Healthy Miami

What’s Wrong with My Typical College Diet?

Article Written by Abby Larson, Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

      The average college lifestyle is not conducive to healthful habits. Erratic schedules, inconsistent sleep, limited budgets, and constant temptations are characteristic of college life added to the already present challenges of a healthy diet.  In this blog I’ll detail some college staples and easy changes to flip the “freshman fifteen” to “freshman fit”.

Pizza

Organization events, Uptown, delivery services… pizza is everywhere for college students.  It’s easy, fast, and delicious.  Pizza varieties tend to be carb- and fat-laden, and deficient in important nutrients. Rather than the greasy, processed variety, try making pizza using whole wheat tortilla or naan bread with tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese, spinach, chicken, and basil. Substitute any other toppings for a pizza that’s just as satisfying without the guilt.

Ramen

Ramen is notoriously simple to make. The flavor pack for the chicken variety contains an alarming 1,820 mg of sodium, and the FDA recommends consuming at most 2,300 mg per day. With a lot of sodium and little other nutritional benefits, ditch the flavor pack for seasonings such as garlic, pepper, or fresh herbs along with vegetables and a protein, like chicken, beef, shrimp, or an egg.  

Ramen frequently takes the form of a midnight meal. The timing of meals is as important as the meal itself. Indulging late at night usually doesn’t involve nutrient-dense foods, and on top of this, these calories are more likely to be stored as fat in your body.

Dining Halls

In dining halls, it’s easy to fill your plate up (maybe two or three times) with all the mac and cheese, fries, and chicken strips that fit.  Doing so can result in overeating certain nutrients like trans-fat or carbohydrates and missing out on others like fiber or vitamins.  Instead, make the most of the meal plan swipe by going in with a plan and filling up on the healthy options. A balanced plate of vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy leads to a more satisfying, and nutritious, experience.

In college, and in life, unhealthy and healthy options are available. By thinking about what you chose to eat and making healthful food choices will help you begin to make lifestyle changes. Preparing food by oneself takes a little more preparation and work but improves the taste and nutritional quality. Ultimately, healthy choices involves lifestyle changes that promote balance and variety. Making small changes can lead to significant improvements.


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March National Nutrition Month

Happy March! And Happy National Nutrition Month!

Did you know the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics puts on a campaign to promote nutrition education and information annually in March? The campaign began in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, but due to popularity it became National Nutrition month in 1980. National Nutrition month promotes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its members, Registered Dietitians, to the public and media as the most credible sources of nutrition information.

Each year National Nutrition Month focuses on a theme to share the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. National Nutrition Month’s 2018 theme is: Go Further with Food! The foods you choose to eat make a difference, whether it is choosing healthy snacks or reducing your portion sizes, in your overall health.

Go Further with Food Tips!

  • Eat Breakfast: start your morning with lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables to jump start your day.
  • Make half your plate fruit and vegetables: they add color, flavor and texture to your plate, plus the added benefits of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.
  • Watch portion sizes: reducing your portion sizes and eating slowly will increase your satiety cues and allow you to not overeat. Follow the MyPlate guidelines when making your plate
  • Resolve to Reduce Waste
    • Plan meals and snacks based on the foods you have on hand.
    • Get creative with leftovers. Transform them into soups, salads or sandwiches.
    • Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid throwing out excess food.
    • Donate extra foods, that are still safe to eat, to a local food pantry or shelter.

What is Miami Dining doing for National Nutrition Month?

  1. When you are in the dining halls look out for nutrition facts posted near serving lines.
  2. Check out our Nutrition Walls in Garden Commons and Western Dining Commons for nutrition information and pamphlets.
  3. We will be focusing on our March Superfood: Kale! Find Kale at our dining locations and learn more about the benefits of this superfood and how to use it in many different ways!
  4. Follow us on social media! We will be posting nutrition tips, nutrition trivia questions, recipes, dining hall hacks, blog posts from our Registered Dietitians and Dietetic students, and more!
  5. Tag us in your #HealthySelfie Take a picture of your food or your food and you! Tag @MiamiUDining and use the #HealthySelfieMiami to be entered into our National Nutrition Month Raffle!

