Beat the Freshman 15


Are you or your child heading off to college this fall? Many new freshmen worry about making new friends, roommates, classes, and the infamous “Freshmen 15”. Recent studies actually indicate that the average freshman gains 2.5-3.5 pounds during the first year of college, not 15 pounds. Studies more often show a gradual weight gain in college and after college, but not a spike in weight at any particular time. Going off to college can be a huge adjustment, but don’t let the huge adjustment include your pant size. Try the tips below and beat the dreaded “Freshmen 15”.

• Going off to college can be a roller coaster of emotions, stress, anxiety, and homesickness, which all play a role in weight gain. Before you go to eat a snack, think about if you are actually hungry or if you are eating out of boredom or to sooth yourself. Try going for a walk or another form of exercise to cope with feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness.
• Keep a stock of “smart” snacks such as peanut butter and apples, hummus and carrots, hard boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, string cheese, or whole grain cereal. Keeping healthy snacks on hand can help you avoid grabbing the bag of chips or candy when you are feeling stressed or emotional.
• Don’t forget about breakfast. It turns out your mother was right; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If your morning doesn’t allow time for the cafeteria, keep whole grain cereal, milk, yogurt, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, 100% fruit juice, fruit, and granola bars on hand for a quick on-the-go breakfast.
• The cafeteria can be a great place if you play your cards right. Most cafeterias have high calorie goods and oversized portions, but they also have a variety of nutritious foods. Avoid fried foods and go for baked, grilled, roasted, steamed, or broiled items instead for fewer calories and more nutrients. Avoid foods that are buttered, have cream sauces, or anything prepared au gratin. Choose the salad bar more often and add a vinaigrette dressing and maintain portion sizes of croutons, bacon bits, and cheese. Have fruit for dessert instead of the optional sweet treats and save apples, bananas, and oranges for snacks later on. Don’t feel like you always have to avoid the pizza or cheeseburger. When choosing these foods, add a salad or fresh vegetable as a side instead of breadsticks or French fries and keep your portion sizes in check.
• Avoid drinking your calories. Choose water or milk instead of high calorie sodas or juice.
• Make time for regular exercise. It will help control your weight, help improve your mood, and decrease stress. Try out the gym at your university, join a workout class, and find a workout buddy to keep each other motivated. Maintain an active lifestyle by walking or biking to and from class instead of taking the bus or driving to class.

College is a great experience, but don’t let habits such as eating healthy and exercising regularly go to the wayside. Try the tips above to develop lifelong habits and beat the freshmen 15!

Kids Eat Right Month

This month it’s all about the kids! This August celebrates the first annual Kids Eat Right month. It is a new education campaign created by Kids Eat Right, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it focuses on healthy nutrition and physical activity for kids and their families. This is especially important as the epidemic of childhood obesity is on the rise. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise is not only important for adults but kids as well.

The key messages for Kids Eat Right month include: shop smart, cook healthy, eat right, start healthy habits, and get moving. How can you go about doing these? One of the easiest ways is to get kids helping in the kitchen. Have them help pick out what to eat for some meals during the week and help with preparing foods that are age appropriate. Have them rinse fruits/vegetables, measure and pour ingredients, or beat eggs. Introducing kids to the kitchen and different foods can help encourage a balanced diet and to try new things.

Another way to eat right? Sit down and have family meals together several times per week. Turn the TV off and share about each of your days. Allow your children to use their mindful eating techniques by placing foods out and allowing them to take what they feel their body needs. Research shows, kids who eat with their families have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.

Set healthy habits by being a good role model for your children. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, make half of your grains whole grains, and choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Drink plenty of water and limit sugary, calorie-dense beverages.

Last but not least…get moving! The physical activity goal for kids is 60 minutes per day but in a society dominated by sedentary activities such as TV, video games, and the Internet, it is good to plan activities. Find family activities to get everyone involved such as a family bike ride, swimming, or hiking. Regular physical activity promotes strong bones and muscles, a healthy weight, builds self-esteem, promotes social skills, and supports learning.

Try this kid-friendly take on fries, from Kids Eat Right! For more information, tips, or recipe ideas, be sure to visit

Carrot Friescarrot
1 pound of carrots
Cooking Spray
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Peel the carrots and cut them into strips about ¼ inch thick and a few inches long. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and spread the carrots onto it. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes. Flip them over and coat them with a bit more cooking spray, salt and pepper, and bake another 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Nutrition Information per ¼ of Recipe: Calories 45, Total Fat 0 g, Sodium 370 mg, Total Carbohydrate 11 g, Dietary Fiber 3 g, Protein 1 g

Tips and Tricks for Eating Healthy when Dining Out

dining out

Choosing to dine out doesn’t have to mean pushing healthy eating habits to the side. Try following the tips below and planning ahead to stay on track even when dining out.

