some eggs (preferably egg whites). These foods have choline in it which will help your mental performance and will improve your memory in the long run. Sounds pretty good to me!

Foods to Avoid

Foods with white flour like cakes, cookies, and muffins are bad foods to eat on exam day. You should also stay away from foods with high refined sugar like chocolate or other desserts. These foods are bad to eat because your body processes them quickly and can cause your blood sugar levels will drop. If you’re blood sugar levels drop during your exam, you’ll have a harder time concentrating and staying alert.

Drinks to Avoid

There are also some drinks to stay away from on exam day. Staying away from alcohol and sugary drinks will help you be able to retain information and stay focused. I know a lot of people like to drink caffeine. However, drinking caffeine actually increases your anxiety. Most people get nervous for exams so why add something that will increase your anxiety even more?

Vitamins

Let’s be honest, college students aren’t the best at eating balanced meals. Since this is happening, your daily intake of vitamins and minerals are low. This can hurt your mental health on exam days as well as your every day life. Supplements are a good way to make sure that you eat the required intake. A good vitamin to start taking is Vitamin B. Vitamin B strengthens your brain activity. This is found in soy milk, tofu, beef, chicken, eggs, and cereals. Iron, calcium, and zinc are also good because it boosts your ability to handle stress. This is perfect during exam days! Changing your diets to these simple tips can really make a difference during your day as well as during your exams. Eating healthy foods help create a healthy brain!

Health Other

Healthy Foods to Fight Flu Season

October 14, 2014
Healthy Eating to Fight the Flu!

Fall is finally here and that means the changing leaves, Halloween decorations, oversized sweaters, and our favorite Starbucks drinks. However, it also means that flu season is beginning and about to peak. Instead of spending our time waiting for the first symptom of the flu to come upon us, a few easy changes to our diets to add more vitamins can help prevent the flu. Eating healthy=less of a chance of getting the flu! There are many benefits to each of these vitamins and minerals, here are a few that I find are the most important to staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong.

Many people don’t meet the required daily intake for these vitamins with their diet alone, even though this is the first step to being healthy during the flu season. Nutrient dense food is so important in building up your natural immunity. Keep in mind that if you’re not a fan of the foods listed for each vitamin, then a supplement could work as well. Multivitamins are one of the best choices because they contain all of the vitamins in one dose. So which vitamins and minerals do you need this season? Read on!

Vitamin C

The most common vitamin that everyone knows to eat during flu season is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a great supplement for antioxidants, healthy bone, muscle, and ligament growth, and protection from free radicals (determined by how the bonds are formed). The best foods to eat to optimize your Vitamin C intake are citrus foods (orange juice, lemons, limes, grapefruit), broccoli, and green peppers.

Vitamin E

Another vitamin that you want to eat during flu season is Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a great vitamin to take for your immune system, and it is also good for healthy skin and eyes! How could you not want to take something that is good for your overall health of your body?! Some also think that eating Vitamin E is good for preventing various diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and the not so serious cold sores. Sounds like a good vitamin to eat to me! Vitamin E is found in mostly the legume family. This is sunflower and corn oil, sunflower seeds, and nuts (almonds and peanuts). It is also in spinach, avocados, and beet greens.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is good for your body during flu season as well. Zinc is one of the most important minerals because it is found in every single part of your body. The main health benefit to having zinc in your body is that it is one of the biggest antioxidant that helps fights cancer. Not only does it help fight cancer but it also helps maintain your hormone levels, which is extremely important for your overall health. This is especially important for athletes because your hormone levels help develop your muscles and strength. You can find Zinc in meats, chicken, and peanuts and peanut butter, though be careful to eat these foods in moderation, focusing on eating lean meats to optimize your overall health.

Keeping your body healthy is one of the most important things that you can do while at school. Eating these healthy foods can help prevent or decrease the severity of the flu. Healthy foods=healthy body! 

Health Other

5 Steps to Healthy Dining Hall Eating

October 7, 2014
5 Steps to Healthy Dining Hall Eating

Your first year at college is always stressful. Stressful from leaving home, stressful from having harder classes and stressful from time management. Because there is all of this stress, we tend to not think about what we’re eating and thus the notorious “Freshman 15” becomes a problem. A lot of people think that eating healthy in the dorms is basically impossible. This is not the case! I’m here to help give you some helpful tips about how to avoid the freshman 15 and be healthy while living in the dorms!

1. Choose the right snacks for your room.

Most people do a little shopping before they get to college of some foods that they can eat in the residence halls that have a longer shelf life. I know a lot of people (and me as well) bought a lot of easy to cook noodles, chips, crackers, canned foods, etc. Buying foods with long shelf life is a good thing to have but you should know which ones are healthy for you, like: nuts, seeds, dried fruit (with no added sugar), rice cakes, multi-grain crackers, and canned fruit in no syrup and with no added sugar.

2. Give yourself time to eat.

A large part of being healthy while living in the dorms is figuring out what to eat at the cafeteria. Most cafeterias love to advertise their not so healthy foods and forget about the healthy foods. This is probably because most unhealthy foods are easier to grab and go. While you’re going to the cafeteria make sure you give yourself enough time to get your food and be able to eat it. Eating quickly is bad for your body because it can cause heartburn or stomach aches and can also cause you to overeat. Not good for anyone!

3. Look for unprocessed foods and snacks.

Everyone probably knows that vegetables and fruits are considered healthy foods. However, they can also be considered unhealthy foods as well. Carrots or celery that is found in a prepackaged container with sauces to dip? Not healthy! Carrots or celery in their raw form? Healthy! Apples in a prepackaged container with caramel sauce to dip? Not healthy! Apples that aren’t precut and in (usually) a basket found with other fruits? Healthy! The key to determining what is healthy and what isn’t healthy is taking the time to question it. If you are thinking of getting packaged food with a lot of preservatives and sauce poured over it, it’s likely not going to be healthy.

4. Beware of less obvious, high-calorie choices.

A lot of people love their sauces and condiments. This includes ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, Alfredo sauce, hot sauce, etc. I know a ton of people who love their ranch dressing and put it on basically everything (salad, pizza, bread sticks). Eating this foods are okay to do but in moderation. There are also other alternatives to these foods that you can choose. If you want a salad with dressing? Use the vinaigrette dressing instead of ranch dressing. If you want to have pasta? Use a homestyle marinara instead of Alfredo or vodka sauce. These little changes can make a difference!

5. At meal times, choose lean protein, not carbs!

For lunches or dinners a lot of people that live in residence halls are tempted to choose pasta or pizza for their meals. While that is okay once in awhile, the best foods to eat at the cafeterias are lean proteins like salmon, grilled chicken or tofu, and vegetables, preferably raw or steamed. Salmon is extremely good for you and is generally a light food to eat if you remember to not douse it in high-calorie sauces or butter. Try adding balsamic vinegar or glaze for a healthier dose of flavor. Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken is the healthy way to go, even when those chicken fingers look so tasty. While looking at the nutrient facts for each, grilled chicken wins in basically all of the categories. The key to good eating in school is… less carbs=more focus and better sleep. It also keeps your body healthy and to say goodbye to the freshman 15!