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Dishing Up Healthy Meals

A healthy and balanced meal is crucial no matter the time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are equally important to focus on. Everything you eat and drink over time matters. Making good decisions each time you eat can will make you healthier now and in the future. Start with small changes that work for you and make healthy eating enjoyable.

Try these tips: 

  • Make 50% of your plate a combination of fruits and vegetables.
  • Vary your veggies
  • Make 50% of your grains whole grainslike brown rice and oats
  • Switch to low-fat or fat-free yogurt and dairy
  • Vary your protein choices (poultry, lean beef, fish)
  • Reduce your sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar intakes

Support from the USDA

MyPlate is an online nutritional resource curated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Their main goal is to educate Americas on building a balanced meal, which means including nutrients from every food group. To better communicate the recommended serving sizes, the USDA developed a plate graphic divided into four approximate sections— 40% vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein, 10% fruits and dairy.

The MyPlate website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, gives additional health tips such as making half of all grains whole grains, varying protein choices, and switching from whole milk to skim milk.

Choose Colorful Foods

We can all agree that taste, cost, and convenience are important factors when picking a meal or snack. There are endless food options that fulfill these three criteria, however, many of them are devoid of the vitamins and minerals our body needs. Crackers, cereals, chips, cookies, and fried foods all fit the bill. Another similarity? They’re all beige, brown and boring. A quick, visual tip for building a healthier meal is to vary the colors you consume. Natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, are often most colorful when they are at their ripest. This is also the point when they have developed the highest nutrient concentrate. So, the brighter the better!

Recommended Serving Sizes

These servings are based on a 2,000 calorie based diet and may vary depending on age, gender, and whether or not you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight.

  • Grains: 6–8 servings per day
  • Vegetables: 4–5 servings per day
  • Fruits: 4–5 servings per day
  • Fat-Free or Low-Fat Dairy Products: 2–3 servings per day
  • Lean Meats, Poultry, and Seafood: less than 6 oz. per day
  • Fats and Oils: 2–3 servings per day

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February Superfood: Beets

Beets are February’s superfood of the month! What is a superfood you may ask? A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. This nutrient-dense root beatable is the perfect source for vitamins and health benefits. Their rich pop of color can brighten up your plate and your day with its deep red and purple zing. Beets are young, firm little red ball-shaped plants that are known to have a unique earthy sweetness. This earthy sweetness can deliciously be paired with shape flavors like goat cheese or lemon.

You Can’t Beet the Health Benefits

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boost stamina
  • Fight inflammation
  • Supports detoxification
  • Rich in folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects
  • Anti-cenver properties
  • Rich in vitamin C, fiber, iron, and essential minerals such as manganese and potassium
  • Supports brain and bone health

How to Eat Beets

Did you know that the leaf on the beat root is edible? The leaf is part of the healthiest part of the plant. Beet greens actually have more iron than spinach! Whether thinly sliced or grated, beets are perfect to eat fully raw or cooked. Before eating the beet root, be sure to peel its paper-thin skin off, which can be done when it’s raw. Beets are high in carbohydrates and have a high sugar content, so it is important to eat them in moderation.

Cooking Beets

Beets are phytonutrient, and high temperatures may diminish the many nutrients that beets contain. Be are to cook beets lightly–steaming vegetables is one of the top ways to cook vegetables to retain nutrients. When roasting beets, it is recommended to roast it with the peel and then rub the peel off afterwards.


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Is Chocolate Healthy?

We bet you’ve heard of chocolate being healthy for you, right? Is there such a thing? Chocolate’s reputation is actually changing. There are a lot of studies that suggest it can be a healthy choice for your heart (in moderation). There are great health components found in cocoa like flavanols, theobromine, and antioxidants. To break it down, flavanols are found in cocoa and chocolate. Research shows that flavanols have influences on blood flow to the brain and heart. Theobromine is another heart-healthy compound found in chocolate and has been used to treat high blood pressure.

Prevent Heart Disease?

In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period – pretty crazy! Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolates flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.

Antioxidants in chocolate?

Antioxidants are known to support the body’s cells to resist damage. Antioxidants are actually located in a lot of foods! These include berries, nuts, grains, some meats, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and CHOCOLATE.

Are all chocolates healthy?