1. Know menu terms. Choose steamed, baked, broiled, or grilled items over fried or sautéed items. Avoid foods with descriptions such as crispy, rich, or au gratin.
2. Try to incorporate all food groups to create a balanced meal of protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
3. For salads, choose low-fat dressing and have the dressing served on the side so you can control how much is used. Skip some of the extra toppings like croutons to avoid additional, less nutritious calories.
4. For sandwiches, choose low-fat toppings like lettuce, tomato, or onion. Put your own condiments on to control how much is used, and ask for whole wheat bread instead of white for additional nutrients.
5. Choose healthy side dishes to make a balanced meal such as a side salad, baked potato, or fruit. Add veggies or salsa to baked potatoes for more vitamins, minerals, and flavor without the extra calories.
6. Substitute a side salad with low-fat dressing instead of French fries as a side dish.
7. Many restaurant portion sizes are large. Ask for a to-go container at the beginning of the meal and put half of what is served in the container before eating. Save the leftovers for another meal.
8. Most restaurants now have lower calorie meal options. Choose one of these options, as the portion sizes are typically smaller, or try ordering from the appetizer menu for a smaller portion.
9. Choose water, milk, unsweetened tea or other beverages without added sugars to minimize additional empty calories.
10. Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to recognize that you are full. If you tend to eat quickly you are more likely to overeat.

For restaurant specific calorie or nutrient information, try using a restaurant nutrition app or checking out the restaurant’s website prior to going out. Be sure to try these tips the next time you dine out to keep your healthy eating habits in check!

Healthy School Lunches


August is traditionally back to school month, and you are most likely thinking about picking out school supplies and backpacks. This is also a good time to consider new healthy lunch ideas for your kids. A healthy school lunch should be well balanced, including a whole grain, lean meats and protein, low-fat dairy, vegetable and fruit. This combination provides lasting energy for optimal learning and play.

Key lunch staples include:
• Whole Grains: whole wheat bread, tortillas, bagel or pita
• Lean meats and protein: hummus, nut butters, black bean dip, sliced turkey or ham, lean roast beef, tuna pouch, hard -boiled egg
• Low-fat Dairy: squeezable yogurt tube, string cheese, low-fat milk
• Vegetables: Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, celery
• Fruits: bananas, apples, raisins, applesauce

Food safety is important when planning school lunches. Start off by washing lunch boxes with warm, soapy water after each use. Next, wash your hands before, during, and after preparing lunches and be sure food preparation surfaces are clean. Fruits and vegetables are important to incorporate in a healthy lunch, but be sure to wash them to eliminate harmful bacteria. Before your children eat lunch, remind them to wash their hands, or pack a moist towelette or hand sanitizer in their lunch container.

Perishable foods, such as yogurt, meat, and cheese, should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Since most students don’t have access to a refrigerator at school, keep your child’s lunch safe by including an ice pack to keep cold foods cool. Otherwise, you can pack foods that don’t require refrigeration, such as trail mix, cereal, granola bars, bagels, carrots, celery, fresh fruit, dried fruit, applesauce, whole-grain crackers, tuna pouches, beef jerkey, and nut butters.

Before you plan the weekly lunch menu, ask your child to identify a few favorite food items that he or she would like to see in the lunchbox. Encourage your kid to participate in the planning, preparing, and packing of the meals, creating a balanced menu. Including your child in the process improves the chances that the lunch he or she will be more likely to eat the meal and to try new foods. Getting kids involved teaches them about well-balanced and nutritious meals, which is important to develop health habits early on.

Try these fun lunch ideas this year:

Lunch Box Tacos
4 thin slices roast beef (about 3 ounces)
4 (6-inch) soft flour tortillas
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup guacamole
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons sour cream

Fold 1 slice roast beef inside each soft tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Pack in the biggest compartment of the lunch box. Pack other compartments with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and other favorite toppings. Seal and send off to school.

Turkey Pinwheels:
4 whole-wheat tortillas
2 cups baby spinach
1 (8 ounce) package sliced turkey breast
1 sliced tomato
½ cup low-fat vegetable cream cheese

Place the whole-wheat tortillas on a work surface and spread a thin layer of cream cheese. Add turkey slices, tomato slices, and spinach leaves. Roll the tortillas and use a serrated knife to cut into 1-inch slices. Use a toothpick to keep the rolls in place.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich
2 sliced whole-wheat bread
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 medium strawberries, sliced
1 teaspoon honey

Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread
Arrange strawberry slices on top of the peanut butter.
Drizzle the honey on the berries and then place the other slice of bread on top. Cut into quarters.

Pizza Roll Up
1 8-inche whole wheat flour tortilla
2 tablespoon pizza sauce
12 leaves baby spinach
3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese

Place tortilla on a plate and spread pizza sauce over it. Top with spinach and cheese. Microwave on High until the cheese is just melted, about 45 seconds. Carefully roll the tortilla up. Let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into pieces

Frozen Fruit Cups
16 ounces strawberries
12 ounces orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, undrained
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, undrained
6 bananas, diced
1/3 cup lemon juice
16 ounces blueberries

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
Portion in 1-cup increments, and allow to freeze overnight.
Place in lunch box in the morning, and will be a slushy consistency by lunch time.