Tag Archives: healthy

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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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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Diverse Dining

Ready to travel the world now and try different food from different nations? Can’t afford the trip? Well, Miami University strives not only for various options in food but we add diversity in the food being presented. You might be hungry for stir fry one second, spicy food the next, and vegan options the following day. With over 15 dining locations, we provide over 12 different diverse food options such as Italian, Mongolian, Chinese, Greecian, Indian, and more!

There are la carte options that provide a variation in food selections for whatever you might be craving that day. For example, the delicious Mein Street is an Asian and Mongolian grill that will indulge your desire for stir-fry. Right next door to Mein Street is Haines Boulangerie, complete with Mediterranean-style food such as paninis and gyro flatbreads that allow for you to experience some unique flavors.IMG_4162 copy-min

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The most diverse locations include Bell Tower and Western Dining Commons with 9 different countries represented, so you can experience all the flavors around the globe in the small town of Oxford, Ohio. Bell offers American, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food in an all-you-can-eat buffet, so dive right in. Western Dining Commons is a buffet that has a designated international station that completes everyone’s needs for food diversity. You can choose from items inspired by the cuisines of India, Italy, Greece, France, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica and more. This concept also includes homestyle picks from the U.S. This station offers a mixture of customizable items and ready-made items

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Ready to taste the world right in your backyard? Miami Dining is the place to be.


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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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When Life Gives You Lemons, Use Them.

Most people might be familiar with the traditional uses for lemons to soothe sore throats and add some flavor to foods. However, lemons are super useful in the kitchen and around the house and the following list will hopefully make you want to stock a few in your kitchen.

Prevent Browning

Potatoes and cauliflower tend to turn brown when boiling, especially when you’re having company for dinner. You can make sure the white vegetables stay white by squeezing a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into the cooking water. You can also squeeze some lemon juice on apples to prevent them from browning while they are cut.

Clean Your Microwave

This clever lemon hack will eliminate the stench of crusty food in the microwave and make it easy to wipe down. Simply mix 1/2 cup of water, the juice of two lemons, and the leftover lemon rinds in a bowl and microwave on high for three minutes. Let that combination sit in the microwave for five more minutes before wiping down the sides of the microwave. The steam from the lemon water will loosen the gunk inside your microwave and make it easier to clean.

Keep Guacamole Green

Just imagine. You’ve made guacamole hours before a party and it turns brown before everyone can feast their eyes on the green goodness of it. To prevent this, sprinkle a pretty good amount of lemon juice over it to keep the guac fresh and green. The lemon juice is a natural complement to the avocados.

Refresh Cutting Boards

Onions, fish, garlic, raw meat, and so many other smells all on your cutting board. To get rid of the smells that linger on your cutting board, cut the lemon in half and rub it all over the board to eliminate those odors. You can also mix the lemon juice with water in a squirt bottle and spray it all over the board and wipe it down. Keep that squirt bottle under the sink for when you decide to cut raw fish on the cutting board.

Make Soggy Lettuce Crisp

Don’t toss that soggy lettuce into the garbage. With the help of a little lemon juice you can toss it in a salad instead. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Then put the soggy lettuce in it and refrigerate for an hour. Make sure to dry the leaves completely before putting them into salads or sandwiches.


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Why Snacking Is Good For You

To some people, the word snacking is associated with the act of eating processed and high calorie chips, cookies, ice cream, and candy bars. There is a difference between effective snacking and having a junk food snacking binge between meals. We are all guilty of splurging but eating smaller portioned snacks in-between meals is way more beneficial to your overall health.

Hunger is the main motivation behind snacking but factors like location, social environment, time of day, and food availability contribute as well. In fact, people often snack when there is appetizing food around, even if they’re not hungry. A recent study took a group of 55 adults and monitored their snacking habits to find that temptation and hunger were the reasons for eating unhealthy snacks. Replacing those unhealthy snacks with healthy options can make a difference when it comes to weight, metabolism, and energy.

 Good snacking may prevent you from overeating at meal time

Most of us get hungry about every 3 to 4 hours. So, if there’s a long stretch between meals, you’re likely to get hungry –– which is why a snack is appropriate. Without a healthy snack, there’s a good chance you’ll just make up for it by overeating at your next meal and eating more than you would have if you just had a small snack to help you get there.