Cocoa naturally has a very strong taste, which comes from the flavanols.  When cocoa is placed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through multiple steps to lessen this taste. The more chocolate is processed, the more flavanols are lost.  That’s why picking dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate is best.

How much is right for me?

There is currently no set healthy serving size for chocolate. However, you don’t need to feel guilty anymore if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate every now and then. If you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation.


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Cure Your Cold, Fight the Flu

For college students, it’s difficult to keep healthy and germ-free at school. The packed dorms and classrooms, stress, anxiety, an inadequate diet, and lack of sleep, can easily add up to a cold or flu. You can try to prevent it by taking the flu vaccine and excessive hand washing, but sometimes it’s not preventable.

There are a lot of great foods that can boost your immune system, but if you do develop a cold or get a bad case of the flu, there are also various healthy foods which can help reduce your symptoms and speed up recovery.

Feeling run down and sick can often ruin your appetite, but it really is necessary to stay well nourished and hydrated to help your body battle infections. So what should you eat?

Chicken Soup:

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-Keeps you hydrated

-Relieves congestion in nose and throat

-Reduces inflammation associated with a cold

-Soothes sore throat

Vegetable Soups and Stews:

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-Full of vegetables and lean meats

-Proteins and nutrients

-Boosts immune system

-Reduces inflammation associated with a cold

Spicy foods (chili pepper, wasabi, etc):

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-Open sinuses and eases congestion

-In small amounts it’s good for you (don’t eat too much)

Bananas:

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-Rich in potassium

-Easy to digest

-Helps lower body temperature

-Replenishes lost electrolytes


Foods with Vitamins A and C:

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-Vitamin A strengthens immune system and mucus membranes

-Vitamin C boosts immune system and gets rid of colds faster

  • Oranges, Strawberries, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots

Yogurt:

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-Live, friendly bacteria in yogurt that can aid your immune system

-Great source of protein

-Soothes your throat


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New Year, New Eating Habits

Try these healthy eating resolutions for a healthier you in the new year.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the “New Year, New You” phrase that comes with the change of the year. It’s even easier to let that phrase fizzle out by the third week of January or so. Why not attack the age-old “lose weight” and “eat healthier” resolutions from a different perspective and cut them into more manageable pieces? Knowing that you can manage an effective diet plan year-round, not just when the new year comes around, then life might be a little easier. These following steps can help even someone who is scared to take the leap into dieting.

  1. Up Your Fiber Intake Getting enough fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and may help you slim down. With all these benefits from fiber, the average American eats about 14 grams of day – the recommended daily intake is 21 to 38 grams. One of the easiest ways to up your fiber intake is to eat more whole grains. Quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur and polenta are all quick-cooking options to add to your weeknight repertoire. Solution: experiment with whole grains.
  2. Pile on the Veggies The majority of Americans don’t eat the daily recommended 3 or more servings of vegetables. If you’re of the mindset that “vegetables don’t taste good,” but know you should eat more of them since they’re packed full of healthy nutrients and fiber, get a roasting pan. Roasting vegetable caramelizes their natural sugars so they taste fantastic. It’s an easy way to cook veggies for dinner–pop a pan of them in the oven and make the rest of dinner while they roast.
  3. Cook at Home When you cook your own food, not only do you know exactly what goes into it, you appreciate your meals more. So, hop onto Pintrest and whip up something you have been craving! With all the food blogs out there, there is a healthy hack for about every recipe! Have fun with experimenting with new things!
  4. Reduce the Sugar Get your sweet fix with fruit or try other natural sweeteners such as honey or agave, steering away from refined, processed white sugar. Going on a 30 day sugar detox can help reset the body from craving the sticky stuff! Keeping sweet stuff out of reach can better help you control your sugar intake, so try to stay clear of the donut and candy aisle at the grocery store.
  5. Eat More Omeg-3s Upping the amount of omega-3s will help keep your blood pressure down and also has been studied to improve your mood. Omega-3’s can be found in seafood and have the good kind of fats! Try to eat two servings of fish per week. If you’re not into seafood add some flax into your smoothies.

