Tag Archives: Dining Tips

Which Foods Can Help You Sleep Better?

A good night’s sleep is like a Golden Ticket to college students. Whether it’s noisy neighbors, a lab report that’s due in the morning or too much coffee in the evening, it can be hard to fall and stay asleep. The amount and quality of sleep you get can have a significant impact on your everyday health and what you eat during the day can impact your sleeping patterns. Let’s take a look at the various foods that may help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and really catch those Z’s.

Studies have shown that high-glycemic foods (those that release glucose rapidly) can significantly shorten the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Foods that are high on the glycemic index include rice, potatoes and bread. Over 100 foods have been ranked on the glycemic index here. The same study showed that high-glycemic foods were most effective in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep when consumed four hours before bedtime. 

While high-glycemic foods can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, there are other foods that may take a more direct route to prompting sleep. The hormone that induces sleep is melatonin. According to some studies, foods high in Vitamin B6 and/or foods high in tryptophan have been found to aid in the “biosynthesis and secretion” of melatonin, which then, in turn, induces sleep. Vitamin B6 is required to make melatonin and tryptophan, the chemical responsible for maintaining a proper sleep cycle, is the same amino acid found in turkey that leads to the inevitable midday nap on Thanksgiving Day.

High-calorie foods, however, were shown to decrease the amount of melatonin found in blood. So, switching out ice cream for bananas, a food high in Vitamin B6, might be the best option if you’re trying to get to bed unless, of course, you get creative and make yourself some one-ingredient banana ice cream for the best of both worlds. 

Other foods rich in Vitamin B6 include certain types of fish like salmon, halibut or tuna, along with pistachios, prunes and sunflower seeds. As for tryptophan, foods like poultry, nuts, seeds and cheese are good sources.   

Whether you’re looking for a full meal or a small snack before bed, be aware of how the foods you eat may impact your sleeping patterns and, hopefully, your roommate lets you stay asleep! 


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Ways to Drink More Water

Numerous studies show that water may help with weight loss, thinking more clearly, improving mood and so much more. With all these crazy good benefits, why is it so hard to keep up our intake? Whether you’re feeling uninspired, you wish water tasted better, or you just can’t keep track of how much you’ve consumed, we’re here to help with some helpful tips and tricks.

If you don’t like the taste, try adding fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs to a large water bottle or pitcher. Not only will these healthy additives surprise your taste buds, but they will also jumpstart your metabolism. Make sure you include ice to really get your metabolism going! Some favorite recipes for this “spa water” include adding cucumber and mint, lemon and lime and grapefruit and basil. You can find more tasty combinations here or you can come up with your own tasty concoction and share with us on any of our social media platforms!

If you’re feeling uninspired, buy a water bottle that you will want to carry around! Whether you’re toting it from class to class, on your commute to work or all around the gym, having a water bottle you are proud of will make you want to have it close by. If you’re tech-focused try one with a filtration system like the Camelbak All Clear Purifier Bottle. If you love to spice things up get a water bottle that lets people know you can handle the heat. If you want a Yeti like your favorite Instagram blogger, but don’t want to commit to a cooler, there’s even a few water bottle options for you! Better yet, get one from the Miami Bookstore that shows off your school spirit. Honestly, there is a water bottle out there for everyone.

If you just can’t keep track of your water consumption, try keeping a journal or getting an app! Drinking water is just one more thing you can keep checking off of your to-do list each day to make you feel accomplished. With all the added health benefits, it might even help you check off other tasks too! It’s important to be able to hold yourself accountable to reach your goals so you stay hydrated. If you stay hydrated your body can function properly and you can continue to succeed in school and life. With today’s technology, keeping track is easier than ever. There are myriad apps available that will help you reach your goals. Check out these eight, or share your favorites with us in the comments below!

Dining Tips: New Semester, New You

With a new semester right around the corner, now is the perfect time to begin establishing new healthy eating habits, particularly before the stresses of your classes set in.

Whether it’s a part of your New Year’s resolution, or is just something that’s been on the to-do list, eating healthy plays a large role in any healthy lifestyle. Setting down the potato chips and dialing back your pizza intake can sound scary, but there are a couple simple tips that can go a long way towards eating healthier.

  • Make Healthy Snacking Convenient

One of the simplest changes you can make for the new semester is to focus on healthy snacking. While “willpower” is inspiring, it is a lot easier to simply remove unhealthy snacks from the equation by — you guessed it — moving them out of arms reach. When left with a choice between a sleeve of cookies or plate of celery, the cookies are the likely victor.

However, by surrounding yourself with healthier snacks, you can make it convenient to eat right and easier to choose healthy. For many students, who are pulled every which way by the demands of college, convenience is key. This means stocking your dorm with fruits, vegetables, pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes, or other healthy snacks.

Swing by our market locations to stock up on healthy treats for late-night cravings in your dorm and for a little pick-me-up between classes.

  • Don’t Multi-task when Eating

Everyone has experienced that moment where you sit down to watch TV with a new bag of chips and then, to your surprise, find a completely empty bag in your hands a couple hours later. This phenomenon also frequently occurs while studying or multi-tasking of any sort because when you eat passively and don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating, you don’t always recognize when you are full. When your body doesn’t acknowledge it’s full, you tend to overeat.

Avoid multi-tasking and make your meal or snack your primary focus. Set down your notes and be aware of how much you are eating, whether it’s a bag of pretzels or a tray of food at Harris. If you are snacking while studying, try to avoid eating out of the bag or container and set aside your serving on a separate plate or in a bowl beforehand, so you don’t eat more than you intended.

Additionally, take your time as you eat. It takes 20 minutes for your body to recognize that it’s full, so if you finish your plate and want seconds, it might be best to wait to see if you really are still hungry for another serving.

distracted-eating-ron-weasley

  • Vary Your Meals

By now, you likely have your favorite dining locations and your favorite dining items. It’s normal to get into a habit of going to the same location and grabbing the same meal, particularly as the semester wears on and you adjust to your daily class schedule. Even if your go-to meal is a healthy choice, it’s a good idea to mix it up and introduce new flavors into your routine. Different foods offer different nutrients and introducing variety can help round out a healthy diet.

Cycle through the various offerings at buffet locations or try a location and meal you haven’t tried before. Is Dividends your go-to (of course it is, their salads are DELICIOUS)? Mix it up and give Garden Commons a try or at least experiment with new toppings on your salad. There are a lot of options across campus, so try something new!

  • Watch Portions

Another easy place to adjust dining habits is with portion sizes, which can get a little out of control if you aren’t careful. That said, taking control of your portions is an easy way to take control of your diet.

As a general rule, when fixing a plate, you want to fill half the plate with vegetables and fruit (in favor of the veggies). A quarter of the plate is then used for protein with the final quarter reserved for whole grains like whole-grain pasta or brown rice. While many people tend to start filling their plate with the main course and then add the salad last, it is recommended that you begin at the salad bar. Filling half your plate with veggies and fruit will naturally cause you to dial back your entree portions.

To take it a step further, check out the below graphic for more details.

portion-sizes-harvard-school-of-public-health-min

  • Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a fancy way of saying “think about what you’re eating and why.” Some people eat because they are nervous, stressed or tired. Others eat simply because food is in front of them. Being mindful about your diet means thinking about why you are eating, if you are hungry and then being conscientious of what you are eating.

This idea of being “mindful” means paying attention to your portion sizes, which snacks you choose to consume and making sure you target fruits and vegetables throughout the day. It means limiting your sugar intake, drinking more water and, instead of two or three large meals per day, perhaps eating five to six smaller, nutritious meals that help you better maintain your energy throughout the day and help you avoid overeating with a large lunch/dinner. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to comfort food from time to time and it doesn’t mean you have to ignore half the food pyramid to “diet”, it just means being aware and working to develop healthy dining habits that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle!

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