If you increase your healthy snacking, you might reduce your overall calorie intake

Balance. That’s the biggest thing when thinking about snacking and planning what you are going to eat. If you have a snack to carry you to that next meal that you don’t eat as much at, then your overall calorie intake might be less if you plan correctly.

Gives you an opportunity to incorporate healthy food items into diet

It’s hard to eat healthy all the time. Snacking can help your diet become more well-rounded. Sneak those vegetables, fruits, and natural proteins in during snack time and your daily intake of those necessary vitamins and nutrients will be fulfilled.

Some healthy snack ideas to fill the gap between meals

  • Mixed Nuts
  • Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries
  • Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
  • Veggies and Hummus
  • Piece of Fruit
  • Smoothie
  • Trail Mix

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Eat Healthier With Proper Preparation

It is inevitable that some day you will need to plan and prepare your meals. This important part of “adulting” isn’t so hard when you’re a college student on a meal plan, but it’s always good to make sure you know the basics.

We all know how hard it can be to throw together good, healthy meals if you have a busy schedule (which, who doesn’t?), so make sure you’re getting the proper nutrients by planning your meals ahead of time. One way to approach this is to pack your meals ahead of time. For example, you could try some of these recipes for lunches. Doing the work ahead of time makes these quick grab-and-go items in the morning. Just be sure to pack foods that will sustain you throughout the day, mixing both simple and complex carbs.

A lot of times, being in a hurry to get out the door in the morning leads to skipping breakfast and being hungry the rest of the day. This can lead to making poor decisions with regard to food.

“Who cares if this bag of chips is 200 calories? I’m hungry!”

If you make breakfast ahead of time, you can easily grab it to-go no matter how much you overslept. For example, if you enjoy a savory, egg-centric breakfast, try this recipe for baked egg muffins! If you’re looking for something sweet, you could make overnight oats with just a few ingredients or these baked oatmeal cups!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner aren’t the only way you can plan ahead. Realistically, you’re still going to want to snack during the day, so make sure those snacks are healthy and homemade when possible. You could pre-portion nuts or even make your own flavored ones like these. If you want a nut-free option that is still protein packed, try roasted chickpeas, which are super easy to make ahead!

The most important aspects of meal prepping are to utilize your freezer and make large batches of yummy, healthy food ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to pre-portion your servings to avoid overeating either. Dedicate one day a week to plan next week’s meals and you’re set!


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Healthy Meal Substitutions Worth Trying

A common misconception with food is that in order to make smarter, healthier choices, you have to give up all your favorite meals. That isn’t necessarily true. If you get creative, and a little adventurous, you will find there are plenty of ways to still enjoy your go-to meals by substituting ingredients with other, healthier alternatives.

We found a couple meals that fit the bill with simple substitutions that can be made to add a fresh, healthy twist. These meal substitutions are definitely worth trying in your home kitchen.

Breakfast

Everybody loves to start the day with pancakes from First Stop or Pulley Diner. While you’re home for spring break, try a new twist on this breakfast staple. You can replace regular pancake batter with two bananas and two eggs for a gluten-free meal! Try this basic recipe with suggestions for common add-ins! Added bonus: bananas are high in fiber and antioxidants.

Lunch

If you’re a fan of Boneless Wing Wednesdays, you can switch it up a bit by replacing the chicken with cauliflower! It’s super easy to make this vegetarian dish and definitely worth a try. Just bake some cauliflower, cover it in as much sauce as you want and bake again. Here’s a recipe straight from the source. Replacing chicken with cauliflower makes this dish more vitamin rich, lower in calories, and gluten-free.

Snack

A great snack for the warmer months ahead is one that will bring with it a twinge of nostalgia. Throwback to childhood summers of pouring juice into popsicle trays, but now imagine an updated, more health-conscious version. Try replacing sugar-rich juice, found in the popsicles of your youth, with greek yogurt. All it takes is your favorite sliced fresh fruit, plain greek yogurt, and a natural sweetener like agave nectar or honey. The creamy and delicious treat will melt in your mouth … literally.

Dinner

Even fans of The Q can get in on this whole substitution thing. Barbeque pulled pork gets a healthy twist by replacing the meat with … fruit! Jackfruit can be prepared so that it has the texture of the average pulled meat. Adding barbeque for flavor and then using it on a bun, taco shell, or plate of nachos turns the fruit into a great meat substitute. This cuts down on cholesterol and calories and adds in more nutrients. It is definitely worth giving a try in your home kitchen!


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