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Food for Finals

After you crammed for those midterms, you promised the end of the semester would be different and you would NOT cram.  But somehow finals have crept up on you, and now you’re essentially preparing to live in King library for exam week…we’ve all been there. If you find that finals season means living on extra-large iced coffees and late-night pizza deliveries for days at a time, this blog is for you.

Healthy eating through exams is not impossible. In fact, preparing nutritious study snacks might be easier than you think. Below are some amazing food ideas to pack when migrating to the library. These options are mostly accessible on campus, easy to pack, and provide essential nutrients to fuel your body and your brain.

Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread – This simplistic sandwich provides protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Carrots and hummus – That crunch is oh so satisfying!  Other veggies like bell peppers and cucumber slices are great with hummus too.

Whole fruit – Some like to bring an apple or banana, but there are so many other portable fruit choices including peaches, oranges, grapes, strawberries, etc.

String cheese – Cheese can be a great source of calcium, protein, and additional vital nutrients. String cheese is made prepackaged, so no need to worry about portions.

Tips for studying and snacking:

Keepin’ it cool. Need to keep food cool but don’t have an insulated lunch box? Just freeze a water bottle the night before, insert it with your food, and things should stay cool for several hours.

Warm it up. Craving something warm like soup or fancy to heat up a cup of tea while studying? There is a microwave ready for students to use in King Library!

Take a break. When cramming for hours on end, try to stop and eat something every 3 to 4 hours. This can improve your energy level and give structure to your study sessions.

Keep your place well stocked. The answer to eating well when life gets disordered is to make it as simple and convenient as possible, which means having healthy foods nearby.


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Eat Your Breakfast!

How important is breakfast?

Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. Without breakfast, your body could be without fuel for up to 16 hours from dinner to the next day’s lunch. Your body needs a consistent energy intake to maintain proper function and breakfast is also a great way to kick start your day.

Make your breakfast full of protein! This will help keep you full until lunchtime and prevent overeating due to excessive hunger.

Most people are busy bees and give the excuse of “I don’t have time to eat breakfast.” Even if a big breakfast isn’t possible, a quick bite can be beneficial. If you’re in need of some ideas for a quick, on the go breakfast, check out some ideas below, lots of the ideas can be found at to-go or market locations on campus!

We also have breakfast combos on campus that are an equivalent to a swipe!Breakfast swipe_TW

Easy on-the-go breakfast ideas:

  • Greek yogurt (found on campus)
  • Cereal bars
  • Peanut butter or avocado toast
  • Cup of fruit (found on campus)
  • Premier protein shake or Core Power pre made protein drinks (found on campus)
  • Banana or zucchini bread
  • Oatmeal or cereal cups (found on campus)

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Count on Dividends

Even if you haven’t been in the Farmer School of Business, surely you’ve heard of the iconic Dividends. And inside that iconic Dividends, everyone knows of the salad bar on the left-hand side. You might as well run over there now because that is home of a Traders’ Greens salad bar station.

Traders’ Greens offers a wide variety of options to place in a to-go salad bowl, which is a staple for Miami’s on-campus dining options. From tangy-flavored creations to loaded bowls of meat with a little amount of salad, you have countless possibilities and combinations. Just to start out, this salad bar has over 50 toppings to choose from! Just think about it. You could go there every day for months on end and get an entirely different salad combination. Talk about decisions.

Do you want fruit in your salad? Done. Do you want chicken, bacon, and ranch in your salad? Done. Do you want to feel like you can make it however you want it? Done. You can mix and match the type of lettuce you prefer, add toppings on toppings, then drizzle or douse your salad in whichever dressing you fancy. You might indulge in some salad bowls, or you might want to be a healthy salad eater for a day. Either way, it has you covered.

Now we know there are days where you are rushing to get to a meeting or class and you have NO time to stop and make your own salad. At every market and numerous dining locations there are convenient pre-made salads you can grab to-go with salad dressing choices galore on the side! Try not to get overwhelmed by the options available. Just grab it, swipe it, and you’re out of there.

Notice throughout this entire article the idea of variety and the endless possibilities are reassured. That is because Miami strives for excellence and perfection when it comes to the variety of options and choices in dining. We hope by the end of this article you are in line for a sensational salad bowl at Traders’ Greens or zooming through a market for a pre-made salad